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“Not only for books, for people too”

Odesa library has become a modern public space
19 September, 18:10
Photo courtesy of the author

The renovated Mykhailo Hrushevsky library has opened in Odesa  recently. After several months of restoration, Odesaites have new, modern public space. The citizens are already accustomed to such public spaces, coworkings, and hubs, as these facilities grow in number. But this was the first time Odesa has received a library like this. According to the designers, who came from Transcarpathia, the goal of the restoration effort was to expand the space visually, and find room inside not just for books, but for people too. This goal has been achieved by restructuring the second floor – a previously dark and unremarkable premises, cluttered with shelves, is now well-lit and modern-looking. And the first library visitors enjoyed it. Although, according to the designers, most of the renovation work was performed “behind the scenes” – in addition to the restructuring of the insides, they had to also strengthen the foundation and repair the book depository.

Solomia Bobrovska, vice-governor of Odesa oblast, who became the ideological inspiration of the project, spoke on the opening ceremony about the importance of developing the cultural level in today’s youth. In her opinion, there should be more similar institutions, so this project is going to continue. And, addressing the guests, added, “between bread and freedom one should always choose freedom. And a book is freedom.” The first visitors of the library included those whose books are on its shelves. For example, a poet Borys Khersonsky even promised to host literary readings here. According to him, it was about 50 years ago, when he participated in one the first such reading at the Hrushevsky Library.

A writer Andrii Kurkov was travelling through the city and also found his way to the opening. He joked that if Odesa had a library opened each time he visited the city, he would come here more often.

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