National Institute for Agronomy in Belgian Congo

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  • Category: libraries
  • Section: Libraries Scientific - Research Stations
Though the research station, with its unique and enormous library collection, was officially closed December 31st, 1962, not everyone left. The station’s librarian, and his small group of volunteer clerks, work every day at the now powerless library, fighting to keep the collection in a state of usability. Unfortunately, without financial or government support, things look grim. Without money, electricity, or water, (and resultantly, a crucial dehumidifier) the mold and the march of time are taking their toll on the many thousands of volumes and pamphlets of unique material covering the span of botanical and agricultural research during the period of the first half of the Twentieth Century.

Yet, even in a country of endless conflict and unending strife, with little outside media attention, these tireless library-workers come to the research station every day, waiting for the day they get funding, or electricity, some kind of helping hand. This is the epitome of pride in ones cultural and intellectual heritage, despite the obvious baggage.

What then, can be done? Grants go unanswered, national stability is a ways off, electricity has been off for years. Librarians Without Borders? Partnering with Google or some other organization with the will and the way? Building a water-powered generator (the station is next to the Congo River)?

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Today (1 August)
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