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Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Director: Dr. Ismail Serageldin
Establishment: 2002
Focus Region: International/Arab Region
Sectors: Education, Research, Culture


The Bibliotheca Alexandrina aims to be: A center of excellence in the production and dissemination of knowledge and to be a place of dialogue, learning and understanding between cultures and peoples.


The unique role of the Library of Alexandria, as that of a great Egyptian Library with international dimensions, will focus on four main aspects, that seek to recapture the spirit of the original ancient Library of Alexandria. It aspires to be

  •  The world’s window on Egypt.
  •  Egypt’s window on the world.
  •  A leading institution of the digital age.
  •  A center for learning, tolerance, dialogue and understanding.


The New Library of Alexandria, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA), is devoted to recapturing the spirit of openness and scholarship of the original Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Its mission is to be a center of excellence in the production and dissemination of knowledge and to be a place of dialogue, learning, and understanding between cultures and peoples.

It is much more than a library. It contains the following:

  • The Main Library (which can hold up to millions of books) and its affiliated libraries: the Francophone Library, the Depository Library, and the Maps Library
  • Six specialized libraries:
    1. The Arts and Multimedia Library
    2. The Taha Hussein Library for the visually-impaired
    3. The Children’s Library
    4. The Young People’s Library
    5. The Microforms Library
    6. The Rare Books and Special Collections Library
  • A copy of the Internet Archive
  • Four museums:
    1. The Antiquities Museum
    2. The Manuscripts Museum
    3. The Sadat Museum
    4. The History of Science Museum
  • The Planetarium Science Center (PSC)
  • The ALEXploratorium: an exploratorium for introducing children to science
  • The Culturama: a cultural panorama projected over nine screens. It is the first ever patented nine-projector interactive system. It has won many awards. The Culturama, developed by CULTNAT, allows the presentation of a wealth of data layers; presenters can click on an item and go to a whole new level of detail. It is a remarkably informative and attractive multimedia presentation of Egypt’s heritage spanning over 5,000 years of history with highlights and examples of Ancient Egyptian and Coptic/Muslim heritage.
  • VISTA (The Virtual Immersive Science and Technology Applications system): an interactive virtual reality environment that allows researchers to transform two-dimensional data sets into 3D simulations and 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.
  • Thirteen academic research centers:
    1. Alexandria and Mediterranean Research Center (Alex Med)
    2. Center for Writings and Scripts Studies
    3. Center for Special Studies and Programs (CSSP)
    4. International School of Information Science (ISIS)
    5. Manuscripts Center
    6. Center for the Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage (CULTNAT) – Cairo
    7. Alexandria Center for Hellenistic Studies
    8. Center for Democracy and Social Peace Studies (CDSPS)
    9. Center for Development Studies (CDS)
    10. Center for Environmental Studies (CES)
    11. Arabic Computational Linguistics Center
    12. Center for Islamic Civilization Studies
    13. Center for Coptic Studies
  • Fifteen permanent exhibitions:
    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)
    6. The Artist’s Book
    7. Mohie El Din Hussein: A Creative Journey
    8. The Raaya El-Nimr and Abdel-Ghani Abou El-Enein Collection of Arab Folk Art
    9. Seif and Adham Wanly: Motion and Art
    10. Selected artworks of Adam Henin
    11. Selected artworks of Ahmed Abdel-Wahab
    12. Selected artworks of Hamed Saeed
    13. Selected artworks of Hassan Soliman
    14. Sculpture
    15. Our Digital World
  • Four art galleries for temporary exhibitions
  • The Conference Center (which can accommodate up to thousands of people)

The new Bibliotheca Alexandrina also hosts a number of institutions:

  1. The Academia Bibliotheca Alexandrinae (ABA).
  2. Arabic Society for Ethics in Science & Technology (ASEST).
  3. The Anna Lindh Foundation for Dialogue between Cultures – the first Euro-Med foundation based outside Europe.
  4. The HCM Medical Research Project – located in Shallalat
  5. The Arab Regional Office of the Academy of Science for the Developing World (TWAS-ARO).
  6. The International Federation for Library Associations (IFLA) Regional Office.
  7. The Secretariat of the Arab National Commissions of UNESCO.
  8. The Middle Eastern and North African Network for Environmental Economics (MENANEE).
  9. The Arab Network for Women in Science and Technology (ANWST).

The BA is an Egyptian institution of international character. It is devoted to the promotion of enlightened values, good governance, and sustainable development in Egypt and the Arab world as well as elsewhere in the world.

It is governed by an international Board of Trustees and is not part of the Egyptian Government. It was established in October 2002 by a special law (Law No. 1 for 2001) that attaches it to the Head of State.

The BA receives more than 1.5 million visitors per year, and its website receives around one million hits per day. In addition, the BA holds about 700 events and organizes over 300 Arts School classes annually. The BA employs around 2,000 staff, of whom 50.4% are females (not counting security and custodial level staff), and 74% are less than 35 years of age.

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