Technology-Based Collaboration to Aid Iraqi Libraries
Responding to the devastating effects of war on Iraqi libraries, the Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science and the Harvard University library system are collaborating to provide training for Iraqi librarians and archivists. The program will aid in modernizing Iraqi libraries and help to address Iraq’s serious shortage of professional librarians.
“For years, resources were withheld from cultural institutions in Iraq and the recent war has resulted in widespread destruction. Librarians were cut off from technological and professional development. The United States has some of the best library and information science programs in the world, and we’re pleased to be able to bring our training to the Iraqis. So much has changed in library and information science since the Iran/Iraq war two decades ago. The Internet wasn’t even in use,” said Dr. Michele Cloonan, dean of the Simmons GSLIS.
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded Simmons and Harvard $100,000 for the two-year project. The grant is part of the NEH program “Recovering Iraq’s Past,” which funds projects to help rebuild Iraq’s cultural heritage. The program will begin in May, when a team of Simmons faculty and Harvard librarians meet with Iraqi librarians in Amman and Jordan for a curriculum planning retreat.
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