Bibliomist Wires Ukraine Citizens and Helps Them Collect from Former USSR
In Ukraine, nearly 67 percent of people lack regular access to the Internet. Since 2009, Bibliomist has been modernizing public libraries to meet the needs of this underserved country. Bibliomist is equipping 1,600 public libraries with computers, Windows 7 operating systems, Microsoft Office 2010 (donated via TechSoup), and Internet access. Bibliomist employs 24 Kiev-based staff and 29 regional staff members. The program aims to train librarians to use new technologies at 25 training centers.
In Ukraine, computer access does not just mean greater literacy, information access, and job prospects. It also allows citizens — many of whom are seniors who have never used a computer before — to reacquire lost wealth. About 1,200 Ukrainians have used their modern libraries to register online to obtain reimbursement for the money they had invested decades ago in the savings bank of the former USSR. As the Soviet Union collapsed, the Oshchadbank was dissolved, and bank customers lost their funds. The Ukrainian government has made several attempts to index and reimburse the savings. And in April 2012, the bank launched an online system where citizens can register for an appointment at the local branch of the bank to receive a reimbursement.
Thanks to better technology access and a trained library staff library patrons in the Ukraine now have a lot to gain.