5 Outstanding Libraries in Africa
Albert Einstein once said, ‘The only thing you absolutely have to know is the location of the library’. The Collins Dictionary defines a library as a building where things such as books, newspapers, videos, and music are kept for people to read, use, or borrow.
Although libraries are not as widely used as in the old times, it might interest you to know that they are some of the most important institutions to build in a society.
Why? They provide primary and unique resources, especially information you cannot find elsewhere.
In recent times, we have access to information at our fingertips. So, you ask, ‘Why do I need to go to the library when I could just get what I need from my phone?’
You’re right. However, libraries continue to play a crucial role in society. One essential role the library helps a society achieve is cultivating a love for reading.
So to book lovers, when you visit an African country, locate its library and enjoy your reading experience.
Although Africa has been stereotyped with the unavailability of learning materials and resources, it will surprise you to know that it has some of the best libraries in the world. This article will enlighten you on five outstanding libraries in Africa.
- Kenya National Library: The Kenya National Library was established in August 1965 but was later renovated and reopened in 2020. The magnificent building is adorned with sculptures of drums that emphasise the building’s central theme and the importance of drums among Africans.
The library has a 300-seat children’s theatre. It has a space for senior citizens, which is a 50-seater, and four other auditoriums for 1,2oo people. You can find books and other resources in any format, such as audiobooks and large print, in the library.
- Balme Library, Ghana: The Balme Library is one of the best African libraries for research. The library was established in 1948 and was named after David Mowbray Balme, the first principal of the University of Ghana. It accommodates diverse book forms, from microfilms to a sizable African collection of books.
- Bibliotheca Alexandrina: This library is located in Egypt and it is one of the most famous libraries on the continent. It was formerly known as the Library of Alexandria. The library is spacious and contains nearly eight million books. From French books to Arabic and English, they’ve got almost all the resources needed to scale a country’s literary progress. In addition, the library has one conference centre, four museums, and four art galleries.
- Saint Catherine’s Monastery Library, Egypt: Saint Catherine’s Monastery Library was founded between 548 and 565 CE. It is one of the oldest operating libraries in the world. Rare works such as Codex, Sinaiticus, and the most extensive collection of Christian works are preserved in the library.
- Al-Qarawiyyin Library, Morrocco: The Moroccan library was established in 859 AD. The library in Fez, Morrocco is the world’s oldest library. In 2016, the library was placed under renovation due to its bad state. In it were a reading room, book stacks, a conference room, a manuscript restoration laboratory, a rare book collection, a new administrative office, and a café.
These libraries show how important learning is to the continent, and reveal Africa’s growth and interest in learning. Africa is still a hub for learning. For more information on books, contact us by clicking here.