Tag Archives: Mosul

Hay Festival panel 2020

Join us at Hay Festival Digital!

Always wanted to come to one of our events?

Now you can – and from the comfort of your own home!

Join us at Hay Festival Digital on Monday 25th May at 2:30pm in a free LIVE and interactive event with BBC World Affairs Editor John Simpson, artist and author Edmund de Waal, historian and broadcaster Bettany Hughes and our very own Chair Lord Paul Boateng discussing what it means when libraries and books become targets during conflict and how it impacts individuals and communities:

More than books: what it means when libraries are lost to conflict
Monday 25th May, 2:30pm (BST)
Hay Festival Digital

As places where human knowledge, thought and experience are held, libraries are often vulnerable during times of conflict. Like places of education, they are frequently targeted in an attack on collective knowledge and freedom of thought, as was the case when IS destroyed the Iraqi University of Mosul’s library in 2015. Together the panel will look at the impact of these losses and what we can all do to protect books, literacy and learning where they are under threat.

Find out more and book your FREE ticket here.

Alaa and Jassim

Meet the team rebuilding Mosul’s libraries

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.


Alaa and Mohammed
Dr. Alaa Hamdon (left) and Mohammed Jassim, Director of Mosul University Libraries (right) welcoming the books


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.

Destroyed library
Mosul University’s library was completely destroyed by IS fighters in 2015

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.

Books being unloaded
3,700 books you helped to send will be used to support Mosul Book Bridge’s work to replace the university’s lost collection

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.”

Book truck Mosul

MEDIA RELEASE: New books arrive in Mosul to help rebuild library collection destroyed by IS

Book Aid International is delighted to announce that today over 7,000 brand new books donated by UK publishers arrived in Mosul, Iraq. Mosul fell to IS in June 2014 and remained under IS control for three years. In 2015, IS fighters deliberately destroyed the library of the University of Mosul, burning thousands of books on philosophy, law, science and poetry in what UNESCO called “one of the most devastating acts of destruction of library collections in human history.”

The books which arrived from Book Aid International include 3,791 carefully selected books to help the University of Mosul rebuild its library collection and get students back to learning. The initial request for books came just over one year ago through a supporter of a campaign called Mosul Book Bridge started by a lecturer at the university, Dr. Alaa Hamdon, to replace all the lost books. Moved by the university’s plight, the charity began exploring a way of sending books immediately after receiving that request.

The president of Mosul university Dr. Obay Al-Dewachie and the director of the library of Mosul university Mr . Mohammed Jassim yesterday received the shipment officially inside the campus from Dr. Alaa Hamdon.  Dr. Alaa Hamdon from the University of Mosul spoke of what today’s arrival of books means to him: “I am looking so forward to seeing these books reaching the library shelves. My hope and my dream is those books being used by students and readers.”

Alongside the books for the university are over 3,452 brand new children’s books which War Child UK will use in its work with children. These include story books in English, English readers to support young learners as they learn English and a donation of 820 Arabic readers from Oxford University Press. War Child UK has supported children in Iraq since 2003 most recently responding to the one million people who were displaced since the military offensive against ISIS began. War Child UK will rehabilitate 12 schools which have been destroyed by fighting in the west of Mosul and training teachers to deliver education in emergencies and psychosocial support.

Jess Oddy, Education in Emergencies Advisor for War Child UK says: “For years, the children that we work with in Mosul have had little or no access to education – these books will be vital in supporting teaching and learning and helping children gain a strong foundation in literacy. They will also provide exciting opportunities to reengage communities with education – the books can be used to set up reading circles, mobile libraries and storytelling, which can be an incredibly powerful therapeutic tool to process and reflect upon their experiences and stimulate hope for the future.”

Oxford University Press’ Rachel Goode, Group Communications Director, also commented on what it is like to know that the company’s donated books have reached some of the world’s most vulnerable children:  “We’ve supported Book Aid International for many years now and are always impressed by how tirelessly they work to help people access books and educational resources, even in some of the hardest to reach parts of the world. This is a truly fantastic and worthwhile project and we’re so pleased that we have been able to support it. We’re particularly proud to have enabled Book Aid International to provide Arabic books for the first time – something I hope we can support again in the future. I look forward to continuing our partnership so that we can give even more people across the world the chance to read and learn.”

Mosul is the most challenging location to which Book Aid International has ever sent books. The project encountered many false starts, logistical challenges and frustrations in trying to find a safe way to transport the books which were eventually sent over land via Turkey. The charity’s entire team is delighted to see the books arrive today.

Book Aid International Chief Executive Alison Tweed expressed the charity’s thanks to all those who made this shipment possible: “There are few places in the world today where the need for books is greater than in Mosul and we intend to provide more books in the future to help Mosul rebuild its library collection. I would like to thank everyone who made this shipment possible, particularly all the generous publishers who donated these much-needed books, the individuals who funded the cost of transportation, the volunteers who packed the books and our great Operations team who found a way to get the books to Mosul.”

To find out more about how you could help get more books to Mosul and other places in real need, please contact Hannah Watson on Hannah.watson@bookaid.org or by calling 020 7733 3577.

Both War Child and Book Aid International receive funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery and would like to thank the players for supporting their collaboration.



For further information and comment please contact Emma Taylor, Head of Communications at Book Aid International.

e: emma.taylor@bookaid.org

t: 020 7326 5800

About Book Aid International

Book Aid International is the UK’s leading international book donation and library development charity. Every year, the charity aims to ship around one million brand new books to thousands of communities around the world 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 reach as many people as possible. The charity estimates that the books it provides reach 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.

Visit www.bookaid.org for more information or join the conversation on twitter: @book_aid.

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