International

American Scholar Donates 20,000 Books to Gambian Library

Dr. Sulayman Nyang, a professor of African Studies at Howard University , is donating 20,000 books from his personal collection to the University of Gambia library:

Prof Nyang . . . made this pledge last Thursday at a reception organised in his honour by the vice chancellor of the University of The Gambia. Speaking at the reception Prof Nyang said, \"I think the University of The Gambia has a humble beginning but like a mustard seed that is planted and cultivated properly, it could very well develop into a massive hope tree and there will be many birds building their nests on this tree. Those of you who are actively involved in helping plant, water and cultivate this seed of potential academic development in this country will be remembered by future generations of Gambians, Africans and human beings from the other parts of the world.\"

[More from allAfrica.com.]

Rebuilding a Library From War\'s Ashes

The Jaffna, Sri Lanka public library, a bastion of Tamil culture destroyed during that country\'s civil war, is being rebuilt:

On a fateful night 20 years ago, Sinhalese police officers rampaged through this town\'s public library, one of the great repositories of the Tamil people\'s history and culture, and committed an act of ethnic vandalism that helped set this country on a path to civil war. They stormed into the grand public rooms of one of South Asia\'s finest libraries and set 97,000 volumes ablaze.

Rare old manuscripts written on palm leaves and stored in fragrant sandalwood boxes, miniature editions of the Ramayana epic from the children\'s section, yellowing collections of extinct Tamil-language newspapers — all were consumed in a roaring conflagration that convinced many Tamils that the Sinhalese were out to annihilate their very identity. . . Now, finally, the library is being rebuilt here in the Tamils\' cultural capital. It is a hive of activity, with workers laying bricks and plastering over the bullet holes. . .

[More from the New York Times (registration required).]

Black Book of Communism Distributed to Free Libraries in Russia

From AllNews, Someone writes...\"Russia\'s centrist party Union of Right Forces has published another 100,000 copies of The Black Book of Communism to send it for free school libraries in Russia.\" According to Leonid Gozman, of the Union of Right Forces, \"The book should be available to every pupil in Russia. It should provide an adequate understanding of the danger represented by the Communist ideology, which has yet to be finally overcome in Russia.\" more...

British Library website to chart Black and Asian history

Always helpful with stories from the other side of the world, Charles Davis writes \"The British Library is to build a website charting 465 years of Black and Asian history in London.
The plan is to establish a website culling records from a
number of different sources, including the British Library
and India office.
Co-ordinators at the London Metropolitan Archives plan to
have the database up-and-running in time for Black History
month in October next year.
\"This project is one of the most ambitious of its kind as it
covers sources for several centuries of London history from
1536 onwards,\" said LMA head archivist Deborah Jenkins.
The project will be funded by £30,000 from the British
Library and Re:source, the Council for Museums, Archives
and Libraries.
Story from
HERE \"

Zimbabwe Book Fair Struggles On

The Zimbabwe International Book Fair, \"a week of book deals and literary debate . . . unmatched anywhere else south of the Sahara,\" has just wrapped up in Harare:

Last weekend, an Angolan publisher spoke on \"The Challenge of Publishing in a War-Torn Country\" and a Botswanan publishing manager explored \"The Risk of Producing Books in Indigenous Languages.\" During the week, writers could choose among workshops like \"Copyright Control: Can Africa Achieve It?\" and \"What Influences Does Religion Have in Writing for the Future?\" In hotel corridors and downtown cafes, scholars continued their discussions and debates in French, Portuguese and English.

In the gardens, amid row after row of bookstalls, eager publishers displayed even greater range, with works in adopted tongues and indigenous ones, like Yoruba and Tigrinya, Zulu and Afrikaans and Zimbabwe\'s languages, Ndebele and Shona . . . Librarians learn how to make their little budgets go a long way and can win small book-buying prizes. [More from the New York Times (registration required).]

Libraries Threatened By Globalization?

Just to tie librarianship to yet another vast and baffling issue, here\'s Fiona Hunt\'s essay on the implications of globalization for libraries:

Public libraries are in the public domain, supported by public taxes. Imagine an information services company entering a market and demanding the same subsidies and tax support that public libraries get. It would be entitled to do so under national treatment rules, providing it can prove itself to be the same kind of operation. The government\'s most likely response would be to cut back on or eliminate public funding to libraries so as to avoid similar claims in the future. Libraries could find themselves forced to generate income to survive. The worst case scenario is that, without public funding, libraries could disappear altogether. The public would then be required to buy their information from information companies or from libraries, if libraries could stay afloat by charging for their services. Either way, the public would find itself paying for information that was once in the public domain. [More from the Progressive Librarian]

Also check out Rory\'s earlier posting on this subject.

British Library closing Indian library

Matt Eberle
writes \"The British Council library in Patna, India is
closing. The library is reportedly being closed because
it has only 1,400 members. Members say this is
because the library has only 8,000 books and only 80
people can occupy the reading room at once.

Full Story

Membership (bclindia.o
rg
) appears to be 400
Rupees annually \"

Indian state campaigns to keep British library

The decision of the British government to close the British Council library in the Indian state of Bihar has led to widespread protests and the creation of an Association to Save the British Library. Bihar has the lowest literary rate of all Indian states (47.53 per cent) and the library\'s supporters feel the loss of the library would only make things worse. However, the British government argue that the library is not viable. The the full story from the Khaleej Times.

Open letter from librarians protesting the police violence in Genoa, Italy

There is an open letter from librarians, written by Mark Rosenzweig, protesting the police violence at the anti-globalization demonstrations in Genoa, Italy, on the web and ready for your signature. I signed it, not because I am opposed to globalization per se, but I am opposed to the way it is happening and definitely opposed to the police response in Genoa, which has been incredibly brutal. The signable letter is at http://libr.org/PLG/Genoa.html, on the PLG site. It is also copied inside if you follow the internal LISNews link. You may also be interested in the Library Juice feature issue on what has happened in Genoa and it\'s coverage in the media. Apologies to those who object to anything non-library related, but as professionals we exist in the larger world. -- Read More

Gates gives $4.2 million to UK libraries

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated $4.2 million to British libraries, reports this story from the Times (UK). The money will be used to provide information technology learning centres in 350 libraries serving some of the most deprived areas in the UK. It will be very welcome as the government wants all 4,300 of Britain\'s libraries to be online by next year, no easy task.

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