Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How We Can All Help Save a Timbucktu Library

A group of brave librarians are raising money to save a collection of manuscripts (some are 700 years old) rescued from Timbuktu last year. Jason Boog brings the story to light. Here is the remarkable story:

Be sure to see the amazing video at the post's end!
Timbuktu is a traditional center of peace, learning, and scholarshipIn 2012, under threat from fundamentalist rebels, a team of archivists, librarians, and couriers evacuated an irreplaceable trove of manuscripts from Timbuktu at great personal risk. The manuscripts have been saved from immediate destruction, but the danger is not over. A massive archival effort is needed to protect this immense global heritage from loss … Though removed from immediate threat, the manuscripts are still jam packed in footlockers used for their evacuation and the current environment of this precious world heritage is significantly more humid than Timbuktu. There are already signs of damage and exposure to moisture.
Tamasheq craftsmen learning book and paper conservation
Tamasheq craftsmen learning
Book and Paper Conservation
These librarians are struggling to store a set of priceless manuscripts in an “archival, moisture-resistant manner” before they are damaged by moisture. They hope to raise $100,000 on Indiegogo, but it is a flexible funding campaign–so every contribution will help.

The purpose of this campaign is to fund the preservation effort required to store the manuscripts in an archival, moisture-resistant manner during their exile from Timbuktu.  If physical harm from the current packing situation continues and if mold and mildew  spread in the corpus due to increased humidity, the damage will be devastating.

About the Libraries in Exile Project

The corpus of manuscripts is incredibly varied and beautiful
The corpus of Manuscripts
Libraries in Exile is sponsored by T160K, an international initiative forged in the evacuation of these treasures from Timbuktu and dedicated to protecting and preserving them until they can be returned to their home. It is the center of a growing global family who have pledged to this urgent effort.
Funds contributed to this project will be used to purchase moisture traps, archival boxes, and the additional footlockers required to safely store these manuscripts, as well as to cover the significant labor effort required to unbox and re-pack the manuscripts for preservation.
A book of genealogy
A book of genealogy

The libraries of Timbuktu

The corpus of Timbuktu dates back for generations, with numerous private libraries that have been handed down from generation to generation for over 700 years, creating a record of commerce, poetry, scholarship, law, and everyday life that has undiminished power to teach and inspire today. 

The libraries include manuscripts form Andalusia and Southern Europe, Arabia, Egypt, the Arab trading ports on the Indian Ocean, and Morocco and other centers of medieval learning, as well as the region of Timbuktu itself. Timbuktu is a traditional crossroads of culture and has played a peacekeeper role in the region. The manuscripts chronicle this role. They represent an astounding diversity of topics and authors, including a significant number of women’s voices.

Every additional $30 contributed is another manuscript preserved
A cultural heritage of this magnitude has incredible power to bring people together. We saw this power when people from all walks of life, whole villages, and speakers of every language in the region gave their time and effort, even under considerable risk, to help us evacuate them to the south. We believe that securing these manuscripts is a positive step towards a process of enduring peace and a reduced toll of human misery for this entire region.

No comments:

Post a Comment