New Library Promps Hopes for Intellectual Revival in Egypt

Doesn\'t sound too bloody likely, however:

[As] the new library\'s credentials grew -- and $200 million poured in from Persian Gulf states, the United Nations and other international donors to finish the building -- the book collection expanded slowly but with no guiding principle. There is no set budget for acquisitions, and the previous director was criticized for his willingness to accept any donated tome that came through the door. His policy, detractors warned, threatened to create an 8 million volume attic of castoffs instead of the \"lighthouse for thought\" spoken of by its chief patron, Egyptian first lady Suzanne Mubarak. As of now about 200,000 \"so-so\" volumes are in hand, Serageldin said, including outdated travel and investment guides and old copies of the Guinness Book of World Records.

[More from the Washington Post .]

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