Home Press centre Press releases University of Mosul re-opens with over 20,000 UK donated books

University of Mosul re-opens with over 20,000 UK donated books

Date Published: 22 February, 2022

On 19 February, the University of Mosul library officially re-opened. The library was deliberately destroyed by Islamic State in 2014 and Book Aid International has been providing books to help restore the library’s lost collection since 2018. To date, the charity has provided 20,099 brand new, publisher donated higher education books in the sciences, engineering, the humanities and medical subjects.  

The University of Mosul library once housed more than one million books, including many priceless and irreplaceable texts. When Islamic State occupied Mosul in 2014, the library was one of their first targets. They destroyed the library in a direct attack on learning and free thought.  

Dr. Sayf Al Ashqar, Secretary-General of Libraries at The University of Mosul, said: “This is an extraordinary moment in the history of our city. The library’s re-opening is not just important to the students – but to all of us who lived through that terrible time. It is a symbol of new beginning and we would like to thank everyone who made it possible.” 

Book Aid International first began supporting the library after being approached by Mosul University Professor and founder of the Mosul Book Bridge project Dr. Alaa Hamdon. He said: “I have always believed that libraries are light houses of knowledge  – providing a beacon for those who value learning. ISIS extinguished that light for a time, but now our lighthouse is once again burning bright. Libraries can only thrive when they are full of inspiring, wonderful books – and I join in the University community in thanking Book Aid International for their support.” 

Book Aid International is proud to have provided over 20,000 books to date and it remains committed to providing thousands of additional brand new, carefully selected books to support the library on an-ongoing basis. Book Aid International Chief Executive Alison Tweed said:  

“There are few places in the world which have suffered a more direct attack on learning than Mosul, and we are incredibly proud to have played a small role in restoring the book collection which was destroyed at the University of Mosul library. We would like to thank the UK publishers who generously donated these books to us as well as all of our financial supporters who make it possible for us to create access to books where it’s needed most.”  

To find out more about the charity’s work or help send the next book, visit bookaid.org.  


Notes to editor 

Mr. Mr.Sayf Al Ashqar, Dr. Alaa Hamdon and Alison Tweed are available for interview. 

About Book Aid International  

Book Aid International is the UK’s leading international book donation and library development charity. Every year, the charity provides around one million brand new books to thousands of communities where people have very few opportunities to access books and read.  

Book Aid International works with an extensive network of libraries, schools, hospitals, NGOs and other partners to ensure that the books it sends are accessible to all. The charity estimates that the books it provides are available to 24 million people every year.   

In addition, Book Aid International runs projects which build the capacity of librarians and teachers to support people and communities as they access books and read. To find out more, visit bookaid.org.