The Contemporary Literature Center in St. Petersburg has launched a campaign to collect books for the Baghdad University Russian Language & Literature Department, whose own collection was partially destroyed by U.S.-led air strikes earlier this year, reports the center's director, Dmitri Karalis.
"Some 300 editions have thus far been submitted to the Center under this humanitarian effort. We expect, however, that as many as several thousand books will have been collected by mid-November, including editions of Russian classics, dictionaries, and manuals," Karalis said.
Several days ago, the Contemporary Literature Center's staff appealed to authors and librarians to contribute to the effort, he reported. "We got a lively response. Thus, for instance, Boris Strugatsky [a renowned Russian science-fiction author] gave us a call to suggest we should pick up from him several dozen books as a donation to the Iraqi library. Also, talks are underway with St. Petersburg-based libraries willing to send editions to Baghdad." The books donated for Baghdad University will first be taken by truck to the Iraqi Embassy in Moscow, to be then sent on to Iraq's capital.
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