Ground Broken for Pagan Library

Ground was broken on the 17th for construction of the New Alexandrian Library in Georgetown, Delaware.

Its name references an ancient library in Alexandria, Egypt. It—or they, as there were several collections—was damaged in Roman wars, destroyed as part of a campaign against Pagan temples by a Christian bishop—and according to some accounts, also by Muslim conquerors of Egypt.

The history is hard to sort out, but there is a constant theme of repository of knowledge threatened or destroyed by war and religious bigotry, which is easy enough to understand.

To further complicate things, there is also a modern Bibliotheca Alexandria in Egypt, which claims to carry on the spirit of the original(s). One wonders what will happen to it if Egypt enters another period of bigotry and chaos. You might say that the book-burning has already begun.

Meanwhile, back in Delaware, if I understand correctly, Cherry Hill Seminary will treat the New Alexandrian Library as its physical library for further accreditation purposes.

Ivo Dominguez, one of the people involved in the project, noted

As much as I and many of you like the internet, or their Kindle or their iPad, there is no substitute for having rooted in the physical plane storage, special materials and more importantly, a catalyst for interaction. Where there have been great libraries, and libraries are as much the center for creation and presentation of culture, you have a crossroads where you have interaction between different people doing scholarly work. There is a place to point at and say, in this place we actually have the maturity and perseverance as a community to make something happen that stays.”

There is no Kindle, no electronic version that will ever be the same as actually being in the presence of a book that was owned by a particular author. Each of these books is like a Book of Shadows. Each is filled with the essence and the energy of the people who have worked with it. So there is something that can only be held in the physical realm.

They want to raise money to build a series of sturdy concrete-covered domes. It’s a noble project.