From librarians to world travelers

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By Special to the Monitor

President Eisenhower founded the Sister City movement in 1956 to promote world peace and mutual understanding through citizen diplomacy.

Today, more than six decades later, the Sister City Initiative is still flourishing and Los Alamos is a committed partner to the effort.

The Los Alamos/Sarov Sister City Initiative works in conjunction with the State Department’s Open World Program, initiated in 1999 by the Library of Congress and authorized by the U.S. Congress to increase understanding between the United States and Russia.

The Russian city of Sarov has been the Sister City to Los Alamos, both nuclear science cities, for many years with more than 40 exchanges of visitors back and forth. And, beginning in the 1980s with the spirit of glasnost, Los Alamos scientists and those from Sarov visited and exchanged ideas on nonproliferation.

“We are so fortunate to have support from Los Alamos County, LANB, and many, many local organizations and businesses,” said Lawry Mann, president of the Los Alamos Sarov Sister Cities Initiative (LASSCI). “Teenagers from Sarov visited last summer and several of our Los Alamos teens visited Russia the previous year.”

The LASSCI board members, volunteers drawn from the community, Lawry and Alice Mann, Kris Raber, Bob Thompson, Ron and Olga Augustson, Fran Berting, Sig and Nina Hecker, Paul White, Roger Waterman, Kate Kettering, Jody Howell and

Kevin Holsapple, all devote hours of their time to make each visit an enlightening international exchange of ideas.

In keeping with the theme of the future for young people, a group of children’s librarians from Sarov will be visiting Los Alamos next week. Lyubov Belyokova, a municipal children’s librarian, Oksana Paramonova, deputy director of circulation for the Sarov City Library, and Yelena Yutkina, a school librarian, will visit along with Alina Levina, their interpreter.

Mann has planned a whirlwind trip of the area for the group: a trip on the Sandia Peak Tramway; a visit to Bandelier National Monument; a tour of the new Santa Fe Public Library’s southside branch, a state of the art green building; a visit to the Pion Elementary School library, and of course, visits to the Los Alamos County Libraries’ popular M&Ms and story time programs.

Library Manager Charlie Kalogeros-Chattan, along with Bernadine Goldman, assistant library manager, Angie Manfredi, head of youth services, and Gwen Kalavaza, White Rock branch manager, and others, including Ken Holmes from the Los Alamos High School Media Center and Geri Hutchins from the State Library, will exchange ideas with the Russian librarians about the theme of this season’s visit: How does librarianship contribute to the common cause of bringing up and maturing a civilized individual? How does it shape the readers’ moral and ethical education?

The group will hear about many aspects of the LACLS and the County librarians are eager to hear about Sarov’s programs for children and teens.

The public is also invited to exchange ideas with them, to meet and chat, at a reception open to the public at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Mesa Public Library Upstairs Rotunda.

The County council will welcome the librarians at 7 p.m. Tuesday.