29 January 2011
Statement from Ismail Serageldin, Director of the Library of Alexandria, Egypt
"Egypt is currently passing through a crisis and I believe that the anger and demands for better living conditions and jobs are fully justified. While some looting and lawless is going on, this by no measure is the behavior of the vast majority of demonstrators. Young demonstrators have been acting responsibly protecting their own public institutions including the library.
The Library of Alexandria continues to be a platform for democracy and has, since its inception opened its doors to all Egyptians to participate in open dialogues about reform in relation to education, economy, journalism, political life, health care system and others. It has held a countless number of conferences and issued many publications in relation to youth participation in reform, job opportunities, women participation, peace and civic life. This is in addition to its offerings of information literacy programs where young people learn all about information technology including usage of social media and searching Internet resources.
I have no doubt that once life returns to its norms, the Library of Alexandria will continue its peaceful dialogue and civic responsibility as an institution of learning. The Library doors are still open with reduced hours as the curfew imposed mandates. Egypt has always emerged from such crisis stronger than before and we are certain it will continue to grow and advance. Our faith in the people of Egypt and our country is boundless."
Dr. Ismail Serageldin
Director of the Library of Alexandria
Statement transferred via telephone by Sohair Wastawy, former Chief Librarian of the Library of Alexandria, Alexandria Egypt and current Dean of Libraries at Illinois State University, Illinois, USA.