About the Project
Liberia is emerging from a 14-year long civil war, during which the National Library and all of its content were destroyed. Due to Cornell's longstanding ties with Liberia, specifically through Professor Milton Konvitz's 20 years with the Liberian Law Codification Project and Professor Jane Hammond's work organizing the National Law Library, the Cornell Law Library has an extensive collection of Liberian materials, some of which is unique due to the destruction in Liberia.
With the end of hostilities in Liberia and as the country begins the process of rebuilding, scholarly interest in Liberia's past, present, and future has increased. Recent conferences have ranged from the Liberian Studies Association's conference on "Civic Engagement in Liberia: Strategies for Peace and Sustainable Development" in March 2004 to the United Nations Conference of Donor Nations in February. Thus, current interest in Liberia includes both the academic community and the practitioners who are helping to rebuild the country.
The Law Library has also seen an increase in interest in Liberian materials. The most telling request came from a United Nations official assigned to the Legal Services Section of the Liberian National Police. The official contacted the Law Library for a copy of Liberia's Penal Code, which was codified during the Liberia Codification Project headed by Professor Konvitz, because he was unable to find any legal materials in Liberia.
Thus, there is a great need from both scholars and practitioners for the type of Liberian material in Cornell's collection. Much of collection consists of primary resources collected during the Codification Project and rare manuscripts dealing with Liberia's early history. This material naturally lends itself to interdisciplinary research in areas for which Cornell is known such as African Studies, Political Science, and Law. Digitizing and publicizing these materials not only aids scholars in understanding Liberia's past, it also helps those trying to rebuild the country and highlight Cornell's important historic ties to Liberia.