One of the activities I have been doing at the Gasprinskiy Library since a few months after I came here, is to teach an English class to some of the Gasprinskiy staff members. Starting in September, we expanded the class a bit to include a volunteer and two staff members from the Krymchak Museum and preservation organization. Meeting twice weekly early in the morning before the library opens, my small English class is slowly learning conversational English, using a series of books from Oxford University Press called English for Life. I have never taught English before, but I find the experience very rewarding as my students—old and young—are so eager to learn. And as a person who is trying to learn Russian at the age of 62, I have much empathy for how difficult it is to learn a new language as you get older. Motivation becomes the key factor, I think, and that is something of which my students have an abundant supply.
On Thursday evenings, some of the group gathers at the Krymchak Museum, only a few blocks away, for an English “club,” in which we find ways to practice using English—games, telling stories, describing events, etc. Lately we have been playing a game that involves describing famous people, like the Russian poet Pushkin. I realized this could be a great opportunity for two groups of people—Crimean Tatars and Krymchak Jews—to learn more about each other’s culture and heroes. So I asked everyone to bring to our next meeting a description of a famous Crimean Tatar or Krymchak to share with the rest of the group. I look forward to what I, too, will learn at that meeting.
Visitors to the Library
The 20th anniversary celebration at the library continues with visitors from other organizations and libraries. Last week, librarians from the Crimean Engineering and Pedagogical University in Simferopol (know locally as CEPU) paid a visit to library. Many of the women had previously worked at the library, and several of the library’s current staff had worked at CEPU, so it was a joyous occasion. Here we share coffee and sweets in the Reading Hall.