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Fwd: Library Rescue

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From: Arctos@worldnet.att.net
To: WORLD SYSTEMS NETWORK <wsn@csf.colorado.edu>
Subject: Library Rescue
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I am writing to let you know about an emergency situation that I believe 
will be of interest and concern to the members of this list.  Thank you 
in advance for taking the time to read this letter.

My name is Noga Weinstein, and I have studied and worked at the Central 
American Institute of Prehistoric and Traditional Cultures at Belize for 
over a year.  The Institute is a non-profit research and educational 
institution, established in 1991 and granted full recognition by the 
Minister of Education, Government of Belize (Education Act of 1991, 
Section 38).  The Institute's mission is to preserve indigenous cultures 
through the preservation of traditional knowledge, and my time at the 
Institute has given me the opportunity
to become involved first-hand with the important research that the 
Institute has been conducting in anthropology, ethnobotany, and 
traditional healing techniques. (For more information about the 
Institute, please, take a look at our website: 
http://world.std.com/~chacmol/ .)

The Institute has the largest research and educational library in 
Belize, consisting of rare and out-of-print books, field notes, 
medicinal plant specimens, artifacts, slides and photographs of 
indigenous groups that have already disappeared -- an invaluable and 
irreplaceable resource.  The recent series of rain storms and hurricanes 
have damaged the facility that houses the library and archives, and 
moisture and worms have penetrated the building.  The
collection is facing imminent destruction, and we are urgently trying to 
raise the funds to rescue it.

If you would like to help with this emergency situation, please, read 
the letter from the Director of the Institute, below, and you will find 
more information about the library rescue operation.  If you have any 
further questions, e-mail me at Arctos@worldnet.att.net, or call (818) 
344-8516.  I would be glad to send you more information about the 
Institute and the library emergency situation, and answer any questions 
you may have.

Thank you in advance for any help you can offer.


Noga Weinstein


Dear Colleague,

The Central American Institute of Prehistoric and Traditional Cultures 
at Belize urgently needs your assistance.  The Institute has the largest 
research and educational library in Belize, consisting of irreplaceable 
books, photographs, artifacts, field notes, and other archival 
materials.  The recent rain storms and hurricanes have damaged the 
library and archival storage.  Algae, microflora, worms, and the dense 
tropical moisture have penetrated our building and are rapidly 
destroying the collection.  This is a loss that the people of Belize 
cannot afford.  Several of our staff members have returned to the United 
States to appeal for help in rescuing this irreplaceable resource.  We 
have initiated a Library Rescue Operation to raise emergency funds, and 
urgently need your support.

The Central American Institute was established under a registry charter 
in 1991, and granted full recognition by the Ministry of Education of 
the Government of Belize, in accordance with the Education Act of 1991, 
Section 38. The Institute is a non-profit research and educational 
institution, established for the purposes of promoting the preservation 
of ancient and traditional worldviews and materials, and to act as a 
center for the dissemination of knowledge and interest in the study of 
such cultures.  The Institute aims at
preserving indigenous cultures through the preservation of traditional
knowledge.  Now, this traditional knowledge is about to be destroyed.

The Institute's library and archives contain documentation of indigenous 
groups that have already disappeared.  If these field notes, slides, 
photographs, and artifacts are destroyed, there will be no way to 
replace them.  The collection also consists of plant specimens and 
ethnobotanical fieldwork, documenting and
exploring the medicinal value of rain forest flora.  The destruction of 
this collection would be a great loss to all who value our planet's 
biodiversity, and seek new medical solutions to today's health problems.  
Further, the Institute's collection consists of rare and out-of-print 
books, providing an extremely valuable resource to ethnologists, 
botanists, scientists, and students alike.  The Institute's collection 
contains priceless research and documentation about the Maya, Creole, 
and Garifuna populations of Belize and the neighboring regions.  The 
collection, however, is not limited to Central America, but contains 
information from around the world: from South America, to the Middle 
East, to Siberia.  Once this material is lost, this cultural and 
educational resource will be gone forever.

The rescue will be carried out in three phases, as follows:
Phase I:  Salvage: Remove and Store.
         The collection needs to be dried, repacked, and shipped to a 
safe, temporary storage facility until we can rehabilitate a facility 
for the collection. This will require movers, customs fees, transport 
fees, and storage fees, totaling $60,000.
Phase II: Restoration and Conservation.
           Professional restoration and preservation of the collection: 
books, field notes, plant specimens, photographs, slides, audio and 
video recordings, computer disk repairs.  Total: $25,000 (contingent on 
rescue time).
Phase III: Provide a safe facility for the collection.
             Construct safe housing for the library and archives, so 
that it can be brought back into circulation.  Total: $55,000.

Emergency Fund Goal: US $140,000.

Time is of the essence.  We need $60,000 now to halt the destruction, 
$25,000 to restore the collection, and $55,000 to bring it out of 
storage and back into circulation.  We are appealing to foundations, 
corporations, research societies, institutes, individuals, and 
television and radio announcements to raise these funds.  We need your 
help to disseminate this appeal to other parties within your
own, as well as other related organizations and memberships, in the 
hopes of consolidating our efforts to rescue the Institute's research 
and cultural resources.

We can provide documentation of our non-profit and educational status, 
and a detailed break-down of the allocation of funds.  Further 
information about the Institute can be obtained on our Website at 
http://world.std.com/~chacmol/ .
The Institute is also listed in Issue 4 of the People and Plants 
Handbook, published by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), UNESCO, and 
Royal Botanic Gardens-Kew.

In these times of modernization, Westernization, and technology, 
traditional life is being displaced and destroyed irrevocably.  It is 
imperative that we preserve cultural and natural resources, traditional 
epistemologies, and biodiversity.  We appeal to you to support the 
Central American Institute in its drive to preserve these resources for 
the benefit of the developing country of Belize, as well as the global 

We all thank you for your support.


Dr. Michael Naxon

Emergency Fund
Central American Institute at Belize
8033 Sunset Blvd.
Suite 2040
Los Angeles, CA  90046
818-344-8516 (Emergency Fund line)
Checks can be made payable to: Central American Institute.
Your contribution will be formally recognized by the Institute, as well 
as on our homepage.

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