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Window on America

Українська English

Coordinator of the center – Maya Tarasova
Location: Window on America; Transcarpathian Regional Universal Scientific Library; 16 Prospect Svobodi; Uzhhorod, Ukraine.
E-mail: [email protected]

  Resource-information center Window on America opened in the Zakarpatska regional scientific library with financial aid from US Embassy in Ukraine, and has been functioning successfully for more than seven years. Having started its work in July 2004, the center supplies readers with the newest information on politics, economics, culture, history, society, the democratic traditions of the USA and the relations between Ukraine and the USA. The center has a unique collection of books and movies on political, juridical and economical subjects, about the history, culture and education in the USA. The sources, in English, are unique for the region. Periodically, the center receives new materials, funded by the US Embassy, the fund "Cyber-Svitlo" and information-consulting center "Osvita", as well as from users and Peace Corp Volunteers.

  At the center various activities are held. Their aim is communication between Ukrainians and Americans. The center collaborates effectively with PC volunteers and other US citizens and it is quite popular. It has conducted hundreds of presentations, exhibitions, discussions and meetings, which help Ukrainians to learn more about the USA. The center in the regional library - one of the 26 in Ukraine - became, literally, the dwelling place of the American culture in Transcarpathia.

  The "Window on America" center conducts an English club whose members meet every week. "English-speaking house" - is the place where people hear native English-speakers, have interesting meetings, discussions, improve their knowledge and practice their English. For participation in the club a person must have a library-user's ID, this rule doesn`t concern our English-speaking guests.

  We are happy for everyone willing to join every Thursday at 5 PM. Although, if you are an American traveling to, or through our friendly city and you would like to share your knowledge or just to chat with us we would gladly welcome you in our library. By the way - we are not accepting religious or political subjects, or topics that can insult any nationality. So, if you are harmless enough - we hope to see you at our address - Zakarpatska Regional Scientific Library "Window on America" center, prosp. Svobodi, 16, Uzhgorod.

  Between - 2004-2011 more than 1000 activities were organized and held: meetings of the club, presentations, discussions and movie club nights. The most interesting of them include: In 2011, Window on America continued to work on “The Library Project”, founded in 2009.

The aim of “The Library Project” is to support the integration of children with special needs from a boarding school (orphanage) in the village of Chaslivci, Uzhhorod District, into society.

The result is helping graduates navigate better in life, adapt more easily to today’s life after school, and gain new knowledge. It also gives them the opportunity to leave the closed environment they experience within the limits of the school walls.

In addition, the effect of the project will help to overcome the negative social stereotype attached to children from so-called “special” schools. Yet these children can learn and generously show their talents, which means they benefit society and have opportunity to be full value citizens.

“The Library Project” is run by librarians and volunteers – concerned youth who visit the library. It is possible, also, thanks to the financial support of our library friends, who are Americans from the sister-city association of Corvallis-Uzhhorod. On Sundays, young people who are gathered by “Window on America” come and meet with pupils from school in the library. Volunteers gathering together with teenagers from the orphanage communicate, study, and spend some time fellowshipping, etc.

Working on such projects, the library not only confirms that it is an informational and cultural institution, but also offers a good example to follow and becomes the true center of community, uniting around itself active and good people.

We would like to invite you to become a sponsor or a volunteer for “The Library Project”. We are waiting for you at the following address: Window on America; Transcarpathian Regional Universal Scientific Library; 16 Prospect Svobodi Street; Uzhhorod, Ukraine.

In December, 2010 “Window on America”, as part of the Transcarpathian Regional Universal Scientific Library organized and hosted a free concert. It was held by unusual artists – “Joy”, a choir consisting of pupils from the Chaslivci special boarding school, which this year became a finalist at the International Children’s Festival called “Meeting With a Dream”.

The fact that this concert was held in the library might surprise some people but not those who regularly visit there, because a modern library is a cultural and educational centre, a place for holding various presentations – the works of interest clubs, film previews, etc.

In addition, there was another good reason to hold the concert in the library. Children raised in the orphanage are frequent guests of the Transcarpathian Library and they wanted to gift their friends – volunteers and staff of the library – with a display of their own talents.

If you would like to see more pictures or follow the project and club meetings, you can find us on Facebook at

Facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/pages/Window-on-America/115688681790783 )

  There was a club meeting devoted to the PC volunteers, with the theme: "What does it mean to volunteer?". This theme was in response to innumerous questions from the library's readers who, half-jokingly, suspected the volunteers of being CIA agents, unsure of their actual aims of staying in Ukraine. During the event the American volunteers, Alexander Schneider, Neil Patrick O'toole and Shelia Slemp, told about the aims of the organization, when and who founded it, how the volunteers happen to come to this or another country in the world, etc. (2009)

  In 1961, American President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps to promote world peace and friendship. In Ukraine American Volunteers work and live side by side with Ukrainian colleagues for two years sharing experiences and developing relationships that often last a lifetime.

  The Peace Corps' mission in Ukraine has three simple goals:

  • helping the people of Ukraine in meeting their need for trained men and women
  • helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of Ukrainians
  • helping promote a better understanding of Ukrainians on the part of Americans

      In the reading hall of the library, on the initiative of WOA-center and the sister -cities association "Uzhgorod-Corvallis", an extraordinary event took place - a free concert- an evening of American music with the band "The Maharimbas".

