Press Release

Contact: Tania Vitvitsky, Marta Baziuk (617) 868-3510

September 1996



[Cambridge, Mass.] The Harvard University Library and the Harvard University Press are taking a leading role in a new Sabre Foundation program to assist Bosnian libraries devastated by the war. The first Sabre shipment to Bosnia containing approximately 10,000 books is scheduled for late September.

Harvard University Press will contribute two copies of all titles on its list, and the various university libraries will make selected donations of duplicate books to help replace materials lost when the National and University Library in Sarajevo and other Bosnian libraries were destroyed in the fighting in 1992-95.

Sabre Foundation is the largest donor of English-language materials in the former Eastern bloc, having distributed nearly three million books valued at more than $60 million in fifteen countries of the region in the period 1986-96. It is distinctive in book donation work in emphasizing new books in current editions and in using the Internet to allow recipients to select titles and quantities prior to donation. More than 200 US and European publishers have donated materials for distribution through Sabre. The first shipment to Bosnia is funded in part by the Dusky Foundation of Boston, the Whitehead Foundation of New York, and the United States Information Agency.

Andras Riedlmayer, Aga Khan Program bibliographer, and Jeff Spurr, Cataloguer for Islamic Art at Harvard's Fine Arts Library, will coordinate the Harvard effort and work with Sabre in enlisting participation by other universities and university libraries. Current participants include Boston College, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, St. Mary's College of Maryland, the University of Chicago, and the University of Michigan.

Coordinating the program for Sabre Foundation is Project Director Tania Vitvitsky, who recently returned from planning visits to Sarajevo and the divided city of Mostar. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, the coordinator will be Dr. Kemal Bakarsic, Assistant Professor of Bibliography in the Department of Librarianship at the University of Sarajevo. From 1986 to 1993 he was Chief Librarian of the State Museum of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Currently, he is serving as Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of the Government of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Sabre and Dr. Bakarsic are working to establish a partner organization in Sarajevo ‹ Sabre Bosna i Hercegovina. St. Lawrence Universityıs "Solidarity Project for Sarajevo," led by Prof. William A. Hunt, has raised funds for the rental of facilities, including a book display room, office and warehouse at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Sarajevo. Students from the University's Department of Librarianship will manage the book selection, distribution, and evaluation process as part of their in-service training.

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