Social Inclusion: Innovation Award

Luhansk Region Universal Scientific Library named after A. N. Gorky reaches out to people living with disability in Ukraine

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Group of trainees, some in wheelchairs, in the park.
The library's training takes place in the park, or in any other venue where learners feel secure and comfortable.

The innovative service

Through a mobile service, Luhansk Region Universal Scientific Library named after A. N. Gorky provides training for people living with disability wherever it is most convenient for them – in the safety of their own homes, at centres run by disability associations and in the library.

The mobile service is the newest addition to the library’s social inclusion programme, which ensures that people with disability have full access to all the library’s services, especially information and communication technology (ICT) training, and consultations with skilled librarians.

The library, in the city of Luhansk, is the largest public library in Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine. There are over 100,000 people living with disability in the region.

The social inclusion programme is extremely popular. In just 10 months in 2012, the library recorded 2,368 visits by people with disability to the library to use the internet and other services. Librarians, trainers and volunteers held 362 training sessions outside the library, and conducted over 870 internet consultations. The library currently has 848 library users who live with disability – and the number is growing.

“Through learning in the mobile school, I feel like a modern teacher instead of like a deprived, visually disabled person,” Elena Tsukanova, a history teacher told the library.

Specialist DISABILITY training FOR librariansAT HOME: The library’s blind trainer Mr Sergey Rakachov, right, works with trainee Mr Dmitriy Shapovalov at his home.

The mobile library reaches out to people with all kinds of disability – visual, hearing, physical and cognitive. Specialist communication training has improved the ability of 38 librarians to guide information searches and the library has created a database of library users who live with disability, detailing their situations and information needs.

News has spread throughout the region’s 18 districts. To extend the reach of the service, the library has trained staff of public libraries in six more districts to work with people with disability. Several government and non-governmental organizations support the programme, identifying service users, marketing training and sharing activities.

The library’s mobile information literacy training programme has received funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The EIFL-PLIP award is the programme’s second: in 2011, at the Ukraine Library Innovation Fair, the library took second place in the contest for the most innovative library service.

More library services contributing to digital inclusion

Read about more innovative public library services that contribute to digital inclusion in the community. PLIP-DIGITAL-INCLUSION

I call this programme the breath of freedom.
Natalia Baburina, who uses a wheelchair for mobility