How Can We Help Haiti's Libraries
On January 12, 2010, a major earthquake hit Haiti, destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and most infrastructures of the capital, but also a significant portion of this poor country’s cultural and educational structures. For instance, the buildings that house the manuscripts, archives and collections that form the very foundation of Haiti’s vibrant culture have collapsed. Many documents date from as early as the 16th century. Other collections retrace the arc of Haitian history. Manuscripts from the nation’s forefathers illustrate the Haitian Revolution as a struggle for freedom and independence – Haiti became “the first black republic” in 1804. Based on the belief that access to knowledge is a key factor in social and economic development, NGOs such as Libraries Without Borders/Bibliotheques Sans Frontiere, with the support of many partners, are calling for an international effort to save the collections and to rebuild these cultural institutions.
Prof. Patrick Weil is Director of the Center for the Study of Immigration, Integration and Citizenship Policies at the University of Paris, Pantheon-Sorbonne, a Visiting Professor at Yale Law School in 2009, and the co-founder and President of “Bibliotheques Sans Frontiere/Libraries Without Borders”.
Cornell University Library
Haiti; Libraries; Haiti Earthquake; Haiti History; Libraries Without Borders