Repository for local history

Al-Kut’s Heritage Library amasses 40,000 books

AL-KUT, January 28 — The owner of the Heritage Library in Al-Kut has amassed a collection of about 40,000 books and numerous antiques, which contribute to understanding historical events. The library’s success, according to the owner, hinges on security and financial stability, and is bolstered by publications from Baghdad and Najaf.

Owner Farhan Khalaf Jabr told 964media, “I opened the library in the 1990s. It now holds around 40,000 books, stored both in the library and a storage room at my house. The collection includes items from private libraries, Mutanabbi Street, Najaf, and other sources.”

Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad holds significant cultural and historical importance. It’s named after the 10th-century classical Arab poet, Al-Mutanabbi. This street is famous for its many bookshops and outdoor book stalls; it has been a center of Baghdad’s literary and intellectual community for many years.

The library serves a diverse readership, from middle school students to doctoral candidates, offering various scientific titles. The book trade in Al-Kut is flourishing, benefitting from enhanced safety and financial stability — key factors that often lead to a greater appreciation for literature and the arts. This trend is reflective of the broader changes in Iraq, which is gradually recovering from decades of conflict and economic challenges.

Jabr observed that social media, rather than e-books, has significantly impacted their business. Few people are replacing physical books with e-books, but many are now engaged with social media, which offers an abundance of content.

Besides books, the library also houses antiques. Old artifacts, together with books, play a crucial role in the cultural project, each telling the story of civilizations and heritage in its unique way.