Timbuktu Libraries in Exile

Help us preserve a global cultural heritage from imminent loss and become part of the great learning adventure of Timbuktu.
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T160K Libraries in Exile
Community
Seattle
United States
8 Team Members

In 2012, under threat from fundamentalist rebels, a team of archivists, librarians, and couriers evacuated an irreplaceable trove of manuscripts from Timbuktu at great personal risk. The manuscripts have been saved from immediate destruction, but the danger is not over. A massive archival effort is needed to protect this immense global heritage from loss.

THE STORY OF THE MANUSCRIPTS IS NOT OVER! ******************************************

Thank you all our Indiegogo friends. Your efforts are helping to preserve a priceless heritage for the entire world. OUR WORK IS NOT DONE! The danger to the manuscripts is still urgent. To learn more about how we are continuing our efforts and to contribute, visit our web site at http://t160k.org and follow us on Twitter @T160k.

We will continue to keep you informed of how your contributions are helping to preserve the manuscripts. Sorry, we cannot offer Indiegogo perks now that the crowdfunding campaign is over.

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Abdel Kader Haidara has been steward of his family's library since age 17

Though removed from immediate threat, the manuscripts are still jam packed in footlockers used for their evacuation and the current environment of this precious world heritage is significantly more humid than Timbuktu. There are already signs of damage and exposure to moisture.  

The purpose of this campaign is to fund the preservation effort required to store the manuscripts in an archival, moisture-resistant manner during their exile from Timbuktu.  If physical harm from the current packing situation continues and if mold and mildew  spread in the corpus due to increased humidity, the damage will be devastating.

Timbuktu is a traditional center of peace, learning, and scholarship

Timbuktu is a traditional center of peace, learning, and scholarship

By contributing, you are directly funding the archival materials and labor required to save these works. In recognition of your support, we can ensure that your name or a personal dedication will be associated with these works in perpetuity, and we will provide you with a token of your contribution to keep as an enduring memento.

This is a legacy that will continue to enrich our world, with the potential to advance the causes of peace and good governance in Africa and the world for generations.

About the Libraries in Exile Project

Libraries in Exile is sponsored by T160K, an international initiative forged in the evacuation of these treasures from Timbuktu and dedicated to protecting and preserving them until they can be returned to their home. It is the center of a growing global family who have pledged to this urgent effort.

Funds contributed to this project will be used to purchase moisture traps, archival boxes, and the additional footlockers required to safely store these manuscripts, as well as to cover the significant labor effort required to unbox and re-pack the manuscripts for preservation.

Tamasheq craftsmen learning book and paper conservation

How your contribution makes a difference

There are over 300,000 unique manuscripts to be saved. We know this is an immense task, but remember that each $30 contribution means the rescue of another irreplaceable treasure.

The corpus of manuscripts is incredibly varied and beautiful

All supporters will receive a personalized digital certificate symbolizing your participation in this great adventure suitable for high-resolution printing and framing. You will also be listed as a supporter on the T160K web site.

A contribution of $30 pays the materials and labor costs required to preserve a single manuscript wrapped in a protective moisture trap and stored in its own archival box. These are objects of amazing beauty and represent a tangible benefit to all of humankind.  All supporters at $30 and higher will have a personal dedication and a small photo affixed to the box of the manuscripts they helped save, a permanent legacy to your contribution.

In addition, any backer may add to their pledge, in increments of $30, and we will add their dedication to more manuscripts boxes as more are preserved.

Every $30 contributed is another manuscript preserved

Master photographer and long-time student of Timbuktu Joseph Hunwick is donating five beautiful large-size photographic prints of Timbuktu and the manuscripts to our campaign! These are avaialble as perks at the $500 level. The prints are gorgeously printed by the photographer using archival inks and museum-quality paper.

With contribution of $1000 we will send you a collection of high-quality archival 8x10 prints of photos in our collection. You can see several of these photos on this page and in the campaign gallery.

We are able to offer a limited number of original illuminated artworks featuring calligraphy by a Timbuktu craftsman using techniques and materials similar to those used to create the manuscripts. We will discuss your art selection with you. It may be a selection from one of the libraries or something of personal meaning to you.

To preserve an entire footlocker, including the materials and labor, is a commitment that not everybody can bear, but if you have this ability and feel the call to help, your contribution will pay for the full costs and materials to preserve the contents of one of the footlockers evacuated from Timbuktu. Each footlocker contains 300 manuscripts on average. This represents a significant legacy for future culture and scholarship. We thank you. If you are able to support us at this level, we will also  send you a selection of photo prints from our collection and a personal letter of thanks.

