Room-To-Read builds and stocks school libraries in Asia

In 1998, Microsoft executive John Wood trekked to Nepal, intending merely to slip on his backpack and get close to real life for a few weeks. After visiting a village library whose collection of no more than 20 books was considered too precious to circulate, Wood was inspired to quit Microsoft and start up the philanthropic organization Room-To-Read. Room-To-Read provides "challenge grants" to communities in India, Nepal, Vietnam and Cambodia for the construction of school libraries (and in some cases the schools themselves), and for the books to go in them. Because the people in these communities must raise at least 50 percent of project funds themselves, schools and their libraries have a greater chance of continued success. Wood's hometown paper, The Evening Times in Sayre, PA, has a nice profile of him and the organization.

Singapore National Library to move into new $200m building by late 2005

Channel News Asia Reports the National Library at Stamford Road will move out of its 44-year-old home. But the new $200 million building at Victoria Street won't be ready until late 2005.

From 1st April, the National Library at Stamford Road will shut its doors to the public for good.

And everything in it, will go.

About 200,000 reference books will be moved to the Jurong Regional Library.

The rest will go to a warehouse in Changi or other community and regional libraries.

LoC helps rebuild Baghdad’s library

LoC helps rebuild Baghdad’s library, a story from, says The Library of Congress (LoC) has stepped in to help rebuild and restructure Baghdad’s National Library after it was devastated by arson and looting in April.

Because the LoC has extensive experience assisting libraries and archives worldwide in recovering from all types of emergencies, the library’s leadership was eager to oblige when the State Department asked for help, said Mark Roosa, the library’s director for preservation.

“We want to assist the Iraqi people in re-establishing their country and getting it back on its feet, and we see this as very much a part of the effort that the president is moving forward,� Roosa said.

Cuba Freedom of Information Updates

Search Engines Guy sent in a bunch O' Cuba stories.

Cubanet, NewsMax, Another CubaNet, The Washington Times, WorldNetDaily, and one more at CubaNet.
If you're interested in this topic, has a huge current news archive.

British book sparks ancient manuscripts destruction

Charles Davis writes "from

An Indian mob has destroyed 30,000 ancient manuscripts
and rioted in retaliation for Oxford University Press
publishing a British author's book about a Hindu king.

The incident was sparked by an allegedly objectionable
remark by author James Lane on the legendary Maratha
king Chhatrapathi Shivaji in his book "Shivaji: The Hindu
King In Islamic India".


Nat Hentoff in Village Voice - ALA should help Cuba

Steve Fesenmaier writes "One of the great champions of freedom in this country is Nat Hentoff. For decades he has been writing about challenges to human rights, both in the US and around the world. He has received many awards for his human rights prose - and now is asking American librarians to stand up against the last remaining Communist dictatorship in the world - Cuba.

full story"

Ghanaian public libraries crisis

Two sad articles about the state of libraries in Ghana.
and: Ghanaweb

The MP for Hohoe South, Mr. Kosi Kedem has appealed to government and parliament to go to the rescue of public libraries whose state he described as "extremely alarming and an embarrassment to the country."

"Most of the qualified professional librarians have deserted. Right now, there are only five professionals instead of a minimum requirement of 62. The staff is so underpaid that there is no motivation for work".

The situation, he added was so bad that the board could not fulfill the barest minimum condition needed to retrieve donor funding from the Carnegie Corporation of the USA to fund the establishment of a national library in Ghana which was contingent upon the rehabilitation of the public libraries.

British Library claims it adds £363m ($600m) to e

Owen Massey writes "The British Library has attempted to quantify its contribution to the UK's economy, according to this story in the Financial Times: the BL claims a return of 4.4 times its tax funding."

Jewish "Holy Books" On Display at the Alexandria Library

David Goldman writes "The new Alexandria Library in Egypt, renovated by the Egyptian and Italian governments via UNESCO, recently opened a manuscript museum with a display case containing the holy books of the monotheistic religions. Next to the Torah, the museum director placed the infamous Russian antisemitic forgery "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion." The Protocols is the infamous, anti-Semitic book which describes a Jewish plan for world dominiation.

Library troubles in Canada

Two LISNews readers sent in stories about Canadian libraries this week. Janet Clark points us to The Globe and Mail

Friendships in Claresholm [Alberta], a town of 3,622, have dissolved. Smiles on the street have been replaced by people who shuffle by with their heads down.

News of screaming matches and an anonymous leaflet campaign swept through the streets like a prairie grass fire. A flood of letters poured in to the weekly newspaper.

The municipality wound up in court recently, pitted against some prominent citizens.

All over a library.

Meanwhile, zamiel gives us a CBC item about library closings in Regina, Saskatchewan:

REGINA - The Regina Library System recently announced that it will close the Dunlop Art Gallery and three library branches in 2004. Patrons are questioning the decision, which will eliminate 27 jobs and a number of library services.

"I really feel that this is a blow to the city and the province," said art historian and Dunlop Gallery patron Annie Gerin. "To me, this is not just related to the library. There's a much broader cultural issue here that hasn't been discussed at all by the board."


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