International

NY Times special section on museums

Steve Fesenmaier writes "Since the total destruction of the national museum of Iraq happened, many people are wondering what is going on with museums around the country and world. This special on-line supplement covers many of them. "

Campaign Starts to Help Iraq Rebuild Cultural Institutions

Here's A NYTimes Article on announce a campaign to rebuild as much as possible the plundered cultural institutions of Iraq.
Experts from the Louvre in Paris, New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art, Berlin's State Museum and Russia's Hermitage unveiled a plan to inventory within six months the losses in a wave of looting at the National Museum in Baghdad, the National Library and other museums and sites. They also pledged to provide assistance to their beleaguered Iraqi colleagues in restoring damaged antiquities. The meeting included archaeologists from leading Western universities and officials of Unesco and the British government.

ALA Teams With Heritage Emergency National Task Force

Lee Hadden writes: "The American Library Association is working with other members of the Heritage
Emergency National Task Force, which includes the Library of Congress, the Institute
for Museum and Library Services and various cultural organizations, to coordinate with
efforts of the IFLA and UNESCO to respond to requests for assistance from colleagues
in Iraq to help restore the National Library and Archive, Iraq's principal Islamic
library, and other important centers of learning in the cradle of civilization.ALA
will be requesting funds from USAID for reconstruction in Iraq to be allocated for the
reestablishment of the National Library and Archives, and other cultural institutions.
ALA is gathering names of experts knowledgeable on Iraqi libraries, Middle Eastern
collections, preservation, rare books and manuscripts, and others who can assist in
assessment, restoration, and rebuilding efforts. This site will provide you an update
on efforts. At this early stage the coordination efforts are just beginning"

read more about it at http://www.ala.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Our_Association/Offices/International_Relations2/Iraq.htm

Resolution from Art Libraries Society of North America Concerning Iraq

Mark writes "Here Is a Resolution from the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA)Concerning the Impact of the War in Iraq. They say they are are deeply troubled by the recent actions of the United States in Iraq. As art librarians, they are dismayed at the unimaginable destruction of Iraq’s cultural heritage."

The Latest From Iraq

Deb spotted a Reuters Article on a ban Britain placed on the export of a collection of 19th century journals related to Iraq, written by a man once celebrated in verse for locating the ruins of Ancient Babylon.
Jen noticed A CNN Story that says a panel of antiquities experts said Thursday it suspected some of the recent looting of Iraqi museums had been \"commissioned\" by collectors who had anticipated the fall of Saddam Hussein\'s regime.
Bob heard The Lost Cultural Treasures of Baghdad on the NPR Show, The Connection.
James passed along Word That the head of a U.S. presidential panel on cultural property has resigned in protest at the failure of U.S. forces to prevent the wholesale looting of priceless treasures from Baghdad\'s antiquities museum.
Salon.com asks What does the first lady -- a former librarian -- think of her husband\'s failure to protect Iraq\'s cultural sites? Subscribe, or watch a brief ad and get a free day pass to find this answer.
James also notced The new dark age, which says The looting and burning of Iraq\'s museums and libraries has left us all losers.

More bad news from Iraq

Seems there's more than a few bad news stories out of Iraq dealing with libraries, archives and museums. You can read stories at:
CSMonitor.com, The Guardian, CNN, The Independent, The National Institute, and The BBC

Also, UNESCO has a page devoted to the loss of cultural heritage in Iraq.

Cuban Government Imprisons Operators of Independent Libraries

The Chronicle of Higher Education has This Story [Sub. Required] on the Cuban government's continuing crackdown on political dissidents. It has dealt a serious blow to the independent-library movement on the island, which had become a key source of information for Cuban scholars since its emergence in 1998.

More than a dozen independent librarians were among the 36 dissidents sentenced on Monday to prison terms of 12 to 27 years, according to Gisela Delgado, director of the library movement.

"These people were convicted because they committed illegal acts against the country," Gustavo Beliz, a spokesman at the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City, said Wednesday. "This has nothing to do with libraries."

Borneo needs better library system says Minister

Here's A Short One on The Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Pehin Dato Seri Paduka Dr. Haji Awang Hussein Bin Haji Awang Mohd Yussof, who yesterday afternoon told members of the CONSAL XII from ASEAN countries while they made a courtesy call to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport that libraries in the country are in need of upgrading. During the informal discussion, Minister Dr. Haji Awang Hussein said that he was impressed with the library system in Singapore.

China on Its Way to Building 'Learning Society'

Two stories on China today, This One says Chinese Expats living in Shanghai would like to see the city build more museums, libraries and theaters, are turned off by the poor manners of many local residents and appreciate the city's English-language media.

This One says While many people sang and danced to celebrate the traditional Chinese Lunar New Year, many spent the week-long holiday in libraries and bookstores. This new trend to spend holidays in libraries and bookstores inChina was greatly advanced by the country's call to build a "learning society" at the 16th Party Congress last November.

"China has created an excellent atmosphere for learning and reading now," said Zhou Keda, a professor with the Guangxi Regional Academy of Social Sciences. "Many Chinese, young or old, will by no means give up learning and reading during holidays."

Comic books already big in French libraries

A story on NPR\'s Morning Edition this morning profiled the world\'s largest comic book convention*, just wrapping up today in the city of Angouleme, France. Reporter Frank Browning says that schoolchildren are let out for the festival, and mentions that many librarians visit the show as well. He even says that, on some days, the only books checked out at Angouleme libraries are comic books! The public library system there has a special collection of comic book materials, a partner to the Musèe de la Bande Dessinée* (Comic Book Museum) run by the French government\'s Centre National de la Bande Dessinée et de l\'Illustration (National Center of Comic Books and Illustration).

Somehow I doubt that this kind of recognition will be hitting the comics world Stateside anytime soon.

*These links are entirely in French. If you have unfiltered Internet access, you can see roughly translated versions using Google\'s language tools.

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