In 2015, IS fighters deliberately destroyed the University of Mosul’s library, burning thousands of books on philosophy, science, law and poetry in what UNESCO called “one of the most devastating acts of destruction of library collections in human history.”
More than a year ago, we received a request from the Mosul Book Bridge campaign for books to help rebuild the lost collection. Earlier this year, after a year of hard work, we were able to deliver 7,000 to Mosul, 3,700 of which are for the university itself.
Here, Dr. Alaa Hamdon, a lecturer at the university and one of the founders of the Mosul Book Bridge campaign, tells us about his experiences of getting people in Mosul back to reading and learning.
Our campaign started in March 2017 after the severe damage of the library of Mosul University because of the war. I was outside of Mosul since 2014 and when I returned to Mosul in end of 2017, I was shocked from the severe damage in Mosul city. It can’t be described.
This campaign was initiated online via some groups and organizations such as Young Academy of Scotland, International Committee of Risk Preparedness (ICORP) and several volunteers from the UK. Our aim is to get more books to the library of the university to rebuild it again and restart the regular function of the library for the students, researchers and academics.
Through our campaign about 3,700 books have reached the University of Mosul Library and the academic books and non-fictional books will be the most useful. English version books are very helpful for the students, researchers and academics because of the advanced technologies and development of the sciences in American, European and other countries.
Those books are very valuable and will make a big difference to students and researchers after the severe damage of the library and the lack of reference books for students.
Reconstruction is not only in infrastructure and materials, but also the culture and the human need to be reconstructed. I think that the books will help a lot.”