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Visitors of the newly opened American Corner at the library in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, check out the books.
Visitors of the newly opened American Corner at the library in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, check out the books. (Ivana Avramovic / S&S)

TUZLA, Bosnia and Herzegovina — Tuzla residents got an important gift Tuesday when the American Corner opened in the city library after three months of reconstruction.

“Thank you for promising to remodel this part of our library and for keeping that promise,” said Mayor Jasmin Imamovic.

“Wooden beams were here before, an attic, and now this really looks American.”

The crowded corner in the building’s attic was revamped into a modern, 1,700-square-foot library area with more books, videos, magazines, computers and an Internet connection.

A contractor removed the wooden beams and opened up the area, and engineers with the Stabilization Force peacekeepers pitched in to finish the work.

Brig. Gen. Richard Nash, the Multinational Brigade North commander, whose soldiers did the work, said education reform is an important goal for Bosnia.

“Opening of this room is a symbolic step in that direction,” he said.

The Tuzla Canton governor shared the opinion.

“Our future is in the new opportunities. This corner represents new opportunities for young people on the path to a more fortunate Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Bajazit Jasarevic said.

“We are still, unfortunately, not able to support cultural projects and respond to those needs. That is why the means you provided are of great importance because we consider that the university library is the foundation of cultural progress in Tuzla Canton.”

“With this project we open a door to America, a door that after it is opened loses its purpose because we never plan to close it again,” added Enisa Zunic, the library director.

U.S. Army Europe provided $60,000 for the reconstruction, while the U.S. Embassy in Bosnia added $24,000 to stock the area, the second American Corner in the country.

“One of the goals of our embassy is furthering contacts between the institutions and people of Bosnia and America, and this corner is a great step in that direction,” said Clifford Bond, the U.S. ambassador to Bosnia.

“The success of your American Corner will depend exclusively on you,” Bond told the locals gathered for the opening.

“And I invite you to use it and strengthen the bonds between the Tuzla residents and America.”

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