Iraqi National Library restored and open -- if you're brave enough to visit

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BAGHDAD -- In the three years since he took over the Iraqi National Library, Saad Eskander has repaired the damage from theft and arson, played detective and advised his employees on staying alive.

He has transformed the library, burned and looted in the aftermath of Saddam Hussein's ouster in 2003, into a symbol of hope in a country mired in sectarian violence, crime and political bickering.

The three-story, tan-brick building has been restored, new furniture procured, computer and book restoration departments established, and some 100 young university graduates hired to inject new blood into the stodgy organization.

The result: For the first time since 2003, the library is fully accessible to the public -- at least those Iraqis brave enough to visit.

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