The Library as Cornerstone of a National Identity

. . . in this case the new library at Addis Ababa University\'s Institute of Ethiopian Studies:

Ethiopian studies today, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, faces one of its greatest challenges, and one in which we appeal for help from all readers. Since its establishment in 1963, the Institute has made itself central to the study of Ethiopia, in all areas of scholarship. Ethiopia has an age-old tradition of indigenous learning, in which its people can feel proud.

However, as far as the modern study of the country is concerned, most scholars of Ethiopia, prior to the founding of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, lived outside the country; virtually all works on Ethiopia, including scholarly periodicals, were published abroad; academic gatherings on the country were held almost exclusively in other countries, indeed continents . . .

The major problem - and challenge - for today relates to the Institute Library, which, as far as possible, collects all works produced inside or outside Ethiopia . . . The [present] building . . . was planned for State Receptions, not for the storage of millions of books, manuscripts, pamphlets, and newspapers, and is, we believe, groaning under the weight of so much scholarly material. (It groans, but it wants more).

The Society, and the Institute, is appealing to all individuals and institutions of good-will to assist in the noble endeavour of building the New Library: we appeal to Ethiopian intellectuals, and to the media, to help with creating awareness of the importance of the Library and Museum project; to the Ethiopian business community at home and abroad . . . to Ethiopian and foreign corporations and foundations; to the diplomatic community . . . and to the ordinary man, woman or child in the street.

More from allAfrica.

Syndicate content