30 November 2009 --
As part of a cooperation agreement between the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the BnF, in partnership with the Cultural Council of the Union for the Mediterranean (UPM) and the SNCF (French National Railways), is donating half a million books to the BA. Serageldin was guest of honor at a grand ceremony that took place at Marseille, celebrating the first shipment of 35,000 books. The celebration was attended by a representative from the French Presidency; Frédéric Mitterrand, French Minister of Culture; Renaud Muselier, President Cultural Council of the UPM; Bruno Racine President of the BnF; Guillaume Pepy, President of the SNCF; and the Egyptian Ambassador to France. Another celebration will be held at the BA when all 500,000 volumes reach their destination at the Library in Alexandria.
Witnessing the departure of the shipment at the gare du Canet, where the celebration took place, Serageldin gave a speech of gratitude and appreciation to the BnF for building this cultural bridge, not only between France and Egypt, but also between France and the whole of the Arab world.
These books tackle a wide range of subjects including science, history, geography and anthropology. They are mostly recently published books, issued during the period from 1996 to 2006. This donation will make the BA the sixth largest francophone library in the world outside France. The BA will also become the main depository of French books in the Arab world, surpassing Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, in addition to also being the main French Library in Asia and Africa.