Magazine article American Libraries

Iraq National Library Closes Briefly

Magazine article American Libraries

Iraq National Library Closes Briefly

Article excerpt

In the wake of increasing sectarian violence that resulted in the deaths of several staff members, Iraq's National Library and Archive in Baghdad closed for three weeks on November 21. In a December 6 e-mail to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Director-General Saad Eskander said the library is in an area where fighting between militias has intensified, resulting in gunfire and bomb explosions in neighboring buildings.

"On many occasions, the NLA was hit directly," Eskander said in the December 7 Chronicle. "Windows were smashed. My staff are naturally frightened."

Eskander decided to reopen the library the week of December 11, even though the security situation had not improved. He divided his staff into two groups that will each work three days, permitting access throughout the week, according to Jeffrey B. Spurr, an Islamic specialist at Harvard's Fine Arts Library who has been in touch with Eskander.

In a portion of his diary posted online by the UK Society of Archivists (www. …

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