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Indispensable yet Vulnerable: The Library in Dangerous Times. Preface to a Report on the Status of Iraqi Academic libraries and a Survey of Efforts to Assist Them

"The purpose of this report on Iraqi libraries is to provide an accurate assessment of the status of Iraqi academic libraries in the post-Saddam, post-invasion, post-looting period. It is not a comprehensive, on-the-ground survey, pieces of which have been accomplished elsewhere. I have referenced those field reports that provide some of the evidence for the libraries'' condition. I also describe the work and, where possible, the perspectives of the primary actors concerned with these institutions and their rehabilitation, whether Iraqi or non-Iraqi. Finally, I describe and attempt to assess the various initiatives, underway or planned, designed to actively assist in the rebuilding process, and to look at that process in more global terms. In so doing, I highlight the lack of care and effectiveness on the part of international bodies (e.g., IFLA, UNESCO), and US governmental entities in publicizing, coordinating, funding, and instrumentalizing aspects of that rehabilitation. None have risen to the occasion at a time of desperate need. I have meant not simply to point these failures out, but to exhort the US government and its most salient organs to act in a more provident, sustained, sensitive and committed way to achieve the redevelopment of Iraqi academic libraries in as short an order as possible. Finally, it is my intention to make clear that all Iraqi academic institutions would help themselves if they would overcome parochial concerns and engage in cooperation in terms of infrastructure development, achieving interconnectivity, and collaboration amongst their administrations and staffs..."

Author(s):  Spurr, Jeff
Format:  Article
Publisher:  Middle East Librarians Association Committee on Iraqi Libraries
Date:  2005