Libraries are especially impacted during times of national and international conflict. In fact, cultural heritage institutions are often targeted for destruction to undermine the national and cultural identities of those under attack. While the theft of cultural artefacts as spoils of war were historically, under the correct circumstances, in accordance with international law in the early modern period, such practices have been strongly condemned in the modern period. Nevertheless, the international community continues to witness the plunder and destruction of libraries and museums during modern armed conflicts.

Libraries in the Time of War, hosted by Uppsala University Library, will address these issues directly. The daylong, hybrid symposium will host an internal assemblage of nine speakers from different continents sharing their personal experiences on the topic of libraries during wartime. Topics will include:

  • The history and legacy of libraries during wartime
  • Curatorial efforts to save collections from plunder and destruction
  • The legacy of conflict, including institutional ownership of stolen or looted cultural heritage
  • Legal complications regarding the restitution of cultural heritage

Libraries in the Time of War is free and open to the public. However, registration is required and space is limited. For those not able to join in-person or virtually, the event will be recorded and posted online.

The symposium is arranged and supported by Uppsala University Library in collaboration with IFLA (International Federation for Library Associations) and CERL (Consortium for European Research Libraries).

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