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The Iraq National Library and Archive (Arabic: دار الكتب والوثائق العراقـيـة transliterated: Dar al-Kutub wa al-Watha’Iq), is the national library and national archives of Iraq and is in the capital of Iraq, Baghdad. It was founded in 1920 and has been much affected by losses resulting from warfare. Contents 1 History 2 Iraq War 3 Restoration 4 References 5 External links // History The British colonial administration constructed the original Iraq National Library and Archive in Baghdad, Iraq in 1920.[1] It started as one of many capital and social projects, which was intended to create a sense of national identity among the diverse groups of people in the state. An independent army and a nationwide system of public schools were also created under these new projects. Millions of new books were created through a free press system, this in turn caused literacy and education rates to rise significantly. “Much of the new nationalism was directed squarely against the British occupation. In 1930 Britain agreed to guarantee complete independence for Iraq within two years. In 1932 Iraq did indeed receive its independence and was admitted into the League of Nations”.[2] In 1976, during the Ba'ath Party, the INLA was moved and rebuilt in a different location, which is its most recent location. As Saddam Hussein came into power in 1979, the INLA began to weaken. One of the causes came from Hussein directing the country’s money towards the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1989). “Political appointees and Ba’ath loyalists directed the INLA under Saddam Hussein, and a budget freeze in 1980 ended all new material acquisitions for the remaining years of Saddam’s regime”.[3] Through the next two decades, many of the notable institutions of Iraq, including INLA, continued to falter, especially in the wake of the 2003 Iraq war.[4] Iraq War “In April of 2003, the National Library and Archives (Dar al-Kutub wa al-Watha’Iq), which was located directly across from the Ministry of Defense, had been burned and looted”.[5] The burning and looting appeared to have taken place on two occasions: April 10 and April 12-13.[5] These fires were set professionally with accelerants. A report was later given by Saad Eskander, the director–general of the National Library and Archive, regarding the destruction. He noted that three days before the invasion, library staff were told to destroy all archival material related to the Ba’athist rule.[5] Eskander also reported that the destruction was performed by “a mix of poor people looking for a quick profit, along with regime loyalists intent on destroying evidence of atrocities”.[6] Due to an iron door having been locked, most of the damage occurred in the main reading room and lobby of the building.[5] “After the first round of destruction, staff and volunteers associated with a cleric named `Abd al-Mun’im welded the door shut and removed as many books as they could transport to the cleric’s al-Haqq Mosque in Sadr (formerly Saddam) City.” In total, an estimated 60 percent of its total archival materials, 25 percent of its books, newspapers, rare books, and most of its historical photographs and maps were destroyed.[6] Before the destruction, the library and archives were reported to have held 417,000 books, 2,618 periodicals dating from the late Ottoman era to modern times, and a collection of 4,412 rare books and manuscripts.[7] “According to Eskander, Saddam loyalists burned the entirety of the Republican Archive, which contained the records of the Ba'athist regime between the years 1958 and 1979. Also completely destroyed were the Ba'athist court proceedings detailing the charges against and trials of party opponents. Records of Iraq's relations with its neighbors, including Iran, Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, are missing. Iraq has accused neighbouring countries of stealing sections of its national archives.[8] In addition to these documents, which would have been of great interest to Iraqi citizens as well as to historians, the INLA lost records and documents from the Ottoman reign, the British occupation, the monarchical era, and much more. The destruction or loss of these materials, according to Eskander, did not occur only during the April 2003 attacks”.[4] Restoration Saad Eskander, director of the library and archives since 2003, has been keeping a diary through the British Library’s website, with entries starting in November 2006.[9] His entries document the events covering the library and archive’s restoration. By 2007, the center “had already become a safe haven for intellectual activity, fully accessible to the public, with a state-of-the-art computer center”.[9] In addition, there is also a facility for transferring documents to microfilm, a cataloging operation, and a department that locates documents from Iraqi government ministries.[9] Having been a major player in the history of Iraq, the British Library was able to help the reconstruction, by providing microfilm copies of rare books and microfiche copies of documents relating to the administration of Iraq from 1914 to 1921 that were held by the British in India.[9] Despite the fact that five staff members have been killed, along with the library closing for days at a time due to heavy fighting, Eskander says he sees the institution as "an important source of uniting and unifying the country." References ^ Iraq National Library Looted, Burned." American Libraries 34.5 (2003): 26-7 ^ Peretz, Don. The Middle East Today. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1994. ^ Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, "Rebuilding Iraq's Once-Prized Library," National Public Radio, Weekend Edition, Sunday, January 9, 2005. ^ a b Edwards, Julie Biando, and Edwards, Stephan P. Culture and the New Iraq: The Iraq National Library and Archive, "Imagined Community," and the Future of the Iraqi Nation. Libraries & the Cultural Record; 2008, Vol. 43 Issue 3, p327-342, 16p. ^ a b c d Al-Tikriti, Nabil. "Stuff Happens: a brief overview of the 2003 destruction of Iraqi manuscript collections, archives, and libraries", in: Library Trends, v. 55 no. 3 (Winter 2007) ^ a b Eskander, Saad. "The Tale of Iraq's 'Cemetery of Books' " (cover story), in: Information Today; Dec 2004, Vol. 21, issue 11, p. 1-54; 5 pl, 1 color ^ Albanese, Andrew & Rogers, Michael. "Iraq Libraries Devastated in War", in: Library Journal (1976), volume 128, no 9, p. 18, accessed May 15, 2003. ^ Iraq accuses neighbours of stealing archives. AFP. October 18, 2009. ^ a b c d Kniffel, Leonard. "National Library Copes as Iraq War Presses on." American Libraries, 38.5 (2007): 17 External links Official site Saad Eskander's Iraq diary Rebuilding Iraq's Once-Prized Library by Lourdes Garcia-Navarro Iraq National Library fire v • d • e Arab national libraries Algeria - Egypt - Iraq - Kuwait - Libya - Saudi Arabia - Syria - Tunisia