7 September 2020
IFLA Supports Local and International Efforts to Recover Libraries in Beirut
In the month following the devastating explosion in the Lebanese capital, the international community and the people of Beirut have been actively working to recover the cultural institutions of the city. IFLA is collaborating with both international organisations and local partners to ensure that the libraries of Beirut are included in assessment and recovery efforts.
The Lebanese Library Association has gone above and beyond to take the critical first steps towards recovery of the city’s libraries. From the very beginning, they have been working with Blue Shield Lebanon to gather information, assessing the extent of damage at libraries and archives across the city.
A complete assessment of damage continues to be critical at this time. IFLA Headquarters has made itself available to support the Lebanese Library Association in this assessment, including disseminating information and connecting international experts to assist in the creation of assessment tools. The challenge is great, as damage to structures, equipment, and collections all must be evaluated.
IFLA’s Preservation and Conservation (PAC) Centres, namely those hosted at Qatar National Library and the Library of Congress have both been active in sharing knowledge and providing other means of support. As assessment continues, IFLA stands ready to continue connecting expertise and support from the global library and preservation and conservation communities to aid in library recovery.
IFLA also continues to work in collaboration with our partners at Blue Shield International and at UNESCO to participate in international recovery efforts, and to advocate on behalf of Beirut’s libraries. We are ready to continue this collaboration as recovery frameworks are developed.
Libraries are essential to lifelong learning and participation in cultural life. They are spaces where communities can gather, remember, and heal. The recovery of libraries is vital to the recovery of Beirut, and IFLA will continue our collaboration with both local and international partners in this effort.