Committee on Iraqi Libraries

NOTE: This committee ceased its operations in 2013. Similar work has been taken up by the active Endangered Libraries Committee. Information presented on this page is for reference and informational purposes only.

The MELA Executive Board convened the Committee on Iraqi Libraries to coordinate the organization’s response to the damage and destruction suffered by libraries in Iraq during and after the war in March and April 2003. The committee is envisioned to be a small task force of MELA members who have first-hand knowledge of, experience or strong interest in matters related to libraries in Iraq who will be able to field questions, play the role of contact and suggest ways to assist in rebuilding efforts.

Documents published under the auspices of the MELA Committee on Iraqi Libraries

MELA Committee on Iraqi Libraries: Aims & Strategies

Annual Reports:

Iraqi Libraries and Archives in Peril: Survival in a Time of Invasion, Chaos, and Civil Conflict, A Report 2007

Indispensable yet Vulnerable: The Library in Dangerous Times A Report on the Status of Iraqi Academic libraries and a Survey of Efforts to Assist Them, with Historical Introduction, by Jeff Spurr.

Listen of Stolen Manuscripts Fujii, Hideo; Oguchi, Kazumi. Lost Heritage: Antiquities Stolen from Iraq’s Regional Museums. Fascicle 3. Tokyo: Institute for Cultural Studies of Ancient Iraq, Kokushikan University; 1996. 1 volume (xxi + 43 pages [illustrated]).

Report on the Central Awqaf Library and Report on the Central Library of Baghdad University / Al-Waziriya, by Zain Al-Naqshbandi.

Names and Contact Information for Senior Administrators and Librarians at Institutions in Iraq

Bosnian Libraries: Their Fate in the War and Responses to it, with Lessons for Iraq, by Jeff Spurr. (Paper originally presented at the Special Advocacy Session, “Cultural Heritage in a Time of War”, of the College Art Association (CAA) annual conference, Seattle, WA, 20 February, 2004)

The Iraqi Jewish Archive Preservation Report is now available. This document is published here with the kind permission of the authors and the Library of Congress Mission To Baghdad. Report on the National Library and the House of Manuscripts, October 27-November 3, 2003

Preliminary bibliography of books documenting the contents of the Iraq Museum, the National Library and Archives, and the MS collection of the Ministry of Religious Endowments – all in Baghdad – as well as of other damaged or destroyed collections in Baghdad or elsewhere in Iraq including Mosul, Basrah, Suleimaniyeh, etc.

Iraq Manuscript Collections, Archives, & Libraries: Situation Report [The author of the report, Nabil al-Tikriti, is a doctoral candidate in the Dept of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the U. of Chicago and is familiar with Iraqi manuscript collections from previous research trips before the war. His report on his recent site visits and interviews in Baghdad provides the first assessment since the end of the war of the state of libraries and manuscript collections in Iraq and of the nature and extent of damage to these institutions and their holdings.]

List of Manuscript Catalogs of Iraqi Museums and Libraries, by Shayee Khanaka, Univ. of California, Berkeley

[This is a list of manuscript catalogs of Iraqi Museums and Libraries, including the Libraries that own each item by FirstSearch Symbols. At the end of the list is a key to Library symbols. Additional information is requested from anyone who can supply it.]

Iraqi Library Stamps. The aim of this project is to collect images (scanned photographs or photocopies) of library stamps and other ownership marks used by various libraries and manuscript collections in Iraq and make these images available on the Internet.

Pictures of Damaged Libraries in Iraq. The photographs presented here document damage to libraries in Iraq during and after the war in April 2003. Most of them are provided by Nabil al-Tikriti, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. They were taken during his trip to Baghdad on 25-31 May 2003. They accompany his report: Iraq Manuscript Collections, Archives, & Libraries: Situation Report, dated 8 June 2003. The remaining photographs were taken by McGuire Gibson, Professor of Mesopotamian Archaeology, The Oriental Institute, University of Chicago. He was a member of the UNESCO team which visited Baghdad in May 2003.

Useful documents produced by other individuals or organizations:

The Tale of Iraq’s Cemetery of Books by Saad Eskander. [This is an edited version of Saad Eskander’s keynote speech at the Internet Librarian International 2004 conference held in London in October 2004] Published in the on-line edition of Information Today, Vol. 21 No. 11 – December 2004.