After the Islamic State took over Mosul, Iraq, in 2014, the militants torched the University of Mosul's library, causing hundreds of thousands of books and manuscripts, including a Koran from the ninth century, to go up in flames.
Iraqi security forces drove ISIS out of the university area in January, and a blogger who documented the occupation, Mosul Eye, immediately went into action. The anonymous blogger, who told BuzzFeed News he graduated from and taught at the University of Mosul, wants to fill the city's libraries back up with books, covering all languages and topics. Volunteers have gone through the rubble of the university library, and they were able to save about 2,000 books, including some rare ones, but international help is needed.
So far, books have been sent from Australia, Europe, and the United States, Mosul Eye said. In Iraq, Baghdad residents purchased books at a market that were donated to Mosul, and during a festival in Mosul this May, to gain entrance, attendees had to bring a book. Mosul Eye said that 10,000 books have been given to Mosul, and he's hoping to hit 200,000 by next year, when he wants the libraries to reopen. More books on medicine, science, and the humanities are needed, and U.S. and U.K. universities have pledged to send some over. Mosul Eye told BuzzFeed News he wants to see Mosul "reconnect" with the rest of the globe. "We will need the world to take the same amount of interest it has after ISIS took over the city," he said. "Don't abandon us now."