The Library at Alexandria is probably the most famous library in history. It was destroyed twice in centuries past and the current Bibliotheca Alexandrina opened in 2002. During the recent demonstrations in Egypt, groups of young people (students, library employees, and protesters) took it upon themselves to form a barrier around the library to protect it from potential riots or vandalism.
Whether under the leadership of Zenodotus of Ephesus or Dr. Ismail Serageldin, the Alexandrian Library remains a literal depository of data as well as a symbol of the importance of collecting and sharing information. The spontaneous cordoning of the library gives hope that it will remain so in the future. As Ingrid Rowland states in the New York Review of Books, “Whatever Egypt is to become now, the Library of Alexandria is surely an essential beacon by which to guide it…”