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Collection Development Policy
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Library Collections - General Collection
The library supports the general educational and informational needs of the public. To meet these needs the library collects material in all subject areas. Because of the newness of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the general collection is still in a formative stage of development. Given the restraints of limited budgeting and staff, and the mandate to grow a well rounded scholarly collection, the library has made the decision to temporarily limit its acquisitions in most subject areas to the Basic and Minimal collecting levels (Levels 1 & 2). Once these levels have been achieved, The collection can be built out to the desired ultimate collecting levels by stages. This will ensure the orderly growth of the collection. Exceptions to this are listed in succeeding sections of this document.

Library Collections - Special Areas of Concentration

Ancient Library of Alexandria

Because the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) is the modern successor to the Ancient Library of Alexandria, one of its main missions is to develop comprehensive collections on the ancient library, the ancient Alexandrian research academy the "Museion" and ancient Alexandrian scholarship.

History of Science and Technology

The ancient library of Alexandria substantially contributed to the transmission of the knowledge of preceding civilizations (esp. that of the Greeks) to the Arabs, who in turn transmitted this knowledge to Renaissance Europe. Hence history of science is the second subject of special interest to BA. This has been demonstrated by the BA History of Science Museum located under the Planetarium.


As the ancient library was the center of scientific & scholarly innovation in the ancient world, the BA being its successor, seeks to follow and make available the most up-to-date information sources on the advancement of science & technology. The rapid development in these two specific domains of research has raised many ethical questions today, particularly in the field of biotechnology and cloning. Ethics of science and technology, genetics and biotechnology are therefore essential in the BA collection development plan in relation to the field of science.

Development Issues

The BA plays a significant role as a main source of information in the Middle East., Thus, the library gives major priority to development issues such as gender, water resources, and the environment. This priority also finds expression in the library's United Nations depository status.

History of Writing and Scripts

In retracing the history of writing and scripts, the BA tries to illustrate the different scripts and the relations between them. This collection also focuses on the technical aspects of script (history of printing) as well as its artistic aspects as demonstrated in calligraphy.

Understanding Artistic Expression

In the field of Art, the BA especially focuses on criticism, in order to deepen the critical view in understanding artistic expression and thus encourage openness to the other.


Since Egypt is the cradle of civilization, it is imperative that the BA focus on Egyptology in the development of its collection. This will be a multilingual collection for all kinds of users: general readers, from children through adults; tourists; and professional Egyptologists, archaeologists, and other scholars.

City of Alexandria

Finally, BA grants special emphasizes to works about the City of Alexandria. It aims at building up a special collection covering its entire history from its foundation by Alexander the Great up to the contemporary period, including all its different aspects, as well as any prior settlements predating Alexander's city.