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[InetBib] Konferenz "What do we lose when we lose a library ?" Full programme online

Charles-Henri Nyns
Bibliothécaire en chef

Zur freundlichen Kenntnisnahme.

Charles-Henri Nyns
Bibliothécaire en chef de l'Université catholique de Louvain
Service central des bibliothèques (SCEB)
Grand Place 45, boite L3.01.03
B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve
Tél.  32 (0)10 / 47 82 99
Fax. 32 (0)10 / 47 82 98



International conference on the future challenges for libraries

Save the date: 9 - 10 - 11 September 2015
KU Leuven

From 9 until 11 September 2015, KU Leuven, the Goethe Institut and the British 
Council will organise an international conference on the importance and role 
of libraries as institutes of knowledge, study and communication and the 
digitization of cultural heritage.

The burning or destruction of books – and material heritage – is a symbol of so 
much more. What does a community lose, what does a city or country lose, when a 
library is turned to ashes? Examples come from all times and places. We can 
think for example of the destruction of a library in Alexandria in the far 
past, the demolition of a library of the Jesuits in China, the library fires in 
Leuven in 1914 and in 1940, the destruction of manuscripts in Chartres and 
Warsaw during the Second World War and the ruined libraries in Croatia and 
Sarajevo at the end of the 20th Century. The threat to the library in Timbuktu 
in 2012 and the very recent destruction of books and archives in Mosul, Aleppo 
and Sanaa complete this sad list. The worldwide protection of libraries will 
therefore stay one of the biggest challenges for the conservation and spread of 

There are also some stories of hope, for example, the effective rescue by Abdel 
Kader Haidara, director of Mamma Haidara-library in Timbuktu. When extremist 
militants threatened Timbuktu, hundreds of  thousands of manuscripts were 
smuggled in tin boxes to the Malinese capital Bamako. A few of these unique 
manuscripts are currently being displayed until 13 September 2015 in the 
exhibition ‘Books under fire’ in the library of KU Leuven, as a result of a 
close collaboration between KU Leuven and BOZAR. Not only the manuscripts are 
coming to Leuven, but also the passionate librarian Haidara himself, as he is 
one of the keynote speakers of the conference ‘What do we lose when we lose a 

For three days, more than forty speakers from a range of countries will closely 
look into the historical facts, the methods and strategies on how threatened 
book collections can be protected. What are the traumas from the past? What can 
we learn from these for the future? How can libraries strengthen their 
position? How can they protect their collections? In addition, the conference 
will also explore the digital challenge for libraries.

Keynote speakers of the conference are: Abdel Kader Haidara, Mamma Haidara 
Library, Timbuktu, Mali / Aleida Assmann, University of Konstanz, Germany / 
David McKitterick, Trinity College, Cambridge, United Kingdom/ Ismet Ovcina, 
National and University library of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo / Michael 
F. Suarez S.J., Rare Book School, University of Virginia, United States/ 
Herbert Van de Sompel, Research Library of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, 
United States/ Father Justin, Saint Catherine's Monastery, Sinai, Egypt / Alan 
Kramer, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland / Emmanuelle Danchin, University of  
Paris, IRICE, France.

All speakers are experts in their respective fields.

Guest of honour of the conference is Wolfgang Schivelbusch (1941), the first 
person to publish a detailed study of the destruction of the library of Leuven 
in 1914: Die Bibliothek von Löwen. Eine Episode aus der Zeit der 
Weltkriege(1988). He will attend the conference and speak during the public 
lecture with Jan Philipp Reemtsma, Maecenas, essayist and cultural scientist. 
(Simultaneous interpreting in English)

Practical information
International Conference

Full programme and registration available on the conference website:

Language: English
Subscription (3 days): 280 euro. Discounts are possible. Registration is 
possible up to 31 August.

Public lecture W. Schivelbusch –  J.P. Reemtsma
10 September, 18.00 hours - 19.00 hours.(Promotion Hall, Leuven)
Language: German. (Simultaneous interpreting in English)

Contact KU Leuven Event Office



Listeninformationen unter http://www.inetbib.de.