Rebuilding Mosul’s Library Book by Book

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tags: Iraq, Mosul



A campaign to restore the holdings of the library of the University of Mosul has received an enthusiastic response since it began three months ago. Professors, students and private donors inside and outside Iraq are contributing books and other materials even before government military action to reclaim the city from Da’esh (Islamic State) has ended.

Islamic State seized the library when it captured Mosul in June of 2014, and made a show of destroying its books and manuscripts. “The destruction is complete,” said Obay al-Dewachi, president of the University of Mosul. “Almost 100 percent of the university’s library and holdings were destroyed.” Al-Dewachi has been running a University of Mosul campus in exile in Dohuk in Iraqi Kurdistan since 2015.

Many of the library’s older manuscripts had been digitized and backed up on servers, so they have not been entirely lost to posterity, said Mohammed Jassim, the library’s director, who has been working in Kirkuk for the past three years. Some manuscripts are intact because employees spirited them away when Islamic State captured Mosul.





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