Book Donation Programs

The Bosnia & Herzegovina Program
Reduced-Cost Journals Service
Subscription Donations
"Delayed Subscriptions"
Memorial and Special Purchase Programs

Sabre's book donation programs are managed in-country by local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with links to academic, library, charitable or professional institutions. These partners, along with other Sabre collaborators (listed at the back of this report), are responsible for choosing, receiving, warehousing and distributing books in their countries.

Sabre's staff works with the partners to define areas of interest in each country. This information is used to solicit donations of new books, journals and CD-ROMs from U.S. and European publishers, and academic and professional societies, as well as the donation of special collections from universities and individual scholars. Offering lists of available materials are then communicated by Sabre to its partners, mainly by electronic mail, and partners respond with their selections. Only titles and quantities specifically requested are shipped. Orders are packed and shipped in 20- or 40-foot ocean freight containers from Sabre's warehouse facilities at Dunn & Co., Inc., in Clinton, Massachusetts.

Steering Committee member Mike Hornblow (left) with long-time Sabre supporter Dave Dunn at White House reception honoring Sabre book program.

Over 200 publishers so far have participated in the program, donating books in such fields as the arts and literature, business and economics, English language and education, geography and the environment, history, law and government, library science and reference, medicine and nursing, science and technology, and the social sciences. Most of the books are new, unremaindered college- and professional-level titles, but the component of elementary and high-school books has grown, in response to requests from the field and geographic expansion. Many publishers' donations come under a provision of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code (sec. 170(e)(3)) which gives favorable tax treatment to donations of current inventory to charitable organizations serving the needy, the ill, and children. The books are generally in English, the second language of choice in the countries served by Sabre, but Spanish-language materials at all educational levels have been added to the inventory to serve the needs of planned new programs.

Besides new books and journals, Sabre also receives donations of special collections designated for institutions seeking to create specialized libraries or to enhance their holdings in specific areas. In 1996/97, Sabre facilitated special collections donation in 65 different fields, including: American history, Balkan history, business, computer science, environmental studies, feminism and gender studies, heritage and architectural conservation, human rights education, Islamic studies, Judaica, law, medicine, poetry, reference library materials, and Christian theology. (Donors of special collections received during 1996/97 are listed on pages 17 and 18 of this report.)

Sabre continued to receive very substantial book donations from a number of donating publishers. In fact, the number of volumes ordered for the program created a need for additional warehouse space. "Overflow" warehousing was made available at a nominal rent through the good offices of the American Mobile Medical Association (AMMA), with whom Sabre had collaborated in the past on programs in Armenia, Bosnia and Brazil.

The Bosnia & Herzegovina Program

This is how The Indianapolis Star later described it, in an editorial welcoming the 1997 annual meeting of the Association of American University Presses:

"It has been labeled the largest book burning incident in world history. For two days, beginning Aug. 25, 1992, fire raged at the National and University Library in Sarajevo, destroying more than 1 million titles, including a collection of rare books attesting to Bosnia's multiethnic history.

"The scene repeated itself at libraries throughout the region as Bosnian Serb soldiers tried to wipe out all evidence that Orthodox Christians, Catholics, Muslims and Jews had lived together peaceably for centuries. But not even the 3-1/2-year-long ethnic war that killed 200,000 people could eradicate the ideas and memories represented in all the ruined books.

"Thanks to a group of American university librarians and presses, brought together by Sabre Foundation of Cambridge, Mass., thousands of books are on their way to rebuild Bosnian libraries."

The story began with a January 1996 op-ed piece in The Boston Globe by James Carroll, which was read by trustees of the Dusky Foundation, a private philanthropy in Boston. Inspired to help restore the Bosnian library collections, they made a generous grant to Sabre to establish a program dedicated to the memory of William Speer Kuhn III. The new program also benefited from funds provided by the Whitehead Foundation, the U. S. Information Agency, and the U.S. Agency for International Development's Ocean Freight Reimbursement Program. Prof. William A. Hunt of the Solidarity Project at St. Lawrence University provided funds for Sarajevo warehouse facilities.

By October 1996, the first container shipment was on its way: some 10,000 children's books, dictionaries and encyclopedias donated by the publishers McGraw-Hill, Simon & Schuster and World Book. At a White House ceremony on October 21, Hillary Rodham Clinton described Sabre's Bosnia program as "an outstanding example of a public-private initiative."

In the following months, William A. Lindsay, assistant director and chief financial officer of Harvard University Press and now a member of Sabre's Steering Committee, organized a campaign to encourage other university presses to join Harvard and MIT in contributing books to the program. A particular objective was the restocking of the National and University Library in Sarajevo, but other libraries throughout the country also will benefit. An unprece- dented cooperative effort has resulted, with the participation of twenty-one university presses. This success is due in large part to the ongoing effort to enlist new donors by András Riedl- mayer, Aga Khan Program biblio- grapher, and Jeffrey Spurr, cataloguer for Islamic Art, at Harvard's Fine Arts Library. The Online Computer Library Center, Inc. (OCLC) agreed to provide bibliographic data in electronic form to catalogue books donated by university presses.

Dr. Enes Kujundzic, director of the National and University Library in Sarajevo

The project is managed in the field by University of Sarajevo professor Dr. Kemal Bakarsic, head of Sabre's local partner organization and former chief librarian of the state museum in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Discussions have also been held with Dr. Enes Kujundzic, director of the National and University Library, on both short- and long-term prospects for restocking library holdings and reconstruction. Enisa Zunic, director of the National and University Library in Tuzla, also has been consulted.

Reduced-Cost Journals Service

The Reduced-Cost Journals Service, originally developed under a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, provided reduced-cost subscriptions for three years (1995-97) to journals in science, medicine and technology to libraries in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. Bulgaria and Croatia were later added at the request of local partners. In 1996, a second round of new subscriptions for three years (1996-98) was introduced, bringing to nearly 500 the total number of subscriptions purchased at discounts averaging 50 per cent. Roughly half the value of journals ordered through the program is paid by libraries in the countries served, as they move toward market systems. (These figures do not appear on Sabre's revenue statements.)

Two new publishers - Carfax and S. Karger - joined the service, which included Blackwell Scientific, Churchill-Livingston, Elsevier/Pergamon, IOS Press, ISI Publications, Springer-Verlag, VSP International, and John Wiley & Sons. UK-based subscription agency Blackwell's processed the orders at a reduced fee.

Subscription Donations

U.K.-based Blackwell Publishers renewed gratis subscriptions to 36 of its journals for approximately 20 libraries in Eastern Europe, the Baltic countries, and Ukraine. The project provides journals in the humanities and social studies. A new donor, Royal Society of Medicine Press, has provided over 100 subscriptions to the British Medical Bulletin to libraries in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

Beneficiaries of Sabre's book and journal programs in Croatia: (left) Zagreb students receiving mathematics and science textbooks; (right) Mirjana Puharic, librarian at Split Medical Centre II, with book data base

"Delayed Subscriptions"

Sabre also manages a small-scale "Delayed Subscription Service," whereby journal publishers include Sabre on their list of bulk subscribers. The journals arrive at Sabre's Clinton, Massachusetts, warehouse, are sorted by country of destination, and included in containerized shipments which are then distributed by partner organizations overseas. Participating journals include Art Bulletin and Art Journal (College Art Association), Daedalus (American Academy of Arts and Sciences), Literary Review (Fairleigh Dickinson University), and The New England Journal of Medicine (Massachusetts Medical Society).

Memorial and Special Purchase Programs

Increasingly, Sabre has been asked to establish special programs, either by defined subject matter, geographical area, or in memory of an individual. Matching funds have often been made available, as has been the case with donations dedicated to Mykola Bulba, Michael Christian, Gerald E. Davidson, and William Speer Kuhn III.

Sabre Foundation
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