We are also able to offer a limited number of Skype conversations, personal conversations, and speaking engagements with Stephanie Diakité who has been personally involved with the preservation and evacuation efforts.

Finally, we can offer an amazing adventure--the opportunity to visit the manuscripts in person in Mali. This entails some risk in the current political situation. We will need to vett you for security purposes and you will be required to sign a waiver and cover your own travel expenses.

And anybody can contribute by spreading the word and telling others about the work we are doing.

The libraries of Timbuktu

The corpus of Timbuktu dates back for generations, with numerous private libraries that have been handed down from generation to generation for over 700 years, creating a record of commerce, poetry, scholarship, law, and everyday life that has undiminished power to teach and inspire today. The libraries include manuscripts form Andalusia and Southern Europe, Arabia, Egypt, the Arab trading ports on the Indian Ocean, and Morocco and other centers of medieval learning, as well as the region of Timbuktu itself. Timbuktu is a traditional crossroads of culture and has played a peacekeeper role in the region. The manuscripts chronicle this role. They represent an astounding diversity of topics and authors, including a significant number of women’s voices.

A book of genealogy

A cultural heritage of this magnitude has incredible power to bring people together. We saw this power when people from all walks of life, whole villages, and speakers of every language in the region gave their time and effort, even under considerable risk, to help us evacuate them to the south. We believe that securing these manuscripts is a positive step towards a process of enduring peace and a reduced toll of human misery for this entire region.

Other Ways You Can Help

Not everyone can give monetarily as much as they would like, but you can still contribute. Please help us support this project by spreading the word about this campaign, sharing it using the Indiegogo sharing tools, and telling others the story of the libraries of Timbuktu. We can also use volunteers to help get the word out about our work. Please visit our web site at http://T160K.org/ if you would like to register to volunteer.

Thank You, Corporate Sponsors

Creekside Digital

Creekside DigitalTop-Quality Scanning of Books, Newspapers & Microfilm 

In the Press

Spiegel Online, Vor Islamisten gerettet, vom Schimmel bedroht

Spiegel Online

The HuffingtonPost, France, Trésor culturel en péril: sauvons les manuscrits de Tombouctou

The Huffington Post France

Christian Science Monitor, 'Libraries in Exile' fights to save priceless manuscripts in Mali

Christian Science Monitor

The Guardian Books, Librarians in Exile Group Launches Appeal to Save Timbuktu Manuscripts

The Guardian

StarAfrica.com, You can Save the Manuscripts, Interview with Abdel Kader Haidara and Stéphanie Diakité

StarAfrica.com Interview

The Next Web, 300,000 ancient manuscripts were saved from rebels in Timbuktu, but now face a slow death by rot

The Next Web

CNN, "Saved from Islamists, Timbuktu's manuscripts face new threat."

CNN

The New Republic, “The Bibliophiles of Timbuktu: How a Team of Sneaky Librarians Duped Al Qaeda and Saved Some of the Ancient World’s Greatest Artifacts.”

The Brazen Bibliophiles of Timbuktu-The New Republic

University of Oregon Video, “Stephanie Diakité – “The Evacuation of the Timbuktu Manuscripts and Their Life in Exile: The Work of T160K

The Evacuation of the Timbuktu Manuscripts-University of Oregon

Frequently Asked Questions

The Indiegogo campaign is over. Can I still contribute?

We are still actively seeking contributions to preserve the manuscripts. Visit our web site at t160k.org to learn more. Unfortunately, we cannot offer Indiegogo perks now that the campaign is over. We are urgently working to fulfill all the requests and ship the much-needed materials to Mali.

Is my contribution tax deductible? By choice our work does not have tax exempt status anywhere except in Mali. This means that we will pay taxes on contributions made outside Mali and that people who kindly contribute to our work from outside Mali cannot claim a tax deduction for their financial contributions.  

