Information about Alexandria Library (Bibliotheca Alexandrina)

Alexandria Library (Bibliotheca Alexandrina) is dedicated to recapture the spirit of openness and scholarship of the original Bibliotheca Alexandrina. It is much more than a library. It contains:
• A Library that can hold millions of books.
• An Internet Archive
• Six specialized libraries for:
1. Arts, multimedia and audio-visual materials 2. The visually impaired
3. children
4. The young
5. Micro-forms
6. Rare books and special collections

• Four Museums for:
1. Antiquities
2. Manuscripts
3. Sadat
4. The History of Science

• A Planetarium
• An Exploratory for children’s exposure to science (ALEX ploratorium)
• Culturama: a cultural panorama over nine screens, the first ever patented 9-projector interactive system. Winner of many awards, the Culturama, developed by CULTNAT, allows the presentation of a wealth of data layers. It is where the presenter can click on an item and go to a new level of detail. It is a remarkably informative and attractive multi-media presentation of Egypt’s heritage across 5000 years of history to these modern times, with highlights and examples of Ancient Egyptian and Coptic/Muslim heritage.

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• VISTA (The Virtual Immersive Science and Technology Applications system) is an interactive Virtual Reality environment, allowing researchers to transform two-dimensional data sets into 3-D simulations, and to step inside them. A practical tool of visualization during research, VISTA helps researchers to simulate the behavior of natural or human-engineered systems, instead of merely observing a system or building a physical model.
• Eight academic research centers:
1. Alexandria and Mediterranean Research Center (Alex-Med)
2. Arts Center
3. Calligraphy Center
4. Center for Special Studies and Programs (CSSP)
5. International School of Information Studies (ISIS)
6. Manuscript Center, 7. Center for the Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage (CultNat, located in Cairo)
8. Alexandria Center for Hellenistic Studies.

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• Fifteen permanent exhibitions covering: 1. Impressions of Alexandria: The Awad Collection
2. The World of Shadi Abdel Salam
3. Arabic Calligraphy
4. The History of Printing
5. Arab-Muslim Medieval Instruments of Astronomy and Science (Star Riders) and the Permanent Exhibitions of Selections of Contemporary Egyptian Art:
6. The Artist’s Book
7. Mohie El Din Hussein: A Creative Journey
8. Abdel Salam Eid
9. The Raaya El-Nimr and Abdel-Ghani Abou El-Enein Collection Arab Folk Art
10. Seif and Adham Wanly: Motion and Art
11. Selected Artworks of Adam Henin
12. Selected Artworks of Ahmed Abdel-Wahab
13. Selected Artworks of Hamed Saeed
14. Selected Artworks of Hassan Soliman
15. Sculpture

• Four art galleries for temporary exhibitions
• A Conference Center for thousands of persons
• A Dialogue Forum which provides opportunities for the meeting of thinkers, authors and writers to discuss various salient issues affecting modern societies. The Arab Reform Forum was the product of the first Arab Reform Conference organized in 2004.

Alexandria Library Institutions:

The New Library of Alexandria also hosts a number of institutions. The number is growing and Alexandria Library is becoming the nerve center of many international and regional networks.

Alexandria Library Main Library:

The BA Library is a learning space that offers information in all its formats. It is through its collections of books, periodicals, maps, manuscripts, multimedia, and electronic resources, and most importantly, customized services to its users: students, researchers, general public and disabled persons. Alexandria Library is composed of the Main Library, considered the largest reading room of the world, and a number of specialized libraries:
The Children’s Library, the Young People’s Library and the Taha Hussein Library for the Blind and Visually Impaired serve the specific needs of their users.

