Libraries lost in Conflict

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Hay Festival Online. We were so disappointed that this year’s festival was cancelled but if you haven’t already subscribed, Hay Player allows you to play as much of Hay’s audio and film as you like. For an annual subscription of £10. you can access thousands of audio and film recordings of great writers and artists from Hay Festivals around the world.

Cancelled Hay trip. If you bought a ticket for the library trip to Hay, a refund can be requested by telephoning the number on your ticket. Alternatively, the value of the ticket(s) can be off-set against a future trip.

Hay Festival 2020 Goes Digital. Well, we weren’t there physically but what a treat we had instead. All the events were streamed live so you could see your favourite ones from the comfort of your armchair. The event I have chosen to report to you is “Libraries Lost in Conflict”. The interviewer was John Simpson and the participants Bettany Hughes, Edmund de Waal and Paul Boateng

Libraries lost in Conflict


Libraries Lost.

December 1989 Rumania Central University Library Bucharest 500,000 books destroyed.

August 1992 National University Library Sarajevo Shelled by Bosnian Serb army.

2016 Library of Mosel University by ISIS. 1 million books destroyed. One of the most devastating acts in human history.

What do we lose?

Libraries are easy targets which disrupt a whole community.

Destroying past, present, future.

The loss of a repository for shared memories, emotion, collective experience, hope.

The value of Libraries

Learning, storytelling, encounters – benchmark of a civilised country.

Books are precious – culture, humanity, crucible of ideas, expression of freedom.

People love books, they will walk for 7 hours to have one, trek for hours by camel.

When did libraries begin?

1004 World’s first public library in Cairo.

IRAQ 5,400 years ago Birth of writing, Birth of libraries. Archives, Records, Memories are curated.

Libraries have been around for 5,400 years, let’s raise our voice and make sure we keep them.


This article brought home to me the unseen as well as the seen value of our library in Wenvoe. We will re-open our Community Library when it is safely possible and hope to develop our services, but will be needing the support of our local Community for our fund raising activities if we are to succeed.

Sylvia Harvey, Wenvoe Community Library