Congress theme: “Open access to knowledge - promoting sustainable progress”

Haiti update session

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Book shelves and walls collapsing, computers crashing to the floor - it was a moving film that the delegates at the Haiti update session viewed on Friday. The security cameras at the National Library in Haiti captured the impact that the earthquake had on the library earlier this year.

IFLA's President, Ellen Tise and Ingrid Parent, IFLA's President-elect both visited Haiti six weeks ago and spoke about how impressed they were to see the dedication of the Haitian people in rebuilding destroyed buildings. During the visit, the IFLA President, representing ICBS, co-signed an agreement with the Haitian Government to support restoration and initiatives for temporary library services and improving of professional skills in Haiti.

The director of the National Library of Haiti, Françoise Thybulle and Elisabeth Pierre-Louis, Library Programme Director of FOKAL described the situation and showed pictures which said even more than words. Read more about their work and the challenges they are facing. Dagens nyheter, one of the largest newspapers in Sweden also interviewed Françoise and Elisabeth during the IFLA Congress.

One of the ongoing projects to help Haiti restore the libraries is called Ark and was presented by Danielle Mincio (IFLA) and Christophe Jacob (ICA).  The project’s main objective is to help treat the documents that have been damaged in the earthquake and to teach the Haitians how to do it themselves. Danielle encouraged everyone to join in, by volunteering or by helping to fund in whatever way possible.

The discussion that followed the presentations revealed many other ongoing projects and organizations that are committed to help our Haitian colleagues in different ways, from sending equipment to digitization of documents and internships for Haitian librarians.

Additional information is available on the IFLA website.