Skip to main content

Iraqi Libraries and Archives in Peril: Survival in a time of Invasion, Chaos, and Civil Conflict, A Report. 2007

"Excerpt from the report: The purpose of this report is to provide an accurate assessment of the status of Iraqi academic libraries and principal archives in the post-Saddam, post-invasion, post-looting period. It is an update of Indispensable yet Vulnerable: The Library in Dangerous Times. A Report on the Status of Iraqi Academic Libraries, and a Survey of Efforts to Assist Them, with Historical Introduction, posted to the IraqCrisis/Middle East Librarians Association website in July 2005. A reading of history suggests the role that libraries have played as a barometer for the status of civilization, revealing that a flourishing and developing society has always been one that privileged libraries, despite destructive and totalitarian episodes. Perhaps because of their importance, such critical cultural institutions have been especially vulnerable when power has been exercised arbitrarily, or when those seeking it have resorted to violent means to achieve their ends, or when the normal controls imposed by authority have been overthrown. This condition applies as well to contemporary Iraq as anywhere. That Iraq's principal libraries and archives are in such a desperate state is a critical symptom of the profound crisis facing this nation and its people. One cause of this plight is the horrifying phenomenon of looting subsequent to the 2003 invasion, to which Iraqi libraries owe much of their present condition, and which receives a close look in this report."

Author(s):  Spurr, Jeff
Format:  Article
Publisher:  ArchNet
Publication City:  Cambridge
Date:  2007