A man retrieving documents from the rubble

A man retrieving documents from the rubble in Haiti

Dear Colleagues

As a result of last year’s devastating earthquake in Haiti, more than 220,000 Haitians were killed and thousands more injured; up to 1.6 million were displaced and settled across 1300 makeshift camps throughout the country.  Some 500,000 have fled Port-au-Prince. 

IFLA is the global voice of the library and information profession.  To this end, IFLA has helped in efforts to distribute emergency relief to libraries and archives–and to the individuals who make them possible–in earthquake struck Haiti.

In 2011 we continue our collaboration with a number of NGOs and Intergovernmental organizations that are aiding in efforts to safeguard the country’s cultural heritage, rebuild its infrastructure, and most importantly reach out to its people.

IFLA is currently working with the Prince Claus Fund (Netherlands) to set up a treatment centre where damaged archive and library materials can be cleaned, preserved, catalogued and if necessary digitized. Co-funding will be sought to have the centre staffed with volunteers and to set up training facilities for Haitian librarians and archivists.

At its meeting in December 2010, the Stichting IFLA Foundation (SIF) decided to sponsor two projects on recovery activities in Haiti:

  1. A limited number of modern mobile libraries would be capable of re-instating a large part of the necessary post-disaster library services. Therefore, SIF will co-finance the first of these mobile libraries. Matching funds are to be raised in a campaign aimed at libraries and library organisations in Nordic and other European countries.

  2. A one week training seminar for emergency treatment of documents (dust, mould, small repairs) following a natural disaster will be organised, following a proposal on behalf of IFLA’s Preservation and Conservation Section.

Members may donate to the Stichting IFLA Foundation at any time.

Summary of efforts

The following is a summary of our activities in 2010 as reported first on IFLA.org.  Click the hyperlinks for complete details.


Damaged and fallen books in La bibliothèque de l’Alliance Française de Jacmel15 January Press release issued in 7 languages regarding IFLA’s support and assistance to Haitian colleagues.  IFLA’s participation with Blue Shield efforts in Haiti also established.

28 January Blue Shield establishes an online platform to invite volunteers from around the world to support recovery, restoration and repair measures necessary to rebuild libraries, archives, museums, monuments and sites.   IFLA Governeing Board member Danielle Mincio volunteers and visits Haiti in an official capacity during the months April and July.

1 February IFLA releases a summary of the current situation, detailing the extent of damage to libraries and archives, the relief initiatives underway, and future steps to be undertaken.

11 – 16 April Danielle Minco, on behalf of IFLA, travels to Haiti as part of an expert group to collect information for the establishment of a rescue center to treat damaged cultural heritage.  Blue Shield issues an online report.

Signing of the Ark agreement 23 June At the invitation of the Haitian Ministry of Culture, IFLA President Ellen Tise and IFLA President-Elect Ingrid Parent visit Haiti.

25 June Announcement of the establishment of the Blue Shield rescue center ‘Ark’ for documents damaged by the devastating earthquake.  IFLA President Ellen Tise co-signs an agreement with the Haitian Government to support restoration and initiatives for temporary library services and improving of professional skills in Haiti.

Dust removal1922 July Blue Shield rescue center ‘Ark’ is established; preservation workshops given to members of the National Library of Haiti (NBH) and Archives of Ministry of Foreign affairs of Haiti (MEA).

13 – 18 August Stichting IFLA provides a grant to sponsor two members from the library community in Haiti, Françoise Thybulle–Director of the National Library of Haïti and Elisabeth Pierre-Louis–Library Programme Director of FOKAL, to attend the World Library & Information Congress in Gothenburg, Sweden.

15 August Haiti Update Session takes place during the IFLA World Library & Information Congress in Gothenburg, Sweden

Haiti Update Session


26 October IFLA helps send two shipping containers of books and library equipment to Haiti.


20 December  The shipping containers of books and library equipment arrive in Haiti.

Some recent assessments of reconstruction efforts

Yours Sincerely

Ellen Tise
IFLA President 2009-2011