International

Cuban Libraries Under the Embargo

Eliades Acosta Matos, director of the José Martí National Library, reports on Cuban libraries under the embargo:

The cost of the embargo to the cultural life of the Cuban nation is immense and difficult to reduce to numbers. Still, it can be gleaned from the difficulties we face in acquiring the paper we need to print books, magazines and journals, and in obtaining the oil we need to generate the electricity that ensures, for instance, that our public libraries are not forced to reduce their evening hours . . . Of course, other technologies as well, computers, photocopy machines, microfilm readers, television sets or music players, items essential to the daily operation of any library, also face these same travel-related restrictions. And how could there be a normal and fluid exchange between Cuban and American colleagues when U. S. citizens face a fine of up to 250,000 dollars and ten years imprisonment if they travel, for instance, to a library conference in Cuba without first obtaining a license from the U. S. Treasury Department?

More from Movable Type. Thanks to librarian.net.

EMERGENCY DECLARATION FOR A HALT TO PREPARATIONS FOR BOMBING AFGHANISTAN

Mark Rosenzweig has written an emergency
declaration
for librarians to sign expressing their
opposition to preparations for war on Afghanistan. So far
it has around 160 signatures (it is Wednesday night). The
above link leads to a web page where you can add your
signature. The declaration is copied here: -- Read More

National Library of Australia Celeberates Centennial

The other ABC News reports on the Centennial of the Australian National Library this past Sunday, September 23rd. Among the celebrations include author readings, tour, exhibitions and a circus group.

EU Donates $50,000 to Rwandan Library

The European Union has become the third largest contributor to a library construction project in Kigali:

The European Union has contributed US $50,000 towards the building of the Kigali Public Library, Rwanda News Agency (RNA) reported on Monday. Citing a press release from the Rotary Club of Kigali-Virunga, the organisation responsible for mobilising resources for the project, RNA noted that this donation makes the EU the third largest donor to the library and entitles the EU to a permanent seat on the library governing board and the right to name one of the library\'s special collections.

More from allAfrica.com. The Kigali Public Library\'s website is here.

India Investing in Libraries, Web Access

The Indian government is investing in libraries in the southern state of Udupi:

All district libraries in the state would soon get computer and internet facilities, announced Babu Rao Chauhan, Minister for Adult Education and Libraries. He laid foundation stone to the Udupi District Library and commercial complex building here on Sunday. He said that the Udupi Library would be upgraded as City Central Library and would be renovated at a cost of Rs 45 lakhs. A purchase Committee has been setup for the bulk purchase of books and 20 per cent of that would be reserved for local writers, he added . . .

More from South Nexus.

South African Squatters Fight for Library

A library of donated books in a Johannesburg squatter camp has been closed, prompting an angry response from residents:

A library donated to the Joe Slovo squatter camp in Johannesburg was closed last month because a residents\' committee was not informed about its opening. This week supporters of the library threatened legal action against the committee if it did not allow residents access to the facility. . . \"We need the library, especially these children,\" said Japie Mashadi, pointing at dirty children playing between the shacks. . .

More from allAfrica.com.

New Guinea Prison Libraries Need Books

From today\'s Papua New Guinea Post Courier:

PRISONERS NEED BOOKS

I AM writing on behalf of the detainees (prisoners) in the Papua New Guinea Correctional Institutions who are earnestly seeking the assistance of the citizens of this country and overseas for library books. All the jails in the country have their own mini libraries but only a few books. Others only have the Jack and the Beanstalk novels and nothing else. We therefore need more books and other literature to restock the detainees’ libraries around the country.So, if you have any books that you want to “throw away”, please I urge you to donate them to:

Assistant Commissioner
Welfare and Rehabilitation,
Correctional Service Headquarter,
PO Box 6889
Boroko, NCD 111
Papua New Guinea

Your kind donations will certainly contribute a lot more to the wellbeing of our dear ones in the prisons around Papua New Guinea.

Stephen P. Pokanis
Bomana

More information on books-to-prisoners programs in the United States can be found here. If anyone has links for programs in Canada, the UK, or elsewhere, please email me and I\'ll post them here.

First IFLA/FAIFE World Report on libraries & intellectual freedom

The IFLA Annual Conference in Boston saw the launch of the first IFLA/FAIFE World Report on libraries and intellectual freedom:
\"a major project, a first attempt to provide a picture on the status of libraries and intellectual freedom throughout the world. More than 140 countries have been contacted and 46 have submitted their report.\"
As expected, the reports already collected confirm that \"all is not well\" with freedom of expression and freedom of access to information.
This sounds like such an important project and I don\'t think anyone has posted it already: here is the official press release from IFEX, the International Freedom of Expression Exchange.

Ban on book purchases for Punjab libraries

The Punjab government have imposed a ban on the purchase of books by libraries in the province which is causing a slump in the book trade. It appears to be part of a reorganisation of library affairs, controlling who is responsible for the provision of books and furniture for libraries established in the province. This story from the Business Recorder isn\'t very clear, but it would be good to find out more about what is going on in an area that relies heavily on libraries to promote literacy.

Illiteracy in UK Worse Now Than Before WWI

According to an article at ITN, in regard to a study conducted by the University of Ulster, \"At least two million people in Britain are totally illiterate and unable to make sense of basic information such as bus timetables or supermarket labels.\" more...

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