The special collections of the library include the Arts & Multimedia Library, the Manuscript Reading Room, the Microfilm Reading Room, the Rare Books & Special Collections Reading Room, the Nobel Section, and the Shadi Abdel Salam Collection. More information about the various library services is available on:

Alexandria Library Taha Hussein Library:

“Education is like the water we drink and the air we breathe” Taha Hussein.
The Taha Hussein Library (TH) offers a new approach in library services for the blind and visually impaired. Equipped with special software, the Library applies the latest technology that makes it possible for its users to read books and journals, and access all the resources of the library as well as selected web resources. In this way they are enabled to gain more independence. One of the main goals of the TH library is to offer equal access to all users regardless to their disability. The TH is located at the Entrance Level to facilitate physical access for its visitors.

More information is available on:

Alexandria Library Children’s Library:

The Children’s Library (CH) provides educational, recreational and cultural resources for children aged 6 to 11. It contains a large collection of picture books, story books, nonfictional books and multimedia materials. The material is available in several languages and covers a wide range of subjects from arts to zoology. In addition to the reading area, the CH encompasses a computer lab, an activities room, a storytelling and puppet-show corner, and a multimedia corner.

A special section is dedicated to children with different types of disabilities. Several activities are offered by the CH staff on a daily basis, such as storytelling, puppet show performances and arts and crafts groups. Children’s authors are often invited to read to the children. The main objective of the CH is to develop the children’s reading, research and creativity skills through the different programs and activities.


Alexandria Library Young People’s Library:

The Young People’s Library (YP) opens up a vast world of knowledge, entertainment and culture for young people aged 12 to 16. The YP introduces its visitors to modern information technology, develops their reading and research skills and encourages social interaction. The YP librarians ensure the availability of material that would assist students in preparing research assignments related to their school curricula. The collection of books in the YP area covers the same topics as in the Main Library but specially tailored to suit young people’s requirements. The YP Library offers access to different periodicals, multimedia and e-resources, as well as to a number of databases covering a variety of subjects.

The Young People’s Library participated in the Future Programmers Competition, conducted and organized by the Information Technology Institute at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, and received four prizes as follows: the 4th prize for creating a website on Astronomy, the 2nd prize for creating a film using Adobe Premiere, and the 4th prize for creating and designing a website on cities of the world in 2005, and the 1st prize in 2006. Members of the Young People’s Library participated in the Young Digital Creators” (YDC) program of UNESCO’s portal Digi Arts three times and were the winners of the UNESCO Digital Arts Award 2005, 2006 and 2007.

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The Young People’s Library also participated in the “International Schools’ Cyber Fair Competition”, the largest educational event of its kind ever held on the Internet and received three prizes as follows: the Silver Award for designing a website on Alexandria Beach Erosion in 2008, the First Prize in 2009 and the Platinum Award in 2010. Furthermore, members of YP Library won the Second Gold Award in the “Doors to Diplomacy” Educational Competition in 2010 and were among the top finalists in the Peace Pals Art Exhibition in 2009 and 2010.
For more information:

Alexandria Library Arts and Multimedia Library:

The Arts and Multimedia Library holds a rich print and audiovisual collection pertaining to the Arts. The print collection includes books, musical scores and periodicals; and the audio-visual collection covers a broad spectrum of motion pictures, documentary films, educational programs, and self-teaching methods in languages and computers. The Audiovisual materials may be used in individual or group study rooms within the Library.

Additionally, workshops and seminars are held to shed light on different artistic themes and to present prominent artists. Monthly viewing programs highlight a variety of movies, theater, and art exhibitions.
More information is available on:

Alexandria Library Map Library:

The Map Library houses a collection of more than 7000 maps covering all parts of the world with special focus on Alexandria, Egypt, the Arab world and the Mediterranean region. The collection contains maps of various types including topographic, thematic, geologic maps, as well as world maps, street maps, estate maps, contour maps, transportation and communication maps, facsimile maps, atlases, nautical charts, aeronautical charts, satellite and aerial images, and globes.

One of the most significant maps in the collection is a rare facsimile of Al-Sharif Al-Idrissi’s Map of the Earth drawn for King Roger II of Sicily in 1154. Another valuable addition is the facsimile edition of the Manuscript Chart of the Gulf and Mesopotamia, among the oldest examples of topographical maps of the region.

