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Reconstruction of Libraries in KosovoPRESS RELEASE: For immediate release
18 October 2000
The Hague, Netherlands
Initiatives to begin the reconstruction of public libraries in the war-torn province of Kosovo were agreed at a recent meeting in The Hague.
Representatives of key players agreed a plan of action, which would establish a network of mobile libraries throughout the country. 65 library buildings had been destroyed or severely damaged during the recent conflict. Following the recommendations of a recent report on libraries in Kosovo [see note], it was agreed that the quickest and most effective way to serve the needs of people, in the greatest number of communities, would be a mobile library and information service. The Open Society Institute in Kosovo, 'KFOS', has already ordered one vehicle. Two others are expected to be funded by donors, and sources for several more are currently being sought. All vehicles will provide Internet access. The United Nations' civil administration in Kosovo, UNMIK, has agreed to provide security for the service and to ensure its continuation after completion of the initial projects.
Other initiatives agreed were:
Ross Shimmon, Secretary General of IFLA, who chaired the meeting, said: "Libraries are a vital tool for reconstruction and the establishment of democracy. That is why we need to rebuild the library network in Kosovo, where people lack truly basic necessities such as houses, heating, and electricity." He stressed that the meeting was determined that the thought-provoking, yet practical, report Libraries in Kosova/Kosovo should not, like so many others, be left to gather dust on the shelves. "I believe that the key international agencies, working closely with librarians and local communities can help make a difference to people's lives", he said.
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NOTES FOR EDITORS
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