Nat Hentoff Blasts ALA on Persecution of Librarians in Cuba

Robert Kent writes: "In a stinging rebuke to the American Library Association,
one of the nation's foremost defenders of civil liberties, Nat Hentoff, has
criticized the ALA for failing to take action to defend volunteer librarians in
Cuba who are being subjected to a brutal crackdown.

French librarian left out of UNESCO visit to Iraq libraries

Jean-Marie Arnoult from the Bibliotheque National de France was denied a visa which would have allowed him to travel with a UNESCO (United nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural organisation) team that visited Baghdad earlier this month. An anonymous source alleged that Arnoult was denied the visa because he is French and was vocal in his opposition to the Iraq War.

Ross Shimon, general secretary of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) condemned the U.S. decision. Shimon has requested that members of the international library and information community speak out and expose this ”scandalous state of affairs”. More here. That\'s the only news story to date, but the story is making the rounds on lists, and support for an ALA resolution is strong.

Central Asia libraries in a bind

CrowGirl writes "An excellent story on the problems faced by libraries in the former soviet republics in central asia. They say many of the libraries that the now independent states of Central Asia inherited after the collapse of the Soviet Union have -- over the past 12 years -- fallen victim to neglect, theft, and inadequate funding.

Scholars Feel Helpless as They See Their Campus Destroyed

SomeOne writes "Sad NYTimes Story on Iraq. They quote one man as saying, In allowing the destruction of the university, he said, allied forces taught everyone in this city a simple lesson: "Nobody cares about the Iraqi people."


Angry Cuba expresses contempt for FAIFE critique

Michael Nellis writes "There's a new article up at Friends of Cuban Libraries about the knee jerk reaction of government officious (sic) to a recent FAIFE critique of attacks on the independent library system.
This link will take you directly to the article.


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


Subscribe to International