Kirkuk, Iraq - The Kirkuk Public Library is receiving a much-needed facelift designed to highlight the building's 72-year heritage while hiding modern amenities, according to the managing partner of the project the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Gulf Region District.

The $453,000 project, funded through the U.S. Army Commander's Emergency Relief Fund, calls for complete renovation of the library's existing electrical system, plumbing, heating plant, installation of an air conditioning system and renovating interior spaces.

"For centuries, Iraq's libraries and universities were renowned for their early collection of reference materials, writers, artists, scientists and poets," said Rizgar Jan, the Kirkuk Resident Office project engineer for the library renovation. "Even today Iraqi writers, artists, scientists and poets are still among the academic leaders in both the Arab world and throughout the middle east. In the past decade, because of the security concerns, the Iraqi educational community and libraries have suffered due to lack of funding."

Jan says that the Kirkuk library suffers from both age and neglect and was also damaged during a terrorist attack. He says that USACE, the local government and the community have joined together to return the building to its former stature as a pillar of the community.

"We envision the new library as an oasis of knowledge, where all the various ethnic groups that make up the Kirkuk region can visit and reinvigorate their love for reading."

Specific renovations to the library include removing the utility poles in front of the main structure and burying the electrical wires to add a more esthetic appeal to the building. All of the old hanging florescent lights throughout the library are being removed and modern flush lighting fixtures are being installed in the ceilings. Interior and exterior renovations include repairing the walls, stripping the countless layers of paint from the windows and doors and repainting the interior with earth-tone colors to match the outdoor color scheme. The exterior stone walls will be acid-washed and repainted. The plans also call for aesthetic steel and solid wood security doors on the entrance and exit points.

The library will also have a modern high speed wireless internet network installed to provide connectivity to the reading room, administrative offices, the research library and the patio.

Even the library grounds will be professionally landscaped to include a gravity-fed irrigation system for the plants on the patio. A modern motion sensor security alarm system is also included in the design plans.

To sustain the library system in Kirkuk, the Provincial Reconstruction Team is working to organize a training program for the librarians in cooperation with the American Library of Congress and the American Library Association.

The Baghdad based Ayon Al-Saba Company is the general contractor for the renovation project. The renovation of the library is scheduled to be completed in the Spring of 2010.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in Iraq has completed thousands of reconstruction projects in partnership with the U.S. government and the government of Iraq. Since 2004, USACE has completed over 5,250 projects throughout Iraq valued at more than $9.2 billion, and has 350 projects ongoing.


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Note: Mike Scheck is a public affairs specialist with the Gulf Region District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Iraq. For more information, contact Mike Scheck at 540.542.1437 or email requests to For more information on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Iraq, visit

The Gulf Region District, headquartered in Baghdad, is a joint effort comprising Civilians, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Contractors. GRD provides quality and sustainable engineering in support of civil/military construction in Iraq. GRD and its Iraqi partners are building a strong foundation for Iraq's future.
BUILDING STRONGA,A(R) is the official slogan of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16