The revival of the Ancient Library of Alexandria

Interlending & Document Supply

ISSN: 0264-1615

Article publication date: 1 March 2000




(2000), "The revival of the Ancient Library of Alexandria", Interlending & Document Supply, Vol. 28 No. 1.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

The revival of the Ancient Library of Alexandria

The revival of the Ancient Library of Alexandria

Keywords Libraries, History, Archives, Egypt

The Revival of the Ancient Library of Alexandria Project aims to build a modern public library, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, which will become a major centre for culture, science and academic research. The project is being run by the Egyptian Government in close co-operation with UNESCO.

The library will be available to scholars and researchers both nationally and internationally, giving world wide access to its unique collection of Alexandrian and Egyptian history, as well as its more contemporary collections.

Alexandria is the second largest city and the largest port in Egypt. It was built in the third century BC on the orders of Alexander the Great after whom the city was named. The original library was built in the fourth century BC and became the world's first university, making Alexandria the world's intellectual capital.

The library catalogued all its works and as early as the third century held over 700,000 manuscripts. It was destroyed by fire more than 1,600 years ago.

In 1991 the first steps were taken towards a new library building and in 1995 building work began. The new collections have started to be transferred and the official inauguration is scheduled for spring 2000.

The project has an estimated cost of US$172 million with an additional US$182 million donated by the Government of Egypt to cover the cost of the land, the consultant's fees and the conference centre, which is part of the library building. The book and periodical collections are expected to cost about US$31 million and the cost of equipment about US$20 million.

For further information visit the UNESCO Web site at:

Source: Press release

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