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Writers Against Racism: Haiti Reads Library

When I think of the enormous amount history that was also lost in Haiti’s earthquake, two weeks ago today, I cringe.  Just watch this video! Jeanette Attisso at the Haiti Reads Library

I will state honestly that this blog post is in no way pieced together. It’s not even an attempt to try to make sense of the enormous loss of information Haiti has endured. It is, however, an attempt at baby steps in a direction for rebuilding. That said, and as we say in news, we must begin with what we know so far.

Here’s what percolating around the web:

~~Lori Thornton over at the Smoky Mountain Family Historian blog posted about Haiti’s Libraries and what still stands and sadly, what does not. "The earthquake will rewrite the chapter on doing Haitian genealogical research for generations to come. Let’s hope that someone comes up with the funding to digitally preserve what remains of records of interest to future generations of genealogists."

~~Michel-Adrien Sheppard, over at the Library Boy blog also posted about the state of  libraries in Haiti, in a post: News About Haiti from International Federation of Library Associations

~~Libraries In The News blog states: "One report indicates the library of the American University of the Caribbean on the Les Cayes campus has collapsed…."

~~From The NYT article: Cultural Riches Turn to Rubble in Haiti Quake

"Patrick Vilaire, a sculptor, met on Thursday night with others concerned about saving some of the country’s legacy from looters or further building collapses. They put at the top of their agenda preserving the book collections at two private homes, a cache of irreplaceable history, political and economic texts from the 19th and 20th centuries.

Asked how he could focus on old books after such a catastrophic event, Mr. Vilaire said, “The dead are dead, we know that. But if you don’t have the memory of the past, the rest of us can’t continue living.”

~~Here’s an interview I found with a professor who spent over two decades collecting The World’s Largest Private Collection of Rare Books on Haiti, and he’s now selling over 2600 books and 5000 periodicals. 

I doubt we will ever know the number of books, magazines, resources, etc., that were lost, but maybe there are more people out there, like the professor, who could help to piece Haiti’s history back together. Like a puzzle, all they will never get everything back, but EVERY PIECE COUNTS.

Haiti Reads
P.O. Box 607654
Chicago, Illinois 60660
Phone: 773-616-0043

 Please drop off or ship all in-kind donations to:

Jeanette Attisso
c/o DANK German Language School 
4740 N. Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60625