The long-time dream of Steinbach resident, Daryna Malyukh, was to bring printed stories from her home country of Ukraine, to the Steinbach Jake Epp Library and on Friday, May 3, that dream finally came true.

After 14 months of working with library staff, Malyukh was thrilled to cut the ribbon and official open the Ukrainian Book Corner at the Jake Epp.

"For me, I have lived here (in Steinbach) for more than seven years, and it was always hard to find books in the Ukraine language. And when the war started, we saw how many people were coming to Steinbach, and we just saw a need of Ukrainian books for kids to read. So, it was just an idea that we had.”

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Malyukh says after approaching the library they weren’t sure what the plan was, so she just started collecting books. She says there were many steps along the way before the books could be put on the shelves.

“It took us some time to do a synopsis for each book. And so, we were working together with the library to make it possible.”

Jake Epp Library staff and Daryna Malyukh officially opening the Ukrainian Book Corner - (far left) Emmalyn Latiguy , Daryna Malyukh, Katarina Giesbrecht, Aubrey Walker (far right)Jake Epp Library staff and Daryna Malyukh officially opening the Ukrainian Book Corner - (far left) Emmalyn Latigay , Aubrey Walker and Katarina Garrecht together with Daryna Malyukh (far right)

“I want just to say thank again all the sponsors, the people who were bringing books to the library, for someone who sent even books from Ukraine to Steinbach. There were a lot of people involved in this process. We live in an amazing community, and we have an amazing library. I want to thank each and every one, just because of them this happened.”

Assistant Library Director, Aubrey Walker says there is a lot of work that goes into adding a book to the library.

“We try and make sure, at the very least, especially when we're adding foreign language books like this, that there is a title and author, so that you can search by the important things. And thanks to that Ukrainian society, Daryna, we had five volunteers writing out the descriptions of each book.”

Walker notes there is currently no one on staff who speaks or reads Ukrainian so having the volunteers help was appreciated.

"They gave us a translation for the title, the author and a synopsis of what the book was about. So, we were able to take that and put that into our system. And we've done it so that the title will show up in both Ukrainian and in English, so that's what took a little bit of time, to make sure that they were catalogued correctly.”

Daryna Malyukh and Jake Epp Library staff looking at Ukrainian language book.

“We're just really happy with the end result. I think they'll be accessible to the people who want to find them.”

Walker says the Ukrainian Book Corner is in the language section of the library, which is a short walk past the children’s reading tree. She notes people can also find a complete listing of the Ukrainian language books on the Jake Epp Library website.  

For individuals wishing to make a donation to the library to help grow the Ukrainian Book Corner, Walker says people can do through “Friends of the Library”.  

“If people want to get a tax receipt, make a donation, earmarked towards it.” Walker adds, “we don't have staff that speak Ukrainian, so for anything that comes in, we'd need to have volunteers willing to help us do the translation so that we can get it done correctly.” 

Malyukh adds, “We have a website now. Ukrainian Association of Southeast Manitoba has a page donation. So, if you want to make a donation just put in memo that it is for books for the library.”