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Levan Berdzenishvili, the director of the National Library of Georgia works wrapped in a heavy sweater and tries to stay warm with a cup of instant coffee. His library in Tbilisi has no heat and no phones.
Like the country of Georgia, the library has suffered as a result of seventy years of neglect under Communist rule. Despite the fact that he hasn't received a salary in over two months, Berdzenishvili continues to pay the electric bill so that patrons can continue to read. "A library can operate without heat or phones, but no one can read in the dark". Here's the story from the Baltimore Sun
Boston.com reports on an NEH grant for $100,000 received by teams of librarians from Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) and Harvard University to help recruit and train Iraqis as librarians over the next two years.
As their country recovers from the devastations of two wars, Iraqi librarians will need to learn the basics of new technologies and methods of research developed over the past two decades. In addition to taking library and archival courses, the Iraqis will work with Simmons and Harvard library specialists on special projects that the Iraqis identify as most needed to rebuild their contemporary and historic collections and to modernize their library systems.
Simmons conducted similar programs in the past in war-torn countries such as Vietnam and Bosnia with phenomenal success.
The Friends of the UNTL Library are a group, based in Canberra Australia, that raise money and resources for the rebuilding of The National University of East Timor Library. The library was destroyed (as was most other infrastructure) during the Independence Referendum in 1999. The rebuilding of the library began in 2000 and has been conducted in stages. Although the project has existed since 2000, the web site was only launched in November 2003 and includes information about the status of the project, the resources needed and experiences of librarians who have travelled to Dili to participate in the rebuilding efforts.
The project is currently focused on collecting office equipment and textbooks (they are still missing vital resources and do not yet have internet access) and is holding a benefit for the Library on the 11th of March.
According to CBCSaskatchewan.com,"Garnet Garvan, the chair of the task force charged with hearing public input, is impressed that young people are coming forward with a variety of suggestions."
What a great idea - talk to the kids!
Related story on the public debate of the library closures here.
"Regional accents are back in fashion and spoken with pride," according to ManagingInformation.Com
"Northern England's rich assortment of accents and dialects are featured on a new website from the British Library. Visitors to the site can listen to the incredible variety of spoken English in the north, and hear the sounds and words which define the people from the area. The site is nobbut a mouse-click away at www.collectbritain.co.uk/collections/dialects/."
Pakistan Modernizes Education With "Digital Libraries"
ISLAMABAD, Feb 10: American Center will establish 185 mini digital libraries called â€œAmerican Discovery Centersâ€? in Pakistan for 5 to 13 year old young students
Today's Singapore News has a story about the closing of the old National Library Building.
Mr Tang Chung Zu, 89, has been a member of this library since it opened in 1960 and he is wistful about its impending demolition. "I feel sad it's a beautiful building, it's historical, and now it's going to be demolished I feel very sad."
In 1998, Microsoft executive John Wood trekked to Nepal, intending merely to slip on his backpack and get close to real life for a few weeks. After visiting a village library whose collection of no more than 20 books was considered too precious to circulate, Wood was inspired to quit Microsoft and start up the philanthropic organization Room-To-Read. Room-To-Read provides "challenge grants" to communities in India, Nepal, Vietnam and Cambodia for the construction of school libraries (and in some cases the schools themselves), and for the books to go in them. Because the people in these communities must raise at least 50 percent of project funds themselves, schools and their libraries have a greater chance of continued success. Wood's hometown paper, The Evening Times in Sayre, PA, has a nice profile of him and the organization.