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Resources to help young people become citizen activists

Original News Stories and Sources from 2011 Revolution in Egypt

Teacher Linda Williams writes on our Facebook page:
"Wonderful story. I intend to use it with my reading class. Do you know where I could get the "news story" of the same event? I'd like the kids to read from two different perspectives. Wonderfully written, and the artwork/pictures are amazing :) Such a great thing to save the Alexandria Library!"

Great idea – and here are many varied and original news sources and reports - 

Timeline: Egypt’s Revolution
January 25 – February 14, 2011

Bibliotheca Alexandrina


Saving Alexandria
Ingrid D. Rowland
New York Review of Books
February 1, 2011

Alexandria youth protecting library from looters
The Guardian (U.K. newspaper)
Feburary 1, 2011

CNN video interview with Bilbiotheca Alexandrina Director Ismail Serageldin
February 7, 2011

Library of Alexandria saved by the youth of Egypt
The Long Now Foundation
February 17, 2011

Egypt’s Jewel of a Library Reopens Thanks to Demonstrators
February 24, 2011

How the Bibliotheca Alexandrina is supporting the 2011 Egyptian Revolution
American Libraries (Magazine of the American Library Association
October 11, 2011



Discussion ideas:

  • Quilt Bullet 1 What would you do to protect the books you love?
  • Quilt Bullet 2 What would you do to protect a building that you love in your city – your school, your house, a special place?
  • Quilt Bullet 3 When do you think it is worth risking danger, destruction, even death, for what you believe?
  • Quilt Bullet 4 Imagine what it would be like to live in a society without freedom of speech. Make some rules for your class for one day: list some subjects or words or ideas that no one can talk about (recess, lunch, a popular singer). If anyone uses those words or starts talking about those ideas or people, that student must sit in the back of the room without participating in the class for 15 minutes.
  • Quilt Bullet 5 Do you think that the protestors in Egypt might have decided not protest if they realized that one year later they would still not have a new government?
  • Quilt Bullet 5 How does this protest in Alexandria, Egypt, - and the larger ones in Cairo - compare to protests you know about in the United States?
  • Quilt Bullet 6