The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq
Title: The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq
Author: Jeanette Winter
“In the Koran, the first thing God said to Muhammad was ‘Read.’”
—Alia Muhammad Baker
Alia Muhammad Baker is the librarian of Basra. For fourteen years, her office has been a meeting place for those who love books—until now. Now war has come, and Alia fears the library will be destroyed. She asks government officials for help, but they refuse. So Alia takes matters into her own hands, working secretly with friends to move the thirty-thousand new and ancient books from the library and hide them in their homes. There, the books are stacked in windows and cupboards and even in an old refrigerator. But they are safe until the war moves on—safe with the librarian of Basra.
This moving true story about a real librarian’s brave struggle to save her war-stricken community’s priceless collection of books is a powerful reminder that the love of literature and the passion for knowledge know no boundaries.
Includes an author’s note.
From the New York Times, July 27, 2003.