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Bibliotheca Alexandrina
Activities and Programs

In a short span of its existence, the Library of Alexandria counts among its accomplishments upgrading its Library Sector services and its three museums, establishing new centers, and increasing the number of its permanent exhibitions.


As one of the BA’s main sectors, the Library Sector has many functions, responsibilities, and goals. It seeks to establish itself as an international center of excellence through its collection of books, periodicals, maps, multimedia, and electronic resources, and most importantly, customized services to its users. The open access shelves display the library collection through a reading area which cascades over the seven levels of the library and accommodates 2,000 readers under its roof.
The Library was designed to house up to eight million volumes, 500,000 in the open stacks within the Main Reading Hall and 7.5 million in storage facilities within the building.

In order to accommodate our patrons, the Library Sector has instituted special services to increase learning pleasure: Reception and Visitor Services, Librarian Tours, Membership Services, Library Learning Center, Reference Services, Electronic Resource Services, Circulation Services. Other services provided by the Library Sector are: Photocopying/Scanning, Printing, Disks, Study Rooms.

Arts and Multimedia Library

The Arts and Multimedia Library holds a rich print and audio-visual collection pertaining to the Arts. The print collection includes books, scores, and periodicals; and the audio-visual collection covers a broad spectrum of motion pictures, documentary films, educational programs, and self-teaching methods on 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 emphasize different artistic themes and present notable artists. Monthly viewing programs highlight a variety of movies, theater, and artistic exhibitions.

Taha Hussein Library

“Education is like the water we drink and the air we breathe.” (Taha Hussein)
The Taha Hussein Library (TH) for the Visually Impaired offers a new concept in library services for the visually impaired through technology, enabling them to access all the resources of the library as well as selected web resources.
The Library, applies the latest IT advances to enable disabled persons to read, write, access the Internet and thereby gain more independence and control over their lives.
The Library was relocated to the Entrance Level to facilitate the physical access for its patrons.

Children’s Library

The Children’s Library (CH) provides educational, recreational and cultural resources for children ages 6-11. The Library collection contains material in several languages, covering all subjects from arts to zoology. A computer lab is provided for the children to explore many exciting websites and learn how to conduct research in a library.
Several activities are offered by the library staff on a daily basis, such as: storytelling; invitation of children’s authors to read to the children and apply different methodology to encourage them to read different subjects; puppet show performances; Arts and craft activities.

Young People’s Library

The Young People’s Library (YP) opens up a vast world of knowledge, entertainment, culture and information for youth ages 12-16. The collection of books in the YP area covers the same subject areas as in the Main Library taking into consideration young adults’ needs and requirements. Featured programs at the YP Library are: Reading for All, My Book Digital and Printed, and Information for All.

Nobel Section

The Nobel Section is dedicated to serving scholars and researchers. The Section comprises the Nobel Room, the Gad Rausing Auditorium and the Söderberg Lounge.
The Nobel Room is the access point for researchers interested in literature.



Alex-Med Center

The Alexandria and Mediterranean Research Center (Alex-Med) mission is to document and disseminate the Alexandrian and Mediterranean tangible and intangible culture, while encouraging dialogue and mutual understanding. The scope of the Center is to cover research and documentation of all areas related to Alexandria and the Mediterranean. It is to revive the historic role of Alexandria, and promote Alexandrian culture and Alexandrism, by relocating the city’s spirit of diversity, tolerance and cooperation once more in the Mediterranean. The Center will, also, focus on economic development, cooperation and sustainability.

Arts Center

The Arts Center is a cultural center engaged in creative arts, a source of human development. The ultimate goal of the Center is to embrace a multicultural tide of expression, including Egyptian cultural heritage. It brings art, music, theater and cinema to the BA. The Center offers musical and theatrical programs, exhibitions, films, seminars, conferences.
In order to spread the passion of art to the community, the Arts Center has developed the School for Amateurs, where people ages 6–60 can join classes in various branches of art, such as children choir, youth choir, vocal training, piano, Suzuki violin, cello, ballet, orchestra for amateurs, and plastic arts.

Calligraphy Center

The Calligraphy Center studies inscriptions, calligraphies and writings in the world throughout the ages, from the pre-dynastic period up to the digital age. Since the beginning of the 19th century many archaeological discoveries unraveled the Ancient Egyptian civilization. By deciphering the Ancient Egyptian language, it led to the unveiling of this ancient civilization. The Center emphasizes the importance of calligraphy and writing as part of the essential means to human knowledge and the evolution of civilizations.


The Center for Special Studies and Programs (CSSP) helps researchers and scientists receive the best support needed to advance their work through international collaborations.
The CSSP aims to:

1) Promote science, education and public awareness by devising a highly proactive science communications program comprising high-caliber international conferences, meetings, lectures, workshops and exhibitions aimed at specialists and non-specialists.
2) Act as a catalyst for the progress of Science in Egypt by receiving and analyzing data on national scientific and technical resources.
3) Act as a hub, by creating and sustaining a network of international collaboration while remaining a virtual center. 4) Increase the participation of the under-represented in science and technology (e.g. women and researchers in small governorates).


The Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage (CULTNAT) is currently the only BA institution in Cairo. The Center is also affiliated with the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. The Center aims at applying the latest technological innovations to document Egypt’s cultural heritage, tangible and intangible, as well as Egypt’s natural heritage which includes information about the natural areas and their biological components. The implementation of the Center’s work plan is carried out in collaboration with several national and international organizations. Introducing Egypt’s heritage through the media and electronic publication leading to building public awareness and training of professionals in the field of heritage, are among the Center’s main objectives.


The International School of Information Science (ISIS) is mainly a research institute. It was founded to initiate, develop, carry out and promote research and development of activities and projects related to building a universal digital library. ISIS is guided by the BA’s goals to preserve the heritage for future generations in digital form and provide universal access to human knowledge. It is viewed as an incubator of IT projects that will ultimately contribute to the knowledge capacity of Egypt and the world.

Manuscript Center

Much of the Manuscript Center’s work revolves around the preservation, management, and digitization of heritage. The Manuscript Center operates through a number of integrated sections (Heritage Publishing, Restoration, and Academic Activities and Specialized Translation), which work tunefully with the ones in the twin institution; the Manuscript Museum (Rare Collections, Microfilm, Museographic Display).In the Restoration Lab, almost 25,000 papers and about 200 manuscripts and rare books have been restored. In addition, the Digital Manuscript Archive project is continuously producing digital copies of the BA’s entire manuscript collection and providing digital CD-ROM collections to the public for a nominal fee.
Following the tradition of the Ancient Library of Alexandria, the Center, through the Resident Scholar Program (RSP) invites accomplished heritage scholars from all over the world to stay at the BA to meet with heritage specialists and academics from Egypt. This interaction ensures a dynamic milieu of research and a conservation of established traditions of academia.

Dialogue Forum

 In the spirit of the ancient Museion (the Temple of the Muses), the meeting place for intellectual discussion in the Ancient library, the BA established the Dialogue Forum. The Forum holds regular discussions on current topics featuring expert keynote speakers. Within the Forum, the Arab Reform Forum was created in 2004, after the first Arab Reform Conference. A selected number of Arab intellectuals and scholars attended the annual conference, in addition to representatives of civil society from all over the Arab world. The first conference was concluded by issuing the Alexandria Declaration, addressing political, economic, social and cultural reform issues.

The Arab Reform Forum (ARF) was established to provide an open space for Arab initiatives, intellectual dialogue and projects pertaining to the promotion of the Arab reform process, as well as building bridges for all forms of dialogue, freedom of expression and cooperation with Arab and international civil society organizations.


Antiquities Museum

This Museum was the gift of the Ministry of Culture to the New Bibliotheca Alexandrina. The Museum’s collection was carefully selected to reflect Egypt’s rich multicultural history, focusing on Pharaonic, Greco–Roman, Coptic and Islamic heritage, with special emphasis on Alexandria and the Hellenistic period. This collection is probably the only one to cover all Egypt’s history so succinctly and elegantly. It achieves one of the four objectives of the BA, it is a wonderful window of Egypt’s history to the world. The Museum promotes a variety of programs and activities, including research, seminars and conferences, exhibitions, publications. To support its mission, the Museum organizes weekly educational programs and workshops to help younger generations discover Egypt’s rich heritage.

Manuscript Museum

This Museum houses around 120 manuscripts and rare books in a multitude of languages including Arabic and Latin. Additionally, two original pieces of the Kiswa (decorative black brocade cover, embroidered in gold with Qur’anic verses) of the Holy Kaaba adorn the walls above the Islamic manuscripts. Visitors can review the electronic publications of the Manuscript Center applying state-of-the-art digital techniques on touch-screen computers. This program enables the user to review any given manuscript, browse its different pages, magnify the desired part, and listen to related commentary and explanation.

History of Science Museum

This Museum revives ancient Egyptian achievements in mathematics, architecture, and the preparation of medicine, thus honoring those scholars whose work contributed to mankind’s knowledge. Three historical periods are on display within the Museum. The journey within commences chronologically with Ancient Egypt, passing through Hellenistic Alexandria and finally reaching the Middle Ages of Arab Muslims.


The spectacular design of the Planetarium integrates with the architectural concept of the main library building. It is a complete sphere, suspended in the air, and supported by four axes, symbolizing a planet that revolves around the rising sun, or the main library building.
Visitors are invited to explore the wonders of the cosmos and discover the mysterious world of astronomy through the various live and multi-media shows presented by the Planetarium.


The ALEXploratorium is a “hands-on” science facility offering a large collection of educational exhibits designed to engage students and the general public in science and technology. The goal of the ALEXploratorium is to broaden and expand the horizons of the BA visitors. To this end, it maintains permanent and temporary exhibitions in various fields of science with special emphasis on physics and astronomy.
The ALEXploratorium consists of:
- The Discovery Zone, primary and permanent exhibition space;
- Workshops, for specialized, hands-on group activities;
- The Listen and Discover Auditorium, for multimedia shows; and
- The Multi-Exhibition Hall, for visiting exhibitions.


-Impressions of Alexandria: The Awad Collection
-The World of Shadi Abdel Salam
-Arabic Calligraphy
-History of Printing
-The Artist’s Book
-Arab–Muslim Medieval Instruments of Astronomy and Science
-Mohie El Din Hussein: A Creative Journey
-Abdel Salam Eid
-Raaya El-Nimr and Abdel-Ghani Abou El-Enein

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