How does the illuminated manuscripts giveaway work? For our last week on Indiegogo we’re giving away one of our unclaimed high-level perks to one supporter: an original, customized piece of illuminated art. This art will be created using generational techniques by a Malian craftsman living in exile like the manuscripts. To participate, you must contribute to this campaign at the $30 level or higher and share your dedication or a message of support on a social media site with the #T160K tag. On Facebook, simply like and share our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/T160k) with the #T160K hashtag. If you’re sharing on another network, please email us at contactt160k@gmail.com and let us know where so we can add you to the list. People employed by T160K, campaign volunteers, or individuals working directly with us on this campaign or their families are not eligible to receive this reward. We will select one person at random to receive the reward. ABOUT THE REWARD: you will receive a hand-made piece of illuminated calligraphy on a theme of your choice drawn from the content of the manuscripts themselves. We will work with you to select your theme and a suitable excerpt.

I want to help! We can always use your help! To volunteer your time or expertise, please register through our web site http://T160K.org/

Can I feature your story in my blog or publication? Absolutely! We have a collection of images and information that you can use on our web site. Please feel free to contact us as well if we can help in any way.

Are you available for interviews? There has already been a lot of interest from the press in this project, and we are happy to help out in any way. Send us a message, and we’ll respond to you right away.

What does T160k mean? Early in the evacuation, when there was little help coming from outside Timbuktu, a timely contribution from an unexpected donor enabled us to save the first 160,000 manuscripts. We named our initiative in memory of that event: T for Timbuktu, 160k for the first 160,000 manuscripts.

Are there any plans to digitize these manuscripts? Efforts to digitize the manuscripts have been ongoing, but they have been interrupted by the current violent uprising. The manuscripts are composed of extremely fragile papers and unstable ferrous inks which literally burn when exposed to traditional "hot light" scanning processes. A significant number of manuscripts have already been scanned using cold circuit photography. It’s our dream to provide for the long-term preservation and digitization of these manuscripts once they are out of immediately danger.

Have the manuscripts been removed from Mali? The manuscripts currently reside in Mali, where they have resided for 700 or more years, and we believe they should remain there.  Everything possible will be done to ensure this. 

What proportion of the funds collected is going to preservation and how are they being managed? Funds donated to this campaign will go directly to covering materials and labor costs associated with preservation, minus the amount required to cover required Indiegogo and PayPal fees as well as the fulfillment of the contributor perks described above. We project fulfillment costs to be 10% of the total funds collected or less. We are paying a fixed fee for assistance in fund raising and no part of the funds collected for this campaign are going to the fund raiser. Abdel Kader Haidara and Stephanie Diakité and their respective organizations will be managing the funds to ensure that the preservation effort uses them as effectively as possible and to the highest standards.

Why are you using crowdfunding to fund this need? The need to preserve the manuscripts is urgent. We can’t wait for governments and organizations with deep pockets to respond to this need. It is through the efforts of ordinary people that the manuscripts have been preserved this long, and that they have survived the violence affecting Mali today. Crowdfunding is enabling of participation and we believe this is a key to the sustainable safeguarding of the manuscripts. Organizations that wish to partner with us in this effort should contact us at contactt160k@gmail.com.

Who is T160K? We are dedicated to the protection, preservation and study of the ancient manuscripts of Timbuktu. Our long-term vision is the return of the manuscripts to their home in Timbuktu and to apply the vast knowledge they contain to the peace process in Mali and in other places in Africa. T160K was co-founded by Stephanie Diakité, JC-JD/MBA/Phd and Abdel Kader Haidara.

Stephanie Diakité, JC-JD/MBA/Phd is a jurist and a poverty eradication institutional development specialist working in more than 40 countries in sub-Saharan Africa through her firm, D intl (see http://dintlafrica.com/) and a book artist and book and paper conservation specialist.  

Abdel Kader Haidara is the generational curator of one of the most important libraries of manuscripts in Timbuktu and founder of SAVAMA DCI (see http://www.savamadci.net), an association of private Timbuktu libraries committed to public access.

For more information, visit our web site: http://T160K.org/

Find This Campaign On
$67,446USD
raised by 1,257 people in 1 month
67% funded
0 time left
$100,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on June 20, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $1USD
    Become part of the story

    You will receive a personalized digital certificate honoring your support and be listed on the T160K web site as a supporter.

    127 claimed

    Estimated delivery: July 2013
  • $30USD
    Preserve a manuscript

    A personal dedication of your choice and a small photo will be affixed to the box of the manuscript you've helped to preserve--a permanent record of your contribution. You will also receive the digital certificate and recognition on the web site.

    432 claimed

    Estimated delivery: July 2013
  • $60USD
    Preserve two or more

    A personal dedication of your choice and a small photo will be affixed to the boxes of the two manuscripts you've helped to preserve--a permanent record of your contribution. You will also receive the digital certificate and recognition on the web site. *** For every $30 added, we will preserve an additional manuscript in your name.

