Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Library of Alexandria was Not Destroyed

As I tell my e-document students, the Library of Alexandria was founded around 290 BC, destroyed by fire around 48 BC and opened again for business in 2002AD, with an on-line catalogue. It was surprising to hear the librarian detailing the library's role in the recent revolution in Egypt.

In scenes reminiscent of Isaac Asimov's Foundation series of books, Dr. Ismail Serageldin, Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina has described how library staff joined hands with members of the public to protect the library during recent protests. Dr. Serageldin also described how the library spread "the values of democracy, freedom of expression, tolerance, diversity and pluralism" and so helped ferment the revolution.

As demonstrations continue despite the delegation of presidential powers to the Vice-President, the Library continues to be protected by the people. Alexandria saw massive demonstrations throughout the city (see video). Young students from the university designed and made a huge National Flag, and put it on the steps of the Library (see images) which elicited cheers from passing demonstrators as the director waved to the crowds (see image)....

From: "Under the protection of the People", Bibliotheca Alexandrina, February 2011

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