Library looted by ISIS during Iraq rampage reopens with aim to stock it with a million books 

Library looted by ISIS during Iraq rampage reopens with aim to stock it with a million books

  • Mosul University’s library has reopened after its collection was decimated by IS
  • The building was redeveloped with help from the United Nations
  • Militants burned over 10,000 books from the library – 85 per cent of the collection  


A library in Iraq looted and badly burned by Islamic State militants has re-opened.

Fighters burnt at least 10,000 books at Mosul University during the IS takeover of the city in 2014.

In all, around 85 per cent of the library’s collection was lost.

Iraqis gather outside the library of the University of Mosul which was newly-refurbished

Founded in 1921, it had previously been the second richest library in Iraq, after the Central Library in Baghdad.

The refurbished building, which was reopened by the United Nations Development Programme, will initially house 32,000 books with a view to eventually rebuilding a million-strong collection.

The two-storey Library is next to the bustling Student Centre and recently reopened Theatre Hall.

It can seat over 1,000 students at once and has the capacity to house over 100,000 books.

The Library comes with dedicated spaces for studying, meetings, computers, and exhibitions.

Also reopened today was the Ninewa Federal Court of Appeal based in Mosul which holds the court of appeal, personal status court, tort court, investigation court, domestic violence court and first instance court.

The purpose-built facility will house 50 judges, 300 administrative staff and 50 security personnel.

The six courts will have the capacity to handle around 7,500 cases every month.

“The reopening of the Central Library and Ninewa Federal Court of Appeal is an important milestone in the journey to revitalizing this iconic city.

‘Due to the city’s historical importance and devastating destruction under ISIL, UNDP prioritized its stabilization and rebuilding efforts in Mosul.

‘I am proud that today, the number of students at the University has surpassed enrollment rates before ISIL occupation by

over 40 percent. This shows the strength and resilience of the city – one that’s well on its way to recovery after years of conflict,” said UNDP Resident Representative in Iraq, Zena Ali Ahmad.

UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) rehabilitated the Central Library with financial support from the Federal Republic of Germany, provided through KFW.

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