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About meChicago Public School Teacher
Principal and teacher of ICC weekend school (mektab)
Librarian of the ICC

About my libraryThe Libraries at the Halsted Street Mosque and at the ICC
By Muhammed al-Ahari

The first mosque organized by Bosnians in Chicago was located in a three-story building on Halsted Street, near North Avenue in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Situated on the lower level of the building were a social hall and a small café, while the first floor remained a restaurant under rent. The second floor was rented to Bosnians, and the third floor became a mosque with an office.
The mosque itself was divided into two parts by a railing. The lower level served as the mekteb, or social hall. Next to the mekteb were two rooms – one served as an office and the other as a library.
The library housed 200 books and periodicals and was organized and maintained by Seid ef. Karić. Although the books were not lent out, the library was used as a reading room. Karić donated most of the books and periodicals. He served as librarian until he moved to Bloomington, Indiana and received a degree in library sciences from Indiana University. He was not the only librarian in the community. Imam Ćamil Avdić and Husein ef. Viteškić also worked as professional librarians. Avdić received his degree in library science from Rosary College (now Dominican University) and later worked at the John Crearer Medical Library, Northwestern University, and the Winnetka Public Library. Hussein ef. Vrteskić worked as a foreign language cataloguer of German, Slavic, and Arabic languages in the Chicago Cultural Center of the Chicago Public Library.
The library at ICC now houses most of the Halsted Street collection. Other valuable assets include Glasnik IVZ, a nearly complete bound set from 1930s to 1970s; issues of Glasnik, bulletin of the Muslim Cultural Home; selected books from Smail Balić; the manuscript for Ćamil Avdić’s Survey of Islamic Doctrines; several volumes of Hrvatska Encyclopedia; Arabic books Ćamil Avdić used from his Survey of Islamic Doctrines; an Arabic edition of Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum ud-Deen and Ibn Khaldun’s Muqadimah; and pamphlets on Islam printed under both Nazi and Communist control of Bosnia.
With proper management and preservation, the library and the museum at ICC will help preserve Bosnian and Islamic identity in America. Efforts are in order to update the catalog and make an inventory of holdings. Periodicals will be placed into bound sets, and an online site for the museum and library are being planned.

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Real nameMuhammed al-Ahari

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Member sinceSep 9, 2012

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