Magazine article American Libraries

Visitors Find War-Weary Kabul Librarians Struggling to Rebuild. (Report from Afghanistan)

Magazine article American Libraries

Visitors Find War-Weary Kabul Librarians Struggling to Rebuild. (Report from Afghanistan)

Article excerpt

In September, a colleague and I from the National Library of Iran visited libraries in Afghanistan.

At the central public library in Kabul, which has been playing the role of a national library for lack of an official one, we found that the resources available on the shelves are all pre-1980s. Gift books, especially those from Iran and the United States, are stored uncataloged in a separate room. The only new gift books are in the children's section. Nilab Rahimi, who was a captive of the Taliban for some time, is the director of this library. The most important point Rahimi conveyed to me is the intense desire of the staff to learn librarianship, because none of them has taken, any courses.

We also visited the main library of Kabul University, which at present is the best-equipped library in Afghanistan. Deputy Director Gol Agha showed us that here too, gift, books from other countries had not yet been prepared for the shelves. In the technical services section, we found that this library also suffers from the lack of trained staff for cataloging.

The most alarming scene we witnessed was the place for book burning. During the Taliban regime, many of the library's collections, especially Persian-language books, were burned here because the Taliban had decided to destroy Afghanistan's Persian heritage and restrict books to the Pashtu language. At first I could not believe that' books were still burned in the 21st century; however, seeing where it was done, I accepted this bitter fact.

I suggested to the chancellor that Iranian teachers might be able to provide on-the-job training to the, library staff, and that Afghan students could apply for scholarships to Iranian universities for graduate coursework in library and information sciences. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.