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Sabre Foundation
Dialogue of African Partners: Book Programs in the New Century
Presented by Arefaine Tekle, Library and Information Association of Eritrea (LIAE)

Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen,

My name is Arefaine Tekle and I am from Eritrea, which is located in the horn of Africa (East Africa) with the capital city of Asmara. I am working in the Ministry of Education as a high school librarian and coordinator of school and public libraries in the Library and Information Association of Eritrea (LIAE). My qualifications are a diploma in Library Science from Addis Ababa University and first degree in Economics from the University of Asmara.

As you know my country is a newly liberated country. During a ten year period of time, libraries have really improved in relation to the colonial era. However, the development of libraries has been negatively affected by the four year war with Ethiopia. Nowadays, those libraries which are more efficient in their collection are University Library and British Council Library. British Council Library is giving integrated services to the community; i.e. internet and library services. Thanks to the United States Cultural Center in Asmara, who instigated internet service free of charge and has also motivated other private internet cafes to flourish throughout the city, though they charge a reasonable fee to customers.

Two years ago the Library and Information Association of Eritrea (LIAE) was established. This association is a non-political association which consists of librarians, archivists, publishers, etc. Its main aim is to give training to its members and consultations to the libraries, which are located throughout the country.

This Association (LIAE) is working as a partner with the Eritrean Development Foundation (EDF) and through the help of EDF, the Association is on its way to open community libraries in the near future including in areas with displaced people. Furthermore, the Association in collaboration with British Council is giving library training every summer to its members.

On April 28, 2002 (tentative program), the Research and Documentation Center of Eritrea in collaboration with LIAE will open a national book fair in Asmara for the first time. Anyone who can assist, consult, etc. may contact the Research and Documentation Center of Eritrea by emailing rdc@eol.com.er or fax 291-1-122902.

Up until now, the International Book Aid (IBA) is donating books to the libraries of my country through the British Council Library; but now we are also working as a partner with Sabre Foundation. The books donated by Sabre Foundation will soon arrive in Eritrea, according to Mr. Colin McCollough's current information. I am sure these books donated by Sabre Foundation will enrich the collection and content of the libraries of my country. LIAE will make sure that the books donated will reach the needy libraries.

On this occasion, on behalf of LIAE, I would like to thank Mr. Ken Bartels, President of Sabre Foundation; Ms. Tania Vitvitsky, Executive Director of Sabre Foundation; Mr. Colin McCollough, Book Donation Manager of Sabre Foundation; Mrs. Agnes Ewool, Board Chair of Ghana Book Trust; Mr. Tim Nikula, Trainer of Sabre Foundation; Ms. Kimberly Bartlett of Sabre Foundation and other staff members of Sabre Foundation for the donation of books and arranging this timely and indispensable conference.

Thank you for paying attention.