The Map Library is located in B4 at the Main Library.

Alexandria Library Rare Books and Special Collections:

Rare collections cover all remarkable, unique items within the BA’s holdings including: original manuscripts, early printed books, maps, antique coins, celebrities’ personal effects, exceptional donations presented to the Library, momentous documents and other rarities. The section houses a number of units and specialized work groups. It also includes two reading rooms dedicated to researchers and postgraduate students. The first (B1) houses thousands of original manuscripts as well as printed references on heritage. The second room (B2) is allocated for rare books and special collections.

More information is available on:

Alexandria Library Micro-forms:

Micro-form is a felicitous medium for the preservation of rare manuscripts, printed materials and documents against potential loss or damage resulting from excessive circulation and age, not to mention increasing their accessibility and circulation without direct contact with the originals. The BA obtained microfilms of rare manuscripts and documents (c. 30 thousand Mss, and 50 thousand documents), significant among which are the microfilms of the manuscript collections in the Escorial Library as well as the manuscript collections of Tübingen University (Germany).

The British Library presented the BA with an exhaustive collection of copies of the Arabic, Persian, and Turkish manuscripts in the British Library numbering 14,000. It is considered the biggest collection in Europe, and the largest manuscript donation to the BA to date. The Micro-form Section also comprises comprehensive and exclusive collections of national and Arabic newspapers, serving as a historical register of important events, as well as rare documents. All micro-form collections are now available for consultation in the Micro-form Reading Room.

For more information about micro-form collections, please visit:

Alexandria Library Nobel Section:

Located on the third floor (F3) of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the Nobel Section comprises book collections of Nobel Prize Laureates in Literature from 1901 to present. The Nobel Section comprises the Nobel Room, the Gad Rausing Auditorium and the Söderberg Lounge. The furniture of the Nobel Section is designed by famous Swedish designers, such as Åke Axelsson and Erik Gunnar Asplund. The Nobel Room accommodates a large meeting table made of alder root and cherry wood, similar to the table in the Assembly Hall of the Nobel Forum in Stockholm.

A further special attraction is the “Proverb Rug” by Märta Måås-Fjätterström that shows a text from the Havamal, a nordic mythology poem. The Nobel Section was inaugurated by Queen Silvia of Sweden and Queen Sonja of Norway on 24 April 2002. It was financed by two Swedish families, Rausing and Söderberg.

More information is available on:

Alexandria Library Francophone Library:

Located at the First Basement (B1), the Francophone Library is formed following the exceptional gift from the French National Library (BnF) to the BA. The gift is a collection of 500,000 French books published between 1996 and 2006 in different fields. Accordingly, the BA became the fourth largest francophone library in the world with the biggest collection of French books outside France. The BA Francophone Library, in cooperation with the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development, and several partners in France has also launched a training for the BA francophone librarians.

At the center of the BACC, the Hexagon is the hub of the Francophone Library and the meeting point of all francophone. It is a café, a cultural forum, and a platform for holding ceremonies, roundtable discussions, workshops and other events in an atmosphere that very much resembles Parisian cafés. The Francophone Library offers different services to the public in various fields; it provides assistance to researchers and users regarding French literature, offers conversation workshops in French, attempts to document the francophone world, and introduces the geography, history, civilization, and tourist attractions of France to users.

Alexandria Library Thesis & Dissertations Library:

As part of the BA’s mission to enhance private or academic studies and research, the BA, in cooperation with Ain Shams University Library, established a depository library for theses and dissertations from all Egyptian universities, serving the academia engaged in higher education and research. Any student who has obtained a Master’s or a Doctoral degree from any Egyptian university must deposit a copy of his/her thesis at the BA as a prerequisite for the fulfillment of his/her degree. Alexandria Library houses approximately 89,000 theses, available mainly in Arabic and English in addition to other languages.

