Over 500 mil books checked out from Japanese libraries in 2001

News Out Of Japan where A record 520,830,000 books were checked out from public libraries in Japan in the year ended in March 2002, meaning that each citizen borrowed an average 4.1 books that year, an education ministry survey showed Friday.

Briefing on the Investigation of Antiquity Loss from the Baghdad Museum has the Transcript From A Briefing on the U.S. government's investigation into the theft and looting of the Iraqi museum in Baghdad. Briefing slides used in this briefing are available Here, and A photo from today's briefing is located Here.
Colonel Matthew Bogdanos is the person that has been leading the U.S. government's investigation into the theft and looting of the Iraqi museum in Baghdad and gives his his interim report in this briefing. He says 30 exhibits from the main gallery, 30 display- quality, irreplaceable pieces, are still missing from the museum. Another 16 pieces were damaged, most notably, the Golden Harp of Ur. In total, the number of artifacts now known to be missing from the museum stands at slightly over 10,000. As it has for over the last five months, this number will change on a daily basis.

Ethiopian Book of Psalms to Be Returned

Charles Davis writes "from
Posted to mailing list at

A handwritten copy of the Book of Psalms that British troops
looted from Ethiopia in the 19th century will be returned.

A group that works to return looted treasures to Ethiopia said
Tuesday that it will take the 300-year-old book to Addis Ababa, the
capital of the eastern African nation, later this month. British
soldiers took the book and other treasures when they stormed the
mountain fortress of Emperor Theodore II at Magdala during an
invasion of Ethiopia in 1868. The Association for the Return of the
Magdala Ethiopian Treasures bought the book from a private dealer for
$1,200 earlier this year. The volume is in a leather case stamped
with the words "Taken at Magdala." It is written in the ancient
Ethiopian language of Geez. A label inside describes it as "one of
the few surviving manuscripts that is not in the British Museum from
the enormous looting which took place after the assault on the
fortress of Magdala.""

Barbados Sees Decrease In Library Membership

News Out Of Barbados, where Only one-fifth of this country’s population are members of the National Library Service. Furthermore, over the last three years, membership at that department has declined by over 5 000 persons.
These statistics were revealed to the Barbados Advocate by library officials, who noted that as of June 2003, membership was 55 595, down from 61 107 in December 2001. These figures account for 28 713 adults and 26 882 children, and suggests that Barbadians do not utilise our national libraries as much as they should, according to one source.

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.
Full Story

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]


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