Conflict and libraries

Violent conflict, such as war, can be devastating to cultural institutions such as libraries. When a society is in a post-conflict state, then where do libraries fit into the heirarchy of needs? What is the role of a resource-limited government in maintaining libraries when issues such as hunger, disease, violence, and other destabilizing phenomena are given higher priorities? Does only focusing on immediate needs create a vicious cycle that is difficult to break? Should education, preservation of history, and independent learning be supported as a path to bring greater peace and stability to a region that has experienced years of conflict?

These are questions that I will be trying to answer in the coming months as I prepare for my own work as a librarian in a post-conflict state.