In late April, the University of Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa, was devastated by a wildfire that sparked on nearby Table Mountain and ultimately destroyed much of the University’s Jagger Reading Room, which held the library’s special collections. Collections in the reading room included numerous artifacts on African history, ephemera, manuscripts, maps, and rare and antiquarian books, many of which were lost to the wildfire.
The University has since launched recovery and salvage efforts, including opportunities for financial donations, messages of support, and other means of assistance. Additionally, the University encourages scholars, researchers, and friends of the Jagger Reading Room to share memories of the library on social media, with the hashtag #JaggerLibraryMemories, to “preserve the memory of the Jagger Library.”
The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) also announced an initiative to assist recovery operations, which calls on researchers with photos or scanned copies of materials from the Jagger Library collections to submit images for the University. Columbia University Libraries joins fellow SPARC members in asking our community to share digitized images if you’ve utilized the Jagger Library collections. Instructions to submit images via Google Form are available here.