Learning for life

Kyiv, Ukraine

Challenge team: Lesia Ukrainka Public Library of Kyiv with young people on probation

Population of Kyiv: 2.9 million

Summary: This initiative in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, is opening up a world of learning to help prisoners develop the life skills they need upon release from prison.

The Visible Library initiative focuses on educating prisoners while they are in prison and on probation to help stimulate their creative potential. Drawing on the latest technology from the library world, the initiative aims to encourage a culture of lifelong learning.

The challenge team is a collaboration between Lesia Ukrainka Public Library in Kyiv and young prisoners. Together, they are testing and developing the support offered to prisoners and people on probation in Kyiv and across Ukraine – many of whom need help to develop life skills to help prepare for life after prison.

Through meetings and sociocultural events, as well as training sessions and master classes, the challenge team is helping to overcome digital divides and improve levels of information literacy for people who’ve spent time behind bars. The public library offers the only free services available to everyone at a local level to help solve problems with gaps in education and knowledge, to learn online skills, and to get support with job searches and employment. 

While some of the meetings take place online, probationers can also visit the library in person and are introduced to the work of different library departments and services.

Challenge team members said:Visible Library is another confirmation of the important role of the library in the life of every person, no matter what the circumstances are.”

Lesia Ukrainka Public Library is the first public library in Ukraine to work with prisoners and challenge team members who are keen to share their experience with other libraries in Ukraine and beyond.

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