I remember learning (in High School, maybe) about the burning of the ancient Library of Alexandria. The story goes that Julius Caesar accidentally burned the thing down. “What a shame!” I thought. “All of those amazing scrolls and artifacts and mysteries of the ancient world! Woe is me!” (At the time, I often thought, “Woe is me!”)
After Julius “I burned down your library” Caesar, more bad luck struck the old library. According to Wikipedia, these three disasters also contributed to the (often re-built) library’s destruction:
- The attack of Aurelian in the 3rd century AD;
- The decree of Coptic Pope Theophilus in AD 391;
- The Muslim conquest in 642 AD or thereafter.
But in October, 2002 better news was in store. The people of Egypt built a new library and cultural center-The Bibliotecha Alexandrina (Maktabat al-Iskandarīyah).
What an awesome building!
So, you may be wondering, “With the protests, revolution, and the ousting of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, what became of the library?”
Well, library loving blog-readers, not to worry-the library is doing just fine. In fact, the protestors protected the library by forming a human chain around the building! There was no graffiti, no broken windows, and (for once) no fires.
The people of Egypt overthrew a dictator by using peaceful means and civil disobedience. Clearly, institutions like the Library of Alexandria are important to them. Libraries stand for free speech, education, knowledge, and empowerment. So, three cheers for the people of Egypt and all those struggling for freedom who wield peace as their only weapon.
And if you want to find out how you can help your local library, please go HERE or ask your friendly neighborhood librarian!
Corey – Main Library