Professor Ian Taylor passed away in February 2021 at the age of 52. He was an esteemed scholar as well as a friend and mentor to many. Anyone who visited his office at the University of St Andrews could not fail to be impressed by his library of books. These were collected by Ian from across the world during his travels, and represent a unique collection. Following Ian’s untimely passing we were determined to fulfil a promise to transfer his library to Africa; specifically to the Institute of Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) at Addis Ababa University, where he was a visiting professor. Ian would want his books to be used by the next generation of scholars of Africa, in Africa. Our first step was to box up the books and St Andrews University kindly let us retain the books in his office until we were ready to pack them up in December 2021.
In order to make this project a reality, we had to fundraise to cover the costs of this transfer and to ensure that there were funds to pay for the proper curation of the books, so that they can be used by scholars for years to come. In close coordination with our friends at IPSS, we also decided to purchase a library security and cataloguing system to upgrade the library facilities at the IPSS. Through both online and offline donations, we were able to raise our target of £15,000 in just a few months.
On the 22nd July, Ian’s books began their journey to Ethiopia. With the help of volunteers we loaded them into a truck to be taken off to Grangemouth for shipping. Not long afterwards, they were loaded onto a boat and started the first leg of their journey to Ethiopia, sailing up the Firth of Forth and passing by Ian’s grave in St Monans on their way….
In September 2022, the books arrived in Ethiopia. After going through the necessary customs procedures, they were heaved to their final destination, the IPSS where the process of setting up the expanded library has begun.
We wish to thank everyone who helped in anyway – through love and support, financially or through giving your time. We could not have done it without you.
Jo Taylor, Eric Taylor and Tim Zajontz