The University of Mosul library has officially re-opened, with 20,099 brand new books donated by UK charity Book Aid International.
The University of Mosul in Iraq was bombed by ISIS in 2014 and thousands of books and rare manuscripts were destroyed. The university was one of Islamic State’s first targets as it represented a centre of learning and free thought and the building was not liberated until 2017.
In 2014 when the library was destroyed, junior fellow at Brandeis University David Patel said: “Education life is on hold in Mosul, and we’ll see when it restarts.”
It would take eight years. Once a blackened shell, the library has been revived to its former glory with the help of Book Aid International, which has donated over 20,000 books to Mosul University library since 2018.
The United Nations Development programme reopened the refurbished library last week.
Book Aid International chief executive Alison Tweed said: “There are few places in the world which have suffered a more direct attack on learning than Mosul, and we are incredibly proud to have played a small role in restoring the book collection which was destroyed at the University of Mosul library.
“We would like to thank the UK publishers who generously donated these books to us as well as all of our financial supporters who make it possible for us to create access to books where it’s needed most.”
Book Aid International operates in 23 core countries across Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
Dr Sayf Al Ashqar, secretary-general of libraries at The University of Mosul, said: “This is an extraordinary moment in the history of our city. The library’s re-opening is not just important to the students – but to all of us who lived through that terrible time. It is a symbol of new beginning and we would like to thank everyone who made it possible.”
Mosul University professor and founder of the Mosul Book Bridge project Dr Alaa Hamdon added: “Libraries can only thrive when they are full of inspiring, wonderful books – and I join in the university community in thanking Book Aid International for their support.”
Done, mission achieved— Mosul Eye عين الموصل (@MosulEye) February 19, 2022
The library daesh destroyed is officially reconstructed and open with full life.
Life Wins... pic.twitter.com/6jlV5Hz3F5