In the spring of 1992, the city of Sarajevo was surrounded by nationalist Serb troops and bombarded with shells, bullets, and terror for four long years. Isolated from the world, Sarajevans found a refuge and a freedom that took them beyond their circumstances: they read, they wrote, and they survived. This poster will examine how these activities impacted the mental, physical, and spiritual survival of Sarajevans during the war. Diaries, memoirs, personal histories, letter collections, and oral histories were analyzed for what they reveal about the value of reading and writing during a time of crisis. What we learn from these accounts is that even during the most trying times, activities such as reading and writing give us a space for control and self-preservation. This poster will highlight the power of literacy and writing within the context of war-torn Sarajevo and speak to the challenges and opportunities librarians face within modern day crises. Poster presented at the 2018 American Libraries Association Annual Conference in New Orleans, LA.