What is it all about?
Let’s help the Library! (Pomozme knihovně!) is the name of a charitable fundraiser organized with the purpose to aid the recovery of the Library of the University of Mosul, which will take place between 2.10.2017 and 31.1.2018.
The central library of the University Library of Mosul used to be one of the most important libraries of the Middle East with more than a million of documents (including valuable manuscripts and old prints), it offered students and teachers of the university the informational background needed for their studies and teaching. In the years of 2014 to 2016, when the second largest city of Iraq fell under the so called Islamic state, the library was systematically destroyed. Almost all of the collections have been burned along with the facilities. The systematic destruction of books was an integral part of the rule of the Islamic state, and many of the unique manuscripts and prints as well as contemporary academic texts were destroyed. Towards the end of the occupation, the library itself took heavy damage and was almost completely destroyed during bombing raids. The library became a target for the national Iraqi armies and coalition forces as they used the university campus as a base for their military operations. The city of Mosul was finally freed in July of 2017 and the effort of rebuilding the city started at once, along with the efforts to rebuild the university. The goal of the fundraising is to help the central Library of the University of Mosul to function again– the way it has functioned since its founding in 1974.
Why should I help?
A fully functioning University library is an institution that creates appropriate conditions for studying, teaching and scientific research. With the help of books and other documents it is an informational platform that provides education. It is the quality education that is one of the prerequisites for ensuring the safety in the Middle East that has not been safe to live in years. People are not forced to leave their home country to seek safety, if safety is reachable in their homes. Since July 2017 and the final recovery of Mosul, the university and its library are beginning from nothing and need help. It does not matter if you wish to help as a librarian, as a student, as a teacher or just as a human being. Every, even the smallest gesture of help counts.
How will the money be used?
The money that will be raised through the fundraiser will be transferred to the officials of the Central library of the University of Mosul. The organization People In Need serves as the insurer of the guarantee of credibility and will organize the transfer of the money. The library itself will decide how best to use the money. Most of the finances will be invested in the restoration of the building and to make the library accessible again. The primary goal is not to restore the collections but to help the Library provide the space needed for its functionality. Besides reconstruction, the money can be used for equipment, furniture or for restoring the books that have been preserved or for purchasing new books.
Who is behind the fundraiser?
The idea for this fundraiser arose in the spring of 2017 when the employees of the Library of the Faculty of Arts, Charles University decided they want to express their solidarity and compassion with their colleagues and the difficult situation they face. We as librarians can imagine the impact the destruction of a library can have and all that is needed for its recovery. Because we have no experience with organising a fundraiser we reached out to the organization People in Need. The organization joined our initiative and shares their experience with organising charitable endeavours. People in Need is also the operator of the bank account of the fundraiser and a guarantor of its credibility. This organization has been engaged with charitable work in Iraq since 2003. It has workers directly in Mosul and invaluable contacts among the local people. Besides the Library of the Faculty of Arts and People in Need, there are other organization and institutions that support this fundraiser.