Thursday, February 08, 2007

Iraqi National Library and Archive

The news that the Director of the Iraqi National Library and Archive, Dr. Saad Eskander, was blogging on the British Library website was reported by the New York Times yesterday and taken up by American Libraries Direct on that same day.

His blog is a harrowing diary of what it is like to live and try and continue to work as a librarian in the midst of a country that is spiralling out of control. Libraries are build by functional, stable societies and are destroyed quickly or deteriorate slowly as those societies -- what would be the appropriate word here -- implode? devolve?

Kudos to the BL for publishing this and best wishes to everyone at the Iraqi NLA.

To say things in Baghdad look bleak is an understatement, however, this quote from Dr. Eskander's diary shows his , and his staff's, determination to continue their work to reconstruct the Iraqi NLA and to build for the future. "Marco rang me from Rome to tell me that a conference would be held in the city of Florence on next Tuesday, and that he wanted me address it. I agreed to talk about the impact of violence on my staff, the reconstruction of the NLA, and its future projects. "

Build for the future: this is what librarians do.

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