This past week we conducted the last of our regional seminars on Crimean Tatar language and literature, funded by a grant through the Peace Corps. We traveled to the far north of Crimea, first to the town of Krasnoperekopsk and then to Armansk. I was unable to go to the Krasnoperekopsk seminar, as it was scheduled on the one day a week that I work at the Orlova Children’s Library in Simferopol. Normally, I would change my schedule at the Children’s Library, but that week, one of my children’s English clubs at the library was putting on a Halloween skit. Needless to say, as “the director” of the play, I had to be there.
But the next day I was able to go with the other librarians to Armansk where we conducted a very well received seminar, and then afterwards, went on a short tour of the town, including a brief visit to their history museum. Once again, as with all the libraries we visited, I found the staff so gracious and hospitable, going out of their way to make us feel comfortable and welcomed. I will miss these weekly and sometimes bi-weekly visits to different libraries across Crimea. Though the time it took to travel that extensively meant I had to temporarily put aside other projects, I felt it gave me a sense of the diverse land and cultures of Crimea, and an appreciation of how devoted Crimean citizens are to their libraries. And it was also gratifying to have a better understanding of how wide spread the Crimean Tatar people are in Crimea, as in every community we visited there were sizeable populations of Tatars.
I feel our presence at the libraries had an impact—that it gave over 250 small libraries across Crimea information and materials to promote Crimean Tatar language and culture. And perhaps even more important, it gave the participants an opportunity to come together to discuss culture similarities and differences, hopefully leading to the longer range goal of increasing ethnic tolerance in Crimea.
Librarians from the villages surrounding Krasnoperekopsk listen to the presentations of the Gasprinskiy staff.
Participant at the Krasnoperekopsk seminar gives the result of her small group's translation of Russian proverb into Crimean Tatar.
At the seminar in Armansk, Alina from the Gasprinskiy Library talks about Crimean Tatar books while Susanna from the library looks on.
Participants at the Armansk seminar.
Nadjie guides participants in translation of the Russian proverb into Crimean Tatar and talking about the cultural differences and similarities.
Much laughter at the translation results.
Staff of the Armansk Library and the historical museum in Armansk pose for a picture with Gasprinskiy staff.