libraries in Egypt        0  2497 reads

Libraries in Alexandria

Academic library
Alexandria University
Senghor University

Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Libraries in Assiut

Academic library
Assiut University

Libraries in Cairo

Academic library
Ain Shams University
Al-Azhar University
American University in Cairo
Arab Academy for Science & Technology and Maritime Transport
British University in Egypt
Cairo University
Nile university library

National Library and Archives of Egypt

American Studies Information Resource Center
Cairo Demographic Center
Egyptian Cabinet Information and Decision Support Center

Libraries in Giza

Academic library
Helwan University

Libraries in Ismailia

Academic library
Suez Canal University

Libraries in Mansoura

Academic library
Mansoura University

Libraries in Minia

Academic library
Minia University

Libraries in Shebeen El-Kome

Academic library
Menoufia University

Libraries in St.Dokki

Academic library
Egyptian National Agricultural Library

Libraries in Tanta

Academic library
Tanta University

Libraries in Zagazig

Academic library
Zagazig University

1. The National Library and Archives of Egypt

The National Library and Archives of Egypt is a government research and cultural non- profit authority, whose main concern is to render library services throughout Egypt and the Arab World.


 The National Library and Archives of Egypt was established as an independent legal entity by virtue of the presidential decree No. 176 for 1993, with an allocated budget including detailed items for each of its activities as specified by the standards of State Master Budget.
 NL's premises, a 7-storey building over- looking the Nile Corniche in Ramlet Boulac District, has been intended from the very beginning to be a large complex for a variety of cultural activities. However, the annex building is now accommodating the National Archives.

 The National Library and Archives, as one of several governmental institutions, must help implementing the Ministry of Culture's responsibilities in the domains of National and Public Libraries, Legacy, Manuscripts, National Archives, Documentation and Information.
 The activities undertaken by the National Library and Archives are therefore designed to achieve the following objects:

To make available all facilities necessary for getting acquainted with the world intellectual production and to render library services for that purpose.
To take an integral part in the revival of the intellectual heritage by collecting originals thereof, and to assist in making these available for scholars and researchers.
To collect, maintain and edit all possible manuscripts, microforms, photographs, recordings, and make these available for research purposes.
To collect all documents pertaining to national history and any other relevant subject matter in all ages, and to prepare and to maintain these for general use.

 All activities launched by NLA are properly assisted by the NL's press which is not only responsible for printing of legacy books, but also for the books edited by NLA's research centres.

 Through more active interest and participation in the national guidance, the National Library must also keep up-to-date with relevant social, economic and technological developments so as to be responsive to the demands of the general public and clientele groups, in addition to cooperating with other institutions of the Ministry of Culture

 The National Library, the oldest government library, houses several million authored and translated volumes covering nearly every field of knowledge, and possesses in addition a vast variety of Arab and other oriental manuscripts. Collections of references open to the public. User needs only a "Reader's Pass" in order to use the readings rooms and consult the catalogues on the NL's premises.

 The public libraries spread throughout Greater Cairo, and NL's fleet of Mobile Libraries are responsible for rendering services free of charge to the general public, children, and scholarly community. All users have free access to such facilities and can borrow books.

 On the academic level, the National Archives, with its immense variety of documents relevant to the history of Egypt, also renders services free of charge to researchers, scholars, university professors, and to those engaged in the work on political and social history of Egypt.

 The National Library and Archives of Egypt is one of the oldest libraries in the Middle East and its importance lies in having about 55.000 of the most significant collections of manuscripts and microforms in the world which are rendered in Arabic, Turkish and Persian languages.

 These rare collections of manuscripts include a wide variety of the Holy Koran (Qur'an), whose early versions are written on paper and parchment, others are in the early undotted Kufi style. Among them are copies written by celebrated calligraphers as Yaquote-al-Mosta? asimi. In addition, there is a magnificent collection containing the largest and most richly illuminated versions of the Holy Koran copied in the Mameluke Text-hand, Trilinear and Rayhani writings.

 The National Library's collections also include a wide variety of the most valuable manuscripts in various fields of knowledge such as general information, religion, scientific heritage and literature, amongst which is a unique book entitled as (the Message) by Al-Emam-al-Shafi'ai tackling the principles of jurisprudence, and dating back to the third, fourth and fifth centuries, were privately owned by Taymour Pasha, Ahmed Zaki Pasha, Ahmed Tal'aat Bey and Mustafa Fadel, then successively acquired and added to the National Library's stock at the end of the nineteenth century.

