President Kalam launches Indian digital library

Indian President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam has launched the portal of Digital Library of India. The portal will have about 27,000 books in a digitized form. Speaking on the occasion, the President called upon the people to bridge digital divide. Lauding the project, Dr. Kalam said that efforts should be made to digitize our traditional knowledge.
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The Cuban crackdown

Fang-Face writes "On 03 September, columnist Murray Dobbin had an interview with Carlos Fernandez de Cossio published, in which Senor Cossio explains the basis for Cuba's actions. Cossio's arguments are suprisingly coherent. He does not cite any real evidence for his charges of independent librarians as terrorists, but he comes across as highly rational despite his anti-U.S. criticisms smacking of conspiracy theory. In any event, he presents Cuba's side of the story."

Major African library heads home

Charles Davis writes "Here's News That one of the world's top collections of African literature is finally on its way back to Africa,
officials said today.
Rare first editions signed by giants of African literature such as Nigeria's Chinua Achebe
and Wole Soyinka and South Africa's Nadine Gordimer form part of the collection of 13 000
items being sent from Texas to South Africa to launch a new Centre for African Literary
Studies at the University of Natal.
"This collection constitutes a key intellectual and cultural resource which can be seen as a
cornerstone for scholarly contribution and African renaissance," Liz Gunner a Professor at
the University of Natal said."

The National Review reviews ALA and Cuban libraries

Steve Fesenmaier writes "The National Review looks at ALA's official stand
on Cuban librarians, reviewing recent articles in other publications. I hate to ever agree with this publication - but for once I do.
Here's the Full Story"

Iran's Greatest Digital Library Becomes Operational

A Short Piece from Tehran Times says The greatest digital library in the field of medical sciences and biological technologies was put into full operation at Iran's Pasteur Institute.

A report released by Pasteur Institute quoting head of the institute's data processing center, Farzan Majidfar, said that the library houses a combination of figurative libraries from the world international network (internet) and digital libraries from domestic network.

Update on Libraries in Iraq

Martin writes:

"A colleague who is attending the World Library and Information Congress (formerly known as IFLA) in Berlin, sent a note about a report by a French scholar attached to USESCO on the state of libraries in Iraq after the war. He describes the damage to the major repositories in Baghdad, Basra and Mosul, concluding that while there was extensive damage to buildings and many book collections were destroyed, the majority of the precious manuscripts have been preserved. The full report can be found at IFLA's website."[.pdf]

A Look At 2 Major Book Markets

JapanToday has one that says recent moves underway suggest that Japanese books will reach a wider foreign audience, as publishers, faced with declining domestic books sales, are beginning to turn their eyes to overseas markets.

The trend is on introducing contemporary writers, rather than classics symbolized by the three great writers Yasunari Kawabata, Yukio Mishima and Junichiro Tanizaki, publishing industry officials said.

They noted that publishers are encouraged by the growing global popularity of Japanese manga. "The manga boom could well pave the way for Japanese literature to become better known abroad," said Masahiro Takano, president of TranNet KK, a publishing and translation services company in Tokyo.
Meanwhile, in India, Exports of Indian books, publications and printing materials have increased steadily over the last five years. Valued at Rs 360 crore in 2002-03, this market has grown more than ten times from Rs 33 crore in 1990-91 and over two-fold from Rs 169.9 crore in 1997-98. Exports contribute to just five per cent of the publishing industry’s total turnover, which now stands at Rs 7,000 crore. Developed nations, such the US, Singapore, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, currently pick up about 50-52 per cent of the total exports. Five years ago, their share was 38 per cent.

Granny Li's Reading Room

Michael spotted This One all the way from China on Li Guizhen's tiny reading room.
Seventy-three-year-old Li, known as "Granny Li" to her patrons young and old, has been running her children's reading room for 12 years since she retired from the city library of Hefei, capital ofeast China's Anhui Province. The former librarian gets no salary, and she charges no membership fee. Money for the books which pack the shelves comes from her own pocket.

Thanks, Comrade

Dear Fidel,

You’ll forgive me for not referring to you as ‘Excellency.’ I always thought that was a bit of a stretch for a socialist, anyhow. At any rate, I would like to take a moment or two of your time to thank you for your service to the American Library—the one with the capital ‘L.’

Sanford Berman writes to Castro

Steve Fesenmaier sends us a copy of Sanford Berman's letter to Fidel Castro about Cuban libraries.

I oppose the American embargo against Cuba and last week, at the American Library Association Conference in Toronto, Canada, publicly declared both the blockage and Helms-Burton Act to be “stupid,” stating that they must immediately end.

However, although I respect and defend Cuba’s national sovereignty and integrity, I cannot remain silent about the severe human rights abuses represented by the mid-March arrest and conviction of some 75 dissidents, including independent journalists and librarians. Not only were their “trials” suspect – conducted summarily in remote locations – but there appears to be no evidence that these persons truly posed a threat to Cuba’s security....

Read the full letter by following the "Read Some More of this Story" link below.

Steve also asks us to sign a petition against the arrests at


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