      "The Maharimbas" arrived from Corvallis, Oregon, USA which is the sister-city of our Uzhgorod and amused the listeners by playing the musical instruments called marimbas.

      Marimba music is enjoyed by all ages. This music is filled with sunny rhythms, and therefore makes listeners feel optimistic and happy.

      This event is completely correlated with the mission of the WOA - to promote mutual understanding between the USA and Ukraine, this time by the way of music, since music - as well as any other kind of art - knows no boundaries (2008).

      14.10.2008 - special guests visited Transcarpathia: press-attache of the US Embassy in Ukraine, Nancy Pettit and Valentina Pashkova, director of informational resources center of the USA Embassy in Ukraine. They came to meet visitors of "Window on America", specifically with members of the English Club, that have worked in the center for more than four years and to open two new internet centers - in the Central Regional Library of Irshava and the Regional Library of Volovets (small cities in Transcarpathia). The English Club named "English Speaking House" gives participants the opportunity to speak with native English speakers, come to interesting meetings, have discussions, perfect language and knowledge, and celebrate different American holidays. Highly respected guests took part in the next meeting of "English Speaking House", and answered the questions of club-members about the life in USA and their work in Ukraine.

      Press-attache of the US Embassy in Ukraine, Nancy Pettit and Valentina Pashkova, director of informational resources center of the USA Embassy in Ukraine gave an interview that has been shown on the local TV-channels.

      On Thursday, October 4, 2007 a friendly visit was paid to the library by the mayor of sister-city of Uzhgorod - Сorvallice (Oregon state , USA) Charles C. Tomlinson with his wife Maria. They were introduced to the work of the "Window on America" center in particular, and with the director and staff of the library on the whole. This was done to contribute in adjusting to collaboration and establishing connections with the public library in Oregon, which was chosen as our sister-library.

      The visit of the library worker Peggy Giles preceded the visit of Mr. Charles to inform the mayor of - Сorvallice about the possibility of further collaboration between sister-cities - as sister-libraries. In fact the mission of the sister-cities organization is to develop and enrich relations between citizens and organizations of - Сorvallice, Oregon, USA, and Uzhgorod , Ukraine. Therefore the mayor of - Сorvallice promised to contribute further relations between libraries. In place of the planned 15 minutes, the mayor conducted in "Window on America", almost an hour and consented to an interview for one local newspaper ( newspaper of the region soviet and regional state administration "Novini Zakarpattya", that served good PR for work of the ''Window" as well, as for mission of the sister-cities organization.

      6.12.2007- center "Window on America" organized action "We are different - we are equal". By organizing the event the resource-information center aimed to bring attention to youth, problems people with limited possibilities face and change stereotypical relations in society.

      Maya Tarasova the head of the "Window on America" gave a speech and short presentation in which she told about the work of the center and dethroned myth about the insolvency of people with limit possibilities , which in our society, have unfortunately been branded with the word "invalids". For example, Roosevelt - the 32 nd President of the USA, was four times elected as President, despite the fact that he could not move independently.

      During the meeting American guests Kevin Kricfallusi - a computer manager (originally from Florida), told about Stephen Hawking - a paralyzed scientific-physicist, and his contribution appreciated at the same level as Einstein in world science.

      Deputy director of medical- social rehabilitation center "Path to Life". Iryna Roshkovich had presented a video about the work of their institution in English and Ukrainian languages. Also presented was an exhibition of pupil's art works from this center.

      At the end - Viktor Baziko - alumnus of the rehabilitation center, played his guitar and sang songs; Oksana Gavrosh, a teacher of the A. Erdeli's Transcarpathian Institute of Arts in Uzhgorod, with her students gave their own art works to the medical-social rehabilitation center "Path to Life".

      Owing to this action those present had a chance to find out about famous American people, about people with narrow possibilities and special people in world history. The meeting was held in both Ukrainian and English languages.

      Approx. 110 people were present, among them students of Uzhgorod National University, Transcarapasthian department of the Kiev Slavonic University and other higher educational institutions, pupils of higher classes, members of the English Club and journalists.

      Meeting threw light upon local means of mass media.

      Another extraordinary activity happened in 2006 when the US Ambassador in Ukraine John Edward-Herbst visited the WOA center and the library.

      The presentation, not the first, as a matter of fact - of the new Anglo-Ukrainian book "Of Beauty and Trust" of the America writer who has lived in Uzhhorod, Sandy McCulloch, evoked much interest in the readers of the library. The book was published in Uzhhorod. The WOA center was the first to present the book to the audience.

      At the presentation of the book the students of the regional schools, students of the transcarapasthian department of the Kiev Slavonic University, students of the Uzhhorod National University and professors from all the institutions listed above, as well as representatives of the local Mass-Media were present at the event.

      The new book of Sandy McCulloch is another bright example to the possibility of achieving mutual understanding between countries through interaction between the people of the countries. Although the writer is a US citizen, he has lived in Ukraine and writes about our country. (2006)

      If you are interested in speaking English, meeting with different interesting people and watching American movies - WELCOME to our WINDOW ON AMERICA!