If you haven't come across the story of Mosul's University Library, let me tell you about it.
When I first heard about it at London Book Fair 2019 from Dr Alaa Hamdon (left), one of the lecturers and co-founder of Mosul Book Bridge there was hardly a dry eye in the room. He, as many others, was made a refugee for a number of years after IS took Mosul in 2014 and 'cleansed' the library in 2015. Once housing a collection of rare UNESCO registered books and 100,000 books and manuscripts, these were all destroyed by IS and the library completely gutted. Smaller libraries throughout Mosul also suffered a similar fate. UNESCO called it "one of the most devastating acts of destruction of library collections in human history".
Let me show you some pictures I found to really demonstrate the devastation caused:
The good news is Dr Alaa Hamdon returned late 2017 and there are a number of initiatives to help rebuild the library for those 50,000 returning students and university staff - Mosul Book Bridge and Book Aid International have been working with UK universities to help rebuild the library - find out more and donate to this wonderful cause.