WSJ OpinionJournal: WHO Cried Wolf

Fred D. writes "Interesting op-ed from the Wall Street Journal's OpinionJournal. The May 1 entry of "John Fund's Political Diary" is titled "WHO Cried Wolf". Mr. Fund acknowledges the danger from SARS, but believes that more damages is being done in North America by SARS-induced panic.

Mr. Fund also mentions the upcoming ALA convention in Toronto, and says "[l]et's hope that American librarians, who pride themselves on being information professionals, make the right decision and keep their convention in Toronto."

The piece is available (free registration possibly required) at".

The Market Is the Key

Lee Hadden writes " The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on the Iraqi
Library, and the problems of having too much culture in one location. For an unique view of collecting treasures, see the article from the April 24, 2003 issue.

"The Market Is the Key To Preserving the Past In the Fray"
They say
The media have devoted
much time and space to
this tragedy. However,
mentioning one aspect of
it seems to be taboo:
the grave danger of
having too large a part
of a culture's art
gathered in just one
place on earth. The
preachments of the
archaeological community
notwithstanding, the
retentionist program
they advocate is a
prescription for future

As folk
wisdom has it, "Don't
put all your eggs in one

Read more about it at: required).


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

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. 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:, 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.


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