1,925 Canadian Statistical Methods Books donated to the Library in Alexandria, Egypt

Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Many thanks to all the donors for all these wonderful texts for the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. There were 43 individual donors, a number contributing their own collections as a legacy, plus 6 groups/departments from 15 organizations – primarily statistics departments. There were 73 boxes picked up for shipment at McDougall Scientific (organized by the Library in Alexandria) and four boxes shipped directly from the annual SSC meeting at the University of Manitoba for a total of 77 boxes, or approximately 1,925 books (average of 25 books per box) from Canadian statisticians. The first boxes arrived at McDougall in March from Simon Fraser and the last ones were October 1, 2017 from McMaster – so all this in six months and from sea to sea- Victoria BC to Wolfville NS.  The SSC membership network was pivotal in spreading the word and sending reminders.


The books were picked up from McDougall in Toronto on October 6 and were shipped to Halifax for loading onto the ocean vessel ITEA/7374. They sailed from Halifax on October 17 and arrived in Antwerp, Belgium - which is the second largest seaport in Europe, after Rotterdam. There they were joined by the American donated books, coordinated by Ron Laporte of Pittsburg. The American shipment was 2,402 kg and the Canadian shipment 1231 kg – approximately 2:1 compared to a 10:1 population ratio. The Americans had shipped boxes last year as well – at least twice the amount as this year.

November 05, 2017 the books were loaded at Antwerp onto the ocean vessel MONTE ALEGRE and shipped to Alexandria, Egypt where they were met by the library staff of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina to be processed and put into the collection.  But their journey continues.  There is a recognition that there are many duplicate texts in the collection – usually the most popular teaching texts.  Work is underway, led by Ron Laporte, to investigate how these duplicates can be shared with scholars across the continent. Shipping is very expensive in Africa so options like setting up interlibrary loans and using WHO coordinating offices are being explored. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina already houses a rich repository of digital material in the ‘Research Methods Library of Alexandria’ and would like to continue to add digital texts through networks like the Creative Commons – where the authors get a copyright release for published texts (according to Ron). 

Canadian statisticians have shown how generous they can be in wanting to increase statistical literacy in the emerging countries. SSC is open for suggestions on how we can continue to nurture this concept of sharing our wealth of statistical knowledge internationally.

Monday, January 1, 2018

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