Librarianship and Human Rights: a Twenty-first Century Guide

I’ve finally gotten my hot little hands on a copy of this title, by Toni Samek, and beginning to dive into it. I’ve started in the middle, flipped my way through the beginning and end, mining for nuggets of gold. Thought I’d share this one, a link to this composite paper about cooperation between North and South to address the ever-widening gap between information rich and poor.

Iraq National Library and Archive needs help

This article from American Libraries describes the dire situation Iraqi National Library and Archive is facing after an intrusion from the Iraqi National Guard. Below is an excerpt from an email that was sent by Saad Eskander, director of the national library.

“This morning, August 8, a group of Iraqi national guard has broken into the National Library and Archive’s main building. By this action, the national guards have violated the instructions of the Council of Ministers, which clearly assert that Iraqi security and armed forces cannot enter any state-run institution without a prior approval of the government and the concerned authorities,” Eskander said. “I talked to the commander of the national guards by phone, asking him politely to leave the building immediately. He refused to consider the idea of evacuating the building, claiming that he had orders from his superiors and the Americans to occupy the INLA. He justified his action by claiming that the national guards wanted to protect Shi’i visitors of the holy shrines of al-Kadhimiyah, which is 30 km away from the INLA!”

Apparently, U.S. forces have entered without permission as well. You can read more about the situation by reading Eskander’s blog, which the British Library has been publishing.

I’m confused however, as to the actual help he is asking for. Is he asking for political pressure to stop the unauthorized entries? Is he asking for protection? I’ll be waiting to hear more.

Mobile Libraries

I’ve created a new page listing examples of mobile libraries. If you have any you want to share, let me know and I’ll highlight it on the site.

Preserving the past to give cities a second chance

Preserving history has a role in empowering present communities. This story about preserving the intellectual history of ancient black Africa in Timbuktu illustrates this point.

Online community

Because I work for an online community, I’m fascinated by the power of online communities for supporting and strengthening a project and engaging new people into your work. I recently learned about Social Edge, an online community for social entrepreneurs. Check out the video blog of Nick Talarico and Kjerstin Erickson talking about Library Boys.

UNESCO Literacy Prize

Literacy projects in China, the United States, Nigeria, Senegal and the United Republic of Tanzania are the winners of the five UNESCO Literacy Prizes this year. One of them was awarded to a US organization that partners with health organizations. Good news considering the recent study that found only smoking was a stronger predictor of early death than illiteracy. You can listen to a podcast from Scientific American to hear more about it.

Using blogs to raise relief funds

Mary McCoy blogged for 24 hours straight to raise $2,102 in pledges for the ALA Katrina Library Relief Fund. One of my favorite highlights was a comment from Larry, titled,

Belated possum haiku

Beady little eyes.

Eating the dog’s food, hissing.

Looks like a big rat.