Correspondent: - Dr. John Evans, South Pacific Centre for Communication & Information in Development, University of Papua New Guinea.
Nearby volcano leaves Rabaul, East New Britain with ash, debris and destruction. This aerial photo taken in September 1994 during the eruptions.
You'll note that the public library building's roof remained intact, unlike that of a neighboring building.
These photos are courtesy of Professor Davies of the Geology Department of the University of Papua New Guinea.
During the May 4-5, 1995 Networking the Pacific Forum, held in Victoria, B.C. (a preconference session of the annual B.C.Libraries Association meeting) John Evans eloquently reminded the 60 participants that much of the developing world is hard pressed to build and maintain basic public library services and has little time to think about public access to Internet services.
He spoke of the destruction Rabaul's library collection. A collection representing over 5 years of pains-taking work by the librarian and surrounding community. It was the loss of a vital resource.
On May 23, 1995 John reports,
...a container of books is on its way from Singapore - donated by UNESCO and sent by International Book Bank. This will be distributed by students from Kabaleo Teachers College. The story is that a new library will go up at Kokopo. Political support will be needed to ensure that (that happens) and the moves to network libraries needs to be stressed.
John has mentioned that there were discussions to relocate the library to an area farther away from the volcano, (it is 4 miles away from Rabaul to Kokopo. This would make it a bit more difficult for the people in and around Rabaul to have access to public library services.
The Third World Libraries Interest Group (TWLIG) of the B.C. Libraries Association, has provided support to the Rabaul situation by writing letters of encouragement to the local and regional politicians in East New Britain area.
On November 18, 1995 TWLIG had a fund raising party, in Vancouver, B.C. to support it's projects, a major one being the library in Rabaul. In addition to the funds raised by the 30 party participants, donations were given by another 10 people and the Canadian Library Association's counterpart to TWLIG.
ONE YEAR AFTER THE ERUPTION.
The next 2 photos were taken on October 22, 1995.
- "The cleanup -- exterior views of the library showing ash-piles and books, also the general aura of desolation of this once pretty downtown area."
- "The building stood up well, but was flooded with ash-laden water."
"The photos show that people have been very busy cleaning up, removing ash from ground level and stacking it on road side. Water-damaged books are lying on the ash bank."
This group photo is where "...the mood is one of optimism, obviously pre-volcano-- in the centre are Benedict Tamaratap (Schools Librarian) and Alice Ritmeta (Public Librarian) at the workroom door of the Library."
- John Evans, is currently Senior Lecturer, at the South Pacific Centre for Communication and Information in Development - SPCenCIID, University of Papua New Guinea. He originally began work in libraries with the Birmingham Public Libraries in Britain. He has spent most of his time in developing countries. In 1985 he moved to Papua New Guinea where he worked first at the Administrative College and then the new South Pacific Centre for Communication and Information in Development. He currently teaches journalists and librarians.
- John has published a book called Planning for Library Development: third world perspectives, published by Dalhousie University (Canada).
- John is also Development Manager with Unisearch PNG Pty Ltd, the University company. Part of that responsibility is the UPNG Press. He states that "Certainly one would like to see more PNG news available electronically and this is inevitable".
SOUTH PACIFIC SUPPORT SERVICES
Members of the B.C. Libraries Association who wish to join TWLIG in its fund raising activities can refer to the fall issue of The Reporter for details.
People wishing to contact John Evans, can do so by sending him electronic mail through this magazine (see bottom of this page) just mention "Rabaul Project" in the SUBJECT section, and we will forward it to John.
Updates to events in Rabaul will be provided regularly on this Magazines Web site.
Thank you for visiting.
John Evans, Papua New Guinea
Neal Chan, Vancouver, B.C.
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