    98 claimed

    Estimated delivery: July 2013
  • $100USD
    Become a topic of conversation

    Become a topic of conversation and spread the story with a Libraries in Exile T-shirt created exclusively for this campaign. You will also receive 5 Libraries in Exile buttons to share with your friends. Extra T-shirts may be added by pledging $20 each. In addition, your personal dedication and photo will be affixed to the boxes of two manuscripts you've helped preserve, and you'll receive the digital certificate and recognition on the web site.

    147 claimed

    Estimated delivery: July 2013
  • SOLD OUT

    $500USD
    Joseph Hunwick Print

    You will receive a museum quality photographic print featuring the manuscripts from the personal collection of master-photographer Joseph Hunwick. In addition, your personal dedication and photo will be affixed to the boxes of twelve manuscripts you've helped preserve, and you'll receive the digital certificate and recognition on the web site.

    5 out of 5 claimed

    Estimated delivery: August 2013
  • $1,000USD
    Collection of prints

    You will receive a collection of four high quality archival 8x10 prints of photos from our collection. In addition, your personal dedication and photo will be affixed to the boxes of thirty manuscripts you've helped preserve, and you'll receive the digital certificate and recognition on the web site.

    3 claimed

    Estimated delivery: July 2013
  • $2,500USD
    Half-hour Skype call

    Learn about the manuscripts and their amazing story during a personal half-hour Skype conversation with T160K co-founder Stephanie Diakité, PhD. In addition, your personal dedication and photo will be affixed to the box of 60 manuscripts you've helped preserve, and you'll receive the digital certificate and recognition on the web site.

    0 out of 5 claimed

    Estimated delivery: July 2013
  • $5,000USD
    Original Illuminated Art

    Receive an original piece of illuminated calligraphy executed by a Malian craftsman using traditional materials and techniques. We will consult with you on the subject matter of your piece. In addition, your personal dedication and photo will be affixed to the box of 100 manuscripts you've helped preserve, and you'll receive the digital certificate and recognition on the web site.

    0 out of 5 claimed

    Estimated delivery: July 2013
  • $6,000USD
    Speaking Engagement

    T160K co-founder Stephanie Diakité, PhD, who has been personally involved in the preservation and evacuation effort, will come and address your organization, group, or school, providing a 45 minute presentation with Q and A session to follow. You will pay travel expenses beyond the Seattle, WA area. In addition, your personal dedication and photo will be affixed to the boxes of 150 manuscripts you've helped preserve, and you'll receive the digital certificate and recognition on the web site

    0 out of 5 claimed

    Estimated delivery: July 2013
  • $9,000USD
    Preserve one footlocker

    Thank you for your great commitment to this effort. In recognition of your generous contribution, you will receive a set of six high quality archival 8x10 prints of photos in our collection. Your personal dedication and photo will be affixed to the boxes of the 300 manuscripts you've helped preserve as well as the footlocker itself, plus you'll receive the digital certificate and recognition on the web site.

    0 claimed

    Estimated delivery: July 2013
  • $10,000USD
    An evening of discussion

    Experience an evening of discussion and Malian cuisine with Stephanie Diakité, PhD, at her Seattle home (or elsewhere, if you are willing to pay travel expenses.) In addition, your personal dedication and photo will be affixed to the boxes of 300 manuscripts you've helped preserve, plus you'll receive the digital certificate and recognition on the web site.

    0 out of 5 claimed

    Estimated delivery: July 2013
  • $25,000USD
    Visit the manuscripts in Mali

    Join Stephanie Diakité and Abdel Kader Haidara in Mali for an evening of discussion and traditional Malian cuisine, followed by a personal visit with the manuscripts in exile. Travel to Mali entails significant risks at this time. You will be asked to sign a liability waiver and pay your travel expenses. Also, your personal dedication and photo will be affixed to the boxes of 500 manuscript you've helped preserve, plus you'll receive the digital certificate and recognition on the web site.

    0 out of 1 claimed

    Estimated delivery: July 2013
  • $100,000USD
    Angel contributor

    We cannot adequately thank you for your amazing contribution. If you are able to support at this level, let's discuss how we can best honor your support. Your personal dedication and photo will be affixed to the boxes of the over three thousand manuscript you've helped preserve, plus you'll receive the digital certificate and recognition on the web site.

    0 claimed

    Estimated delivery: July 2013
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