Around the World, Associations Express Support for Ukraine Counterparts

The international library and book publishing communities have not shied away from issuing strong statements or advocating for the removal of Russian state-owned institutions at industry events.

Author: Jennifer N. Dienst       

Book with Ukraine flag

International library and book publishing groups are issuing strong statements in support of Ukraine over the Russian invasion of that country or advocating for the removal of Russian state-owned institutions at industry events.

Last week, the Ukrainian Library Association should have kicked off its international scientific conference, “Modern Library-Information Continuous Education: What, How, for Whom?” Instead, the organizing committee was forced to cancel due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In a statement (translated), the association said “…The Organizing Committee of the Conference has decided to hold the Conference after our confident victory, and the contributions collected to support the Armed Forces of Ukraine. We promise to provide complete and quality service to all participants in the peaceful time. Glory to Ukraine!” (See below.)

It only took a few hours for the post to generate a buzz on social media, with members of the library community taking to social-media channels to rally support for the association. Nicholas Poole, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), a U.K. library and information association, posted a statement from CILIP in solidarity with Ukraine, and wrote on Twitter, “Bloody hell. Looking at a message from the Ukraine Library Association concerning the cancellation of their forthcoming conference. it basically says ‘We will reschedule just as soon as we have finished vanquishing our invaders.’ Ukrainian Librarians, I salute you.”

According to a Feb. 28 article from Publisher’s Weekly, some organizations in the book publishing community have similarly banded together in solidarity, asking the Bologna, London, and Frankfurt book fairs to sever ties with Russian state-owned institutions. The International Publishers Association (IPA) also has expressed its support for Ukraine, emphasizing that when association members convened more than 125 years ago, it was partly in an effort to protect peace.

“We condemn this criminal Russian invasion in the strongest possible terms. The IPA was founded with the intention of supporting peace. Our first President, Georges Masson, stated at our inaugural Congress in 1896 that ‘the first International Publishers Congress … is one of many gatherings whose purpose is to multiply peaceful relations between nations, in encouraging the visible tendency of peoples to join more and more through a community of interests.’ Nothing in the intervening 125 years has changed that stance,” the IPA said in a statement.

“The IPA stands in solidarity with publishers in peril all around the world and, especially at this moment, with our member in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Publishers and Booksellers Association. We are following developments and discussing how IPA can be of most assistance to our member. In times of peace, books have a powerful uniting force. In times of conflict, books are even more important in fostering hope, supporting reconciliation, and cementing peace.”

Jennifer N. Dienst is managing editor of Convene.