Digitisation of Manuscripts.

In August 2011 The Djenne Manuscript Library received a grant of 40.000.000 Francs CFA from the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) for a project to digitize the manuscripts of Djenné. The project will last two years and hopes to digitize up to 220 000 pages of Djenné’s manuscripts.

The project organizes several public seminars on the different aspects of manuscript preservation:  cataloguing; conservation; calligraphie and also information technology.

The project also intends to manufacture up to 500 anti acid storage boxes on site for the protection of the manuscripts.

The Calligraphy Competition

In 2011 the first of our annual Calligraphy competitions were held. The competition  was open to all, and many of the pupils of Djenné’s ca 50 Koran schools participated with enthusiasm.  The villages surrounding Djenné also sent candidates and the competition was judged a great success.

The Calligraphy Workshop

In April  2012 the library organized a 5 day calligraphy work shop with the well known calligrapher Boubacar Sadek. 23 personnes participated in this popular event.

Djenné used to be a great centre for calligraphy and the Djenné scribes were known for the quality of their inks which were the envy of even the scribes of Timbuktu

It is the Library’s intention to try and stimulate a renaissance in the art of calligraphy, and a workshop concentrating on the traditionnal inks of Djenne is envisaged in the near future.

Conference on the Importance and  Heritage of the Malian Manuscripts. August 2012

During the month of August a five day conference was held by  Abdul Wahid Haidara  et El- Boukhari Ben Essayouti from  l’APROMAT: (Association Pour la Protection des Manuscrits de Tombouctou).

This conference was attended by over 80 people, including manuscript owners and the town councillors of  Djenné.

The goals were the following :

  • To raise awareness in the manuscript owners of the importance of the manuscripts and the urgent need to preserve them.
  • To explain the experience of the Timbuktu manuscript owners in the fields of collection, inventory and exploitation of ancient manuscripts.
  • To give some basic instruction on cataloguing and conservation.

The following subjects were on the programme :

  • The Arabic Manuscripts of Timbuktu  : GENESIS- EVOLUTION-SUBJECT MATTER– PERSPECTIVES By  El- Boukhari Ben Essayouti
  • The  Manuscript Library  of Araouane by  Abdoul Wahid Haïdara
  • Management methods  in  two  manuscript libraries in Timbuktu :
  • The MOHAMED TAHAR library of Timbuktu par Abdoul Wahid Haidara
  • The ESSAYOUTI library of Timbuktu  by  El Boukhari Ben Essayouti
  • Basics of  cataloguing  and digitization  by  El – Boukhari Ben Essayouti
  • A working meeting of synthesis with the management committee of the Djenné Manuscript Library.

The conference was also an opportunity to inform the population of Djenné on the activities carried out at the Djenné Manuscript Library, particularly with regards to the British Library Project.