The Theses Collection is stored in Closed Stacks, but can be made available to BA patrons upon request from any B4 Reference Desk. Additionally, Alexandria Library has compiled a collection of online databases featuring electronic theses and dissertations from universities worldwide, such as CCSD thèses-en-ligne, ETD Center, ERC – Online Theses and Dissertations , Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD), Theses Canada Portal, VT EDTs: Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Abstracts are provided, along with the author’s name, university affiliation, degree, and keywords. In most cases, the full text of the theses is also available.

Thesis and Dissertations Library are located in the Closed Stacks on B4 at the Main Library.

More information is available on:

Alexandria Library Periodicals Collections:

The Periodicals collections house academic and scholarly journals, peer-reviewed titles and popular magazines, in both paper and electronic formats. Most of Arabic periodicals have been digitized by the Digital Assets Repository (DAR). Encompassing over 1800 print periodicals, and 36,000 e-journals, fully available through various online databases licensed by Alexandria Library, the Periodicals collections are housed in different locations depending on content and source of acquisition. Periodicals are shelved in alphabetical order by title, first in Arabic then in English and other languages.

The Periodicals collections are located in B4 at the Main Library.

Alexandria Library Reference Works Collection:

Providing basic research and information needs to BA patrons, the Reference Works Library serves as a starting point for more specialized research. In both print and electronic formats, the collection includes general and specialized up-to-date encyclopedias, dictionaries, directories, atlases, biographies and more, primarily in Arabic, English and French. Foreign language references, such as bilingual and multilingual dictionaries and encyclopedias, are also available. Most of print references are housed in B4 at the Main Library, while some are located within the specialized libraries collections. Moreover, the Reference Works Library also provides access to a number of electronic resources available to BA users, such as EBSCOhost, Encyclopedia Britannica Online and many others.

Alexandria Library Electronic Resources Collection:

Through its electronic resources subscriptions, the BA freely offers to its users an enormous addition to its housed physical collections. Electronically, the BA provides access to more than a hundred thousand full text scholarly e-journal and e-book titles, in addition to hundreds of thousands of e-theses and dissertations from some of the world’s top publishers and information providers; such as Brill, Elsevier, Springer, and others.

The BA electronic collections cover all disciplines from applied and social sciences to humanities. Alexandria Library’s electronic resources collections are fully accessible from within Alexandria Library premises only, using Alexandria Library PCs and WiFi network. Some of the online databases to which the BA provides access are JSTOR, ERIC,, ebrary, ScienceDirect, Index Islamicus and more. The dream of rebuilding the Ancient Library of Alexandria and of reviving the legacy of that great center for learning has long enticed the imagination of intellectuals and scientists all over the world.

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In 1974, Professor Mostafa El Abbadi, eminent historian of Alexandria and author of a study on the life and fate of the Ancient Library called for the launch of a project to rebuild Alexandria Library. The University of Alexandria allocated the land alongside the Alexandria University campus, in close proximity to where the original Library is believed to have been. The Conference Center was built on an area of 5000 m2 and it was inaugurated on 22 August 1991. Under Article 2 of Law No. 1 for the year 2001, the Conference Center was affiliated to Alexandria Library complex.

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina Conference Center (BACC) is a state-of-the-art meeting and exhibition facility. Moreover, it is an integral part of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina complex. It is located on the waterfront across from the Eastern Harbor and Silsilah Peninsula. The Conference Center and the main Library are connected underground below the Plaza of Civilization. The Conference Center and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, with their joint capacity, will be a center of culture and a beacon of knowledge. It is to serve Egypt, Mediterranean Region, Africa and the world. A distinguished feature of the BACC is that it was designed, first and foremost, for international conferences, and offers comprehensive services and diverse facilities.

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It satisfies the requirements of highly sophisticated conferences. Moreover, it accommodates symposiums, meetings and presentations and can host, simultaneously or independently, exhibitions and poster sessions. It houses four conference halls, four meeting rooms and two exhibition halls. Moreover, it also house a VIP lounge, a VIP meeting room, three restaurants and a coffee shop.

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