 Other collections contain rare Persian manuscripts, some of which are beautifully illustrated by famous Persian painters, like Bostan Sa'adi illustrated in 893 H. by Behzad who was entitled as Raphael of the East, also like Shahnama (Book of Kings ) by Ferdawsi and Hayder Nama in 416 H.

 Ottoman Turkish manuscripts date back to a few centuries ago and represent an important heritage for the Middle East area.

 Also, the Arabic papyri collection, discovered at the end of the nineteenth century and amounts to 3.000 papyri, are written in both Arabic and Greek. The majority of such manuscripts are in Arabic and the earliest of which dates back to 22H, and represents invaluable treasure for those who study the development of Arabic calligraphy as they are rich in information about the economic life in Egypt and include deeds of sale and purchase, marriage lines and title-deeds that extend from the Amawi period to Fatimid period.

 Similarly, the National Archives has a rare paper historical collection of documents in both Arabic and Turkish languages. The Library's collection include valuable documents` pertaining to the history of Egypt, the earliest of which is the endowment deed of the Fatimid Minister Talae'a bin Ruzeik, dating back to the Ayyubid era (d.567-648 H. / 1058 A.D.). In addition, there are legal documents dating back to the Mameluke era ( d.648-923 H. /1250-1517 A.D. ), 74 legal documents dating back to the Ottoman era ( d. 1517-1805 A.D.).

 Moreover, the National Archives has a wide variety of documents in English, French and Italian languages. These collections, which cover the 19th. and 20th. Centuries are very important for conducting substantive researches and studies on the history of Egypt Arab World, Africa and their relations with Europe.

 NL's collections are of significant nature as they represent an essential part of the human heritage. All of these have helped to build the NL's outstanding local and international reputation.

 The National Library and Archives comprises a number of research centers, such as: the Center for Editing & Publishing Arabic Manuscripts,the Center of Documents and Contemporary History of Egypt, the Computer Center, the Documentation and Research Center for Children's Literature and the Restoration Conservation & Microfilm Center, which has recently been provided and equipped through a Protocol of Cooperation concluded between Egypt and the Kingdom of Spain whose cooperation and understanding are thankfully appreciated. Infrastructure works at the NL's premises were mostly financed by the Egyptian Cultural Development Fund.

 The National Library and Archives has recently been honored by Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak inauguration of the first phase of development of (15) research and reading halls. With the inauguration of the NA's (3) halls occupying a total area of 1.000 sq.m.,NL's (12) halls occupying a total area of 6.000 sq.m, assuming extensive reorganization and develo- pment of NL's premises, we can safely claim that NL's services will soon be brought in line with international levels and we will spare no effort in meeting NL's users' expectations and needs.

 In pursuance of the NL's policy for the dissemination of Arab culture and fulfilling the requirements of research activity, priority is given to edit, reprint and introduce to as many readers and researchers all over the world to legacy books as possible, as well as edit and publishall documents relevant to the history of Egypt.

Basic Information

Library Name: National Library and Archives of Egypt: National Library
Library Authority: Ministry of Culture
National Librarian: Dr Laila Galal Rizk

Contact Details

Telephone: (202) 5750886 / (202)5751078 / (202)5752883

Fax: (202)5765634

Working Houres: It is open to the public every day, except Fridays and the national holidays, throughout the year. 9.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.

Reading Rooms :
Summer : 9.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m.
Winter : 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.


Dr.Mohamed Saber Arab:
Aida Hanfe :
Dr. Refat Hassn Helal :
Financial and administrative affairs :
Public Service :

Library Basic Information

Country: Egypt
Postal Address: P O Box 8, Sabttiya, Cairo, EGYPT, 11638
Physical Address: Bab Al Khalq Square, Cairo, EGYPT
Coll Size Books: 2 500 000
Services: Music Library; Deposit Library; Interlibrary Loan; Art Library; National Centre for Exchanges; National Centre for Bibliographic Services; Rare Collections; Persian Manuscripts; ISBN agency; Digitisation

2. The Library of Alexandria (Bibliotheca Alexandrina)





Alexandria and its ancient library

The city of Alexandria was established as the capital of Egypt in 332 BC and this ancient city remained as the capital of Egypt for around one thousand years until the Muslims opened Egypt and changed the capital to the Fustat, the first Islamic capital in Egypt.

The library of Alexandria had many names because of its greatness and the number and variety of books it contained. It was named "the royal library of Alexandria, the Grand Library, or the great library of Alexandria. The library acted as a major center for science and culture for many centuries.

The ancient library was built due to the orders of Ptolemy the second in the third century BC and it was said that it contained 700,000 books and it was the greatest library in the world at that time. This is besides the fact that many great scientists studied in the library like Archimedes

The library of Alexandria became famous world wide because it was the first public governmental library in history. There were many libraries in the times of the pharos but it was exclusive for the priests of the temples and the royal family. The library contained the science, civilization, and books of two remarkable periods: The Pharonic and the Greek.

The two civilizations of the west and east met in this great library through books and lectures that the library hosted and it was considered the first attempt for the modern concept of globalization.

It was obligatory that any scholar who studies in the library of Alexandria has to leave a copy of his writings in the library. Maybe this was why the library was rich with books, researches, and studies that was contemporary at the time. This is besides the books of older periods. The responsible for the library freed them selves from discrimination of all sorts in order to collect all the sciences and ideas of the whole world in one great location.

The burning of the library

Most historians believe that Julius Cesar burned 101 ships that were landing on the Mediterranean Sea shore in front of Alexandria in the year 48 BC. This was after little Ptolemy, the brother of Cleopatra, went to fight Cesar thinking that he is helping the queen to fight against him. This great fire reached the library and caused a huge damage to the building of the library and its books.

The history also recorded when the Roman emperor Thyosyos ordered his man to destroy the library. However, some historians claim that the library stood still till the year 640 AD when the Moslems burned it under the orders of Amr Ibn Al Aas, the Moslem leader who conquered Egypt at the time. Some other scholars believe that when Amr entered Alexandria the library was no longer there and he has nothing to do with its damage and that the library was totally destroyed in the period of Julius Cesar.

The modern library

The first initiative to rebuild the library of Alexandria goes back to the year 1974. However, no factual steps took place except in the late 80s.

The first step in the building of the modern library was the declaration of the Egyptian president that he intends to rebuild the library with the aid of the UNESCO the new library of Alexandria was launched and the dream to reestablish the library once more was shared among all the people of Egypt and the whole world. The library was officially opened on the 17th of October 2002 in the location of the ancient library.




Hosny Mubarak then established the public authority of the library of Alexandria and made an international architectural designing competition and the prize was sixty thousand American dollars which was won by Snohetta, the Norwegian architectural design grand company.

The design of the library

The design of the modern library of Alexandria consisted of four underground stores and six upper stores. The special shape of the modern library of Alexandria is considered a special architectural germ.

The oval shape of library from outside that is a symbol of the continuity of life as the sun comes out of the sea and goes from the highest point till the lowest point overlooking the sea. The library is sounded by a great wall that was made out of Aswan Granite and it contains writing and inscriptions in 120 languages

The library is 10 stores height which have an oval shape cover with a radius of 60 meters. The library is divided into reading sections which is 14.4 × 9.6 meters in size. The library was designed to last for two centuries but there are fears that this period might be exaggerated because of its closeness to the sea.

The objective of the new library is the same objective of the old library: to act as a public research library and to support the people of the Arab world and the Middle East to retain their old position as scholars and researchers in different fields of science.
The library of Alexandria is considered the first digital library in the whole world and it contains a place to include 8 million books, six specialized libraries, three museums, research centers, two permanent galleries, six halls to host art exhibitions, an internet archive, audio and visual library, a special library for blind people, a library for children, a library for teenagers, a microfilm library, the library of the rare books and a conference center.

The library of Alexandria covers a number of topics that include

1- The history of the library and the city of Alexandria and the Egyptian history as a whole
2- The cultures of the Arab world, Africa, and the Mediterranean countries
3- The culture, ideas, and civilization of the whole world
The modern library of Alexandria is located in al Shatby in front of Al selsela beach.

Entrance Tickets

For Egyptians :Adults: 4 pounds, Students: 2 pounds Students: 5 pounds, School students: 1 pound All inclusive tickets: 8 pounds

For foreigners :Adults: 10 pounds School students: 5 pounds, All inclusive tickets: 45 pounds

Note: there are other tickets sold to enter the museums inside the library and to enter the sky dome.

The library offers guiding services with a lot of languages. Group visits can be organized beforehand.

Working hours

Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 11 in the morning till 7 in the afternoon. Friday and Saturday from 3 in the afternoon till 7

The library is closed on Tuesday!

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