In Khartoum, Sudan, thousands of protestors were gathered at the army headquarters to call for President Omar al-Bashir to step down. The protestors wanted Bashir to resign due to many economic issues that were affecting the city including rising costs of living.
Abdirahman Moalim, a librarian at the Modern Kano library in Khartoum, joined in these protests but also wanted to do more than just wait for something to happen. Moalim began to bring books that he thought the protestors would want to read including books on politics and power. He did see that many books about revolutions and conflicts were hard to find and believed that the government intentionally confiscated those books from the country. However, this did not stop Moalim from finding what he could and providing it to this fellow protestors.
Moalim created an open-air library right outside the gates of the army headquarters. It had no shelves or tables for books to be placed on as the books were spread in straight lines on the ground. Many of the protestors would read books while standing, walking, or sitting near the gate. The books helped to past the time as well as provide insightful information to the readers.
The open-air library became very popular and even started to appear in social media as people would share photos of books that they were reading during the protest. People would come to buy specific books that they had been desperately searching for. With this rise in popularity, Moalim has had to change the books on display every day as well as hire two friends to help him, but it doesn’t feel like work. For Moalim, the open-air library is about raising awareness through books and helping people get access to information that they are having difficulty finding.
Zane Castillo, INFO 653-02