UK publishers have donated more than 10,000 books through Book Aid International to the University of Mosul Library since it was destroyed by an ISIS attack.
The UK’s leading international book donation and library development charity has supported the restocking of the library and said the total number of books provided through their services now totals 20,099. The charity was approached by Mosul Book Bridge, a group set up in the aftermath of the 2015 attack, aiming to restore the library.
The university institute once housed more than one million books, including 600,000 Arabic-language materials and 400,000 resources in English and other languages — many of which were destroyed in what Unesco described as "one of the most devastating acts of destruction of library collections in human history". It also contained 1,600 manuscripts, 5,000 government publications dating back to the founding of the modern Iraqi state in 1921, and versions of the Quran from the 19th century.
Book Aid International has committed to providing 50,000 brand new books to help restore the lost collection. The 10,295 books which arrived in the Iraqi city this week include higher education texts in the sciences, engineering, the humanities and medical subjects.
Alison Tweed, the charity's c.e.o., said: “Libraries have an essential role to play not just in education, but also in giving everyone a space where reading and learning can flourish – and that is why we are delighted to have provided over 20,000 brand new books to the University of Mosul as they work to bring their library back to life. These books will feed discussion, fuel debate and support students as they return to their studies. We would like to thank the UK publishers who generously donated these books to us.”
The library is currently being rebuilt, and is in need of equipment to facilitate temporary library spaces, in addition to significant financial support.
Sayf Al Ashqar, secretary-general of libraries at the University of Mosul, said of the donations: “The rebuilding of our Central Library sends a clear message that ISIS and groups like it can never exterminate the will to read, learn and understand. We envision our library as a modern hub where anyone who values knowledge can access a wide range of books, discover new ideas and join in conversations with others who also value education and contact. We thank Book Aid International for these book donations which are helping us move one step forward to the realising our aim.”