Freedom for Natalia Sharina: Poster Designed by the Ukrainian Library Association

In October 2015, Natalya Sharina, Director of the Library of Ukrainian literature in Moscow, was arrested and charged on suspicion of inciting hatred or animosity towards a social group. The justification? Allegedly holding banned books in the library she ran.

IFLA has followed the case closely, issuing public statements in November 2015, and May and September 2016, underlining the crucial role of libraries in defending freedom of expression and access to information, and the duty on librarians to make choices as to collections free of political influence. Natalya, in fulfilling these core parts of her mission as a librarian, has not merited the treatment she has received.  

After over a year of house arrest, Natalya is now facing trial. IFLA President Donna Scheeder has written, once again, to both the Public Prosecutor and the Chair of the Investigating Committee, urging them to bring an end to Natalya’s detention and the case against her.

In this way, they will prove to Russia’s librarians and library users that they are valued and supported. They will also be upholding the human rights of freedom of access to information and freedom of expression to which Russia has committed as a signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.