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Libraries Lost to the Sahara

Of course we think of libraries as great edifices of permanence–think of the massive near rectangle known as ODY.  However libraries are like books in that they can weather, whither, or burn.  The Library at Alexandria and all that thought entails comes quickly to mind, and in the September 11th version of the Daily Beast Nina Strochlic has a well written essay on the libraries in Chinguetti, in Mauritania.  Libraries tended by families that once were central to “a once-legendary, enlightened city.” However, with Chinguetti largely depopulated and the Sahara Desert enveloping it, these libraries are on the edge of ruin.  Strochlic capturing the sense of possession the people still in Chinguetti feel for their libraries, and the sense of haunting that the image of the libraries in the past makes real.

~ by pdoty on September 11, 2014.

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