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Ukraine’s libraries are offering bomb shelters, camouflage classes and, yes, books

NPR – “…Oksana Brui, who is the president of the Ukrainian Library Association…is among the Ukrainians who were taken by surprise when sirens rang out on Feb. 24 announcing Russia’s invasion. While some of Ukraine’s libraries have been destroyed by the fighting, she says that all over the country, libraries are “buzzing like hives,” full of librarians, readers, refugees and volunteers.”Refugee reception points, hostels and logistics points are organized here,” she said. “Camouflage nets for the military are also woven here. Home care courses are held here. Books are collected here to be transferred to libraries in neighboring countries that receive Ukrainian refugees.”One bundle of netting was packaged with a note: “Death to enemies.”With their country thrust into war, libraries are also bringing in specialists to provide psychological help to residents struggling to cope with an unwelcome new reality.

There are bomb shelters in libraries,” Brui added, pointing out a children’s library in Mykolaiv where kids, their families and a few dogs were being kept safe. As a video posted by the library shows, children are using their time in the shelter to select books, filling the hours before they can emerge again.

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