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This article was published in my school magazine 'IGCSE Talents'.

The ancient city of Alexandria was the birthplace of the most famous library among all ancient libraries at the third century B.C..It was the Library of Alexandria: the Bibliotheca Alexandrina that was for seven centuries a beacon for learning and science. It was the greatest Universal Library history has ever known and was established by the three Ptolemaic kings. The Ancient Bibliotheca Alexandrina was the first research center in the world and Alexandria became the center for science, arts, literature and philosophy. It was the policy of the Ptolemies to bring writers, poets, artists, and scientists to Alexandria from all over the ancient world. They were anxious to acquire originals of works and the most valuable collections, beyond buying and copying books and with at least 700,000 scrolls it was the largest coverage of known written material in any period.

However, the Library was destroyed many times during historyThe first fire came about during the Alexandrian War, when Julius Caesar burnt the Egyptian fleet in 48 B.C. and the fire inadvertently spread to the library buildings near the docks. During the upheavals of the Roman Empire in the third century of our era, Alexandria suffered many upheavals and suppressions which led to the city being invaded by Roman armies several times and the whole royal district where the old Library was located was destroyed.

After that, the buildings remained from the Library were destroyed by time to due to reasons that historians argued about

And though 1600 years have elapsed since the age of the Ancient Library of Alexandria came to an end, all scientists still acknowledge their debt to that remarkable institution and look with admiration on the role played by the Library as a center for dialogue and tolerance as well as science and learning.

A few years ago, The Egyptian Government, in cooperation with UNESCO and Alexandria University, has decided to resurrect the old dream to endow this part of the world with an important focal point for culture.

H.E. Mrs. Mubarak was the first sponsor of this unique project since its inception. Alexandria University allocated the land, and established the Conference Centre. Also, UNESCO participated in supporting the project with an appeal in 1987And that was the start

The construction work began in 1995 and finished in late 2000. And on the 16th of October 2002, the dream came true and the official inauguration of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina took place.

The Library of Alexandria Complex includes: The Main Library, Young Peoples' Library, Library for the Blind and a lot more It is much more than a library, a vast cultural complex that compromises: a library that can accommodate between 4 and 8 million books, a center for Internet connectivity, 3 museums, 5 research institutes, 4 art galleries and a planetarium.

The Library as an architectural building is a real piece of art, the Main building is an incomplete circular disc that goes down in the direction of the sea, which is a symbol of the sun of knowledge that will continue to rise forever and spread knowledge all over the world. On the external wall of the Library, the whole Alphabets of the world are engraved.  

Today, as the Library takes its first steps towards opening its doors to the public, it holds about 250,000 books and 6700 manuscripts. There's still a long way off from its objectives, which are for the Library to be: the world's window on Egypt; Egypt's window on the world, A leading centre in mastering the digital revolution, a thriving center of learning and debate and the hub of inter-cultural and inter-civilizational dialogue.

In 2001, 'The Egyptian Association for Friends of Bibliotheca Alexandrina' was established to assist the Library in carrying out its mission, support it in propagating culture and promote the various activities of the Library...

From the activities done by the Association: organizing seminars, lectures, exhibitions and establishing affiliated student societies within Egyptian schools and universities.

However, this can only be done by our cooperation as students and teachers to the Library. The Library membership cards are very easy to issue at the membership desk, which is located in the entrance of the Main Library, and the access to most of the facilities is available to members. These facilities include: using reading areas, borrowing books, and reserving study rooms. The membership card also allows the member to enter museums, exhibitions and cultural events.

Finally, I would like to add words of H.E. Mrs. Mubarak, 'Join us and help us as we move forward to make the new Library of Alexandria a beacon for science and knowledge, a centre for dialogue between peoples and nations, a centre of excellence in research and documentation, and a source of pride for Egypt and the whole world.'

Winding up with words by Dr. Ismail Serageldin, Director of Bibliotheca Alexandrina, talking about the goals of the Library, 'These are worthy goals to strive for. So we must dare to dream if it were not for dreamers, men would still be living in cavesAnd we must strive to realize these dreams, to create a better world for our children and celebrate our common humanity.'

For more info about Bibliotheca Alexandrina, visit: