On Sunday 25 March, Minister of Culture Ines Abdel-Dayem inaugurated three new halls for the arts, music and the blind on the third floor of the Egyptian National Library and Archives on the Nile corniche in Cairo.
The inauguration took place in the presence of head of the Egyptian National Library and Archives Ahmed El-Shouky, head of the General Egyptian Book Organisation Haitham El-Hajj, MP Khaled Hanafy, and head of the central administration of the Egyptian National Library and Archives Nader Abdel-Dayem.
The opening ceremony began with the screening of a documentary that traces the steps of the project’s development, which started in 2008, until the preparation stage and opening. This was followed by a tour of the three halls, the Museum of Musical Instruments, and the activities hall, which includes rare recordings of many of the Egyptian arts.
Abdel-Dayem also viewed the process of digitisation of heritage records using modern technology.
The visit was concluded with an inspection of the hall of the blind, which contains special devices to assist people with visual disabilities to use the computer through audio programmes and Braille.
El-Shouky said that the hall of the blind includes 21,000 audio books in addition to a special Braille printer, and that the Arts Hall contains 40,000 audio mediums, including CDs and cassettes.
The hall of the blind is equipped with computers with special programmes in addition to dozens of books printed in Braille in various fields of knowledge. The second hall features the creativity of Egyptian artists in the field of fine arts, and is considered an extension of the library of art created by the library in 1950 in a pavilion at the Museum of Modern Egyptian Art.
The library was moved in 1964 to Champollion Street in Qasr Al-Nile, and then to its current location at the National Library in 1979. Work is underway to transfer the rest of its holdings to the new hall and include all areas of plastic arts along with a number of master's and doctorate researches.
The third hall has been allocated for oral heritage, which includes a collection of discs and cassette tapes, musical references and specialised encyclopaedias of all kinds, along with Western and Arab rare artworks.
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