12 January 2010


We know that Timbuktu, whose name has long since become a byword for the middle of nowhere, was once a thriving centre of learning and culture and an important commercial hub in west Africa. What some of us did not know is that many of the centuries-old volumes that made up the city's libraries are still in existence and held in private hands, where they are deteriorating. The Washington Post reports: Interest in ancient books could restore Timbuktu. Here is a similar article: Ancient Books Reveal Timbuktu’s Former Glory, Illustrate Need for Libraries. It staggers the imagination to think what literary treasures might be found in these ancient volumes. Is there any way to scan them and post them online without contributing further to their deterioration? Let us hope so.

1 comment:

Randy said...

An interesting article.

One of my friends, another political scientist, did some of his field work in Mali. He enjoyed the article as well.


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