First Stack Books, Then Open Library

Submitted by Steven on Tue, 11/28/2000 - 22:44

If there is one thing we all learned in library school, it was that we should have all the books on the shelves before we open a new library. According to this story from the Daily Star, one library forgot this golden rule.\"The country’s first large-scale public library has been unofficially opened ­ at least one month before being ready to receive visitors.
Although thousands of books still need to be laminated, catalogued and shelved, the Beirut Municipality officially opened the library, which is located at the Basta-Bashoura Fire Department, on Sunday evening.\"
\"Beirut Mayor Abdel-Monem Aris, French Ambassador Philippe Lecourtier, Culture Minister Ghassan Salameh and other government officials attended the ceremony, which appeared to surprise library officials.\"

“When we open, we must be prepared to receive the public in an organized fashion, and not have to shut the door in peoples’ faces the next day,” said Najla Khoury, a member of ASSABIL-Friends of Public Libraries, the non-profit association that runs the library.\"

\"Offered the library’s 300-square-meter location by the municipality, ASSABIL’s role in the library’s creation has been considerable. Beginning in January 1997, the 13-member association raised book and furniture contributions and surveyed the surrounding community to assess people’s need for a library.\"

\"A number of local and international publishing houses have given the library their entire book catalogue this year, while a network of 25 small-scale public libraries in the country have agreed to participate in ASSABIL’s library activities.\"

\"But, much to the dismay of ASSABIL members, none of these groups were invited to Sunday’s opening, which was lined up just four days earlier.\"

\"The members said students, teachers, principals, volunteers and a number of Beirut mukhtars, who continue to devote time and effort to the library, should also have been invited.

“We understand that the municipality had its reasons for holding the opening now, but we only recognize this as a preliminary opening,” said Khoury on the association’s behalf.\"