Now, universities across the UK are supporting University of Mosul’s library by running a Fines Donation Day or Week in their libraries.
The idea is a simple one: all library fines paid online or in person on specified days are donated by the library in question to Book Aid International, to raise funds specifically for future shipments to Mosul.
A number of universities have taken part in the past few years, but we need more libraries across the UK to join the initiative to help replace all the destroyed books in the University of Mosul’s library.
In 2019, the University of Dundee raised £331. It costs Book Aid International just £2 to send each book, so the amount raised by the University of Dundee’s Library was enough to send around 165 brand new books to Mosul.
“The library staff and students at Dundee enjoyed their first Library Fines Donation week. Although the sum raised was modest it was significant for the charity and also created a feeling of solidarity with students elsewhere who are trying to continue their education while facing difficult circumstances”
– Scott McGregor, Librarian, University of Dundee
What happened to the University of Mosul’s library?
The University of Mosul once boasted one of the largest libraries in the Middle East. It housed more than one million books, periodicals dating back to 1700 CE, government publications from the founding of the modern Iraqi state in 1921 and versions of the Quran from the 19th century.
The library was among the first institutions targeted by IS forces after their occupation of Mosul in 2014. They would later burn it completely, destroying nearly all of its contents and the building’s structure in what UNESCO called “one of the most devastating acts of destruction of library collections in human history.”
Following the liberation of Mosul from IS forces, some 50,000 students and university staff returning to the university are struggling to complete their academic work without the books they need.
But we are trying to change this. We are working closely with the team working to rebuild and restock the library to source brand new, up-to-date books specific to the University’s immediate needs.
What has Book Aid International done so far?
Our first shipment to Mosul of 3,700 books arrived in March 2018, and the books were warmly welcomed by Dr Alaa Hamdon, a lecturer and researcher at the University of Mosul:
“These books are very valuable and they will make a big difference to students and researchers after the severe damage of the library. Reconstruction is not only in infrastructure and materials, but also the culture and the human need to be reconstructed.”
We sent another shipment of 5,626 books in June 2019 and a shipment of around 10,000 books is planned for 2020. We aim to send 50,000 books in 5 years to help to restock the library’s destroyed collection. But we need your help!
Transport and security challenges mean that the cost of these shipments is very high, which is why we have launched a specific appeal in collaboration with Universities in the UK to raise new funds for this ongoing project.
How can libraries across the UK join this initiative?
- Dedicate a day or a week in the University Library where all fines paid in that time will be donated to Book Aid International’s Mosul campaign.
- Download or print the posters below and display them across the library and University. Spread the word in newsletters and social media and encourage students and staff to pay their fines on that allocated day.
- For every £2 raised Book Aid International can send another book to the University of Mosul’s Library. Make a real difference to the students, faculty members and researchers in Mosul by supporting our Fines Donation Day.
- To find out more about how your University Library can support the next shipment to Mosul University Library, please email Charlotte.Hall@bookaid.org.
- Once you have finished your fundraising, you can send in a cheque, make a bank transfer or pay online.
Download the posters below to display in your library. They come in a variety of formats: portrait, landscape, electronically editable for screens and printable versions to fill in by pen.