A post on an IREX “global libraries” blog from 2011 sums up the many of the problems with Egypt’s public libraries of recent years — a few giant, pretty institutions with decent funding — such as Biblioteca Alexandrina, the al-Ma3di library — that are largely cold and inaccessible (and in affluent areas), rather than a larger number of community libraries.
In Egypt, occasionally non-governmental organizations have stepped forward to create neighborhood libraries. Last year, the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) launched an initiative to establish five public libraries in under-served neighborhoods. While they don’t look as pretty as the Biblioteca Alexandrina, they get inside neighborhoods and bring books to people.
Read more about it at: http://arablit.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/design-for-baghdads-new-mega-library/