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Taha Hussein Library For Visually Impaired



About the Library

The Taha Hussein Library for the Visually Impaired (TH) offers a new concept in library services for the blind and visually impaired through technology, enabling them to access all the resources of the library as well as selected web resources. The TH Library is equipped with special software packages and equipment that allow its users to access the Library's Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) and other e-resources, including accessibility compliant websites.

"Education is like the water we drink and the air we breath."

Taha Hussein, Ph.D.
Receiver of the United Nations Human Rights Award

The library was named after a great Egyptian writer named Taha Hussein, who was blind himself. He was one of the prominent writers of his time, affecting the cultural life in Egypt, as well as the Arab world.


Mission Statement

The Taha Hussein Library is a new concept, opening new horizons for the blind and visually impaired, enabling them to access all the resources the BA has to offer, as well as the resources available on the Internet. The TH Library will introduce the TH users to a new world, providing them with the opportunity to access a vast range of information, independently and quickly.


Who is Taha Hussein?

Taha Hussein was born on the 14th November 1889, in Al-Menya province, Upper Egypt . He was the seventh of thirteen children, in a lower middle-class family. At a very early age, he contracted a simple eye infection and due to faulty treatment by an unskilled local practitioner, was blinded, causing him great anguish throughout his life.

He attended the Kuttab (a school where children learn the Holy Quran, as well as reading and writing) and later joined Al- Azhaar University , where he acquired a thorough knowledge of religion and Arabic literature in the traditional manner. He felt deep discontent with the narrow thinking and conservatism of his tutors.

University education

In 1908, he learned of the foundation of a new secular university as part of a national effort to promote education in Egypt under the British occupation. Taha Hussein was determined to join the new student body. Although he was blind and poor, he overcame many obstacles, and was admitted into the university. Taha Hussein stated later in his book Al-Ayam (The Days) that the doors of knowledge were, from that day onwards, widely opened to him. He was the first graduate of his university to receive a Ph.D. on the skeptic poet and philosopher Abu Ala'a Al-Ma'arri.

Marriage

Again with difficulty, Taha Hussein was sent to study in France. His blindness caused him continuing anguish, aggravated by a careless brother, presumably sent to take care of him. It was in France that he met his 'sweet voice', Suzanne, who read to him, since not all the references he needed were available in Braille. She later became his wife, his mentor, advisor, assistant, mother of his children, great love and best friend. He stated that since he first heard that 'sweet voice' anguish never entered his heart. After his death, she wrote Ma'ak (With you), published in Arabic, a touching remembrance of their life together.

La Sorbonne Ph.D.

Taha Hussein specialized in literature and classical studies and was again the first Egyptian, and the only member of the mission, to succeed in obtaining his Bachelor of Arts from Montpellier University , and then his Ph.D. from the Sorbonne. His doctoral dissertation, written in 1917, was on Ibn Khaldun, the fourteenth century Arab historian and the founder of sociology.


Who is eligible?

TH Library users are divided into four groups. Each group is provided with the most up-to-date assistive technology to meet their needs.

  • Legally blind;
  • The partially blind (must submit a medical or governmental certificate of proof in order to obtain a BA membership card for the TH Library);
  • Both legally deaf and blind; and
  • Users with reading disabilities preventing them from reading standard printed material.

Location & Hours

The Taha Hussein Library is located in the entrance level (level E) and open Saturdays 12 noon to 4 pm; and Sunday to Thursday 9am to 4pm. Fridays are closed.

Contact Us

By phone:
+203 483 9999 extension 1500
By mail:
Bibliotheca Alexandrina
Attn: Taha Hussein Library
P.O.Box 138, Chatby
Alexandria 21526, Egypt
By email: tahahussein@bibalex.org
By fax: When faxing an inquiry or suggestion, please include a fax cover sheet with the subject Taha Hussein Library .
Our fax number is +203 487 8926.


Rules & Regulations

Standard BA rules and regulations are applied in the TH library, as well as some additional rules:

  • All services are available for both members and non-members free of charge;
  • Training courses are only available for annual members;
  • Computers can be reserved for a duration of two hours;
  • Vandalism and abuse of the TH library is forbidden; and
  • Study rooms may be reserved daily for a maximum of two hours.

Future Plans

In the past, the idea of a digital library for the blind, in Egypt , was merely a dream. Now this dream has come true. And tomorrow's dreams may also come true if we continue with the ambition we take from our users. If you would like to support the BA and give a part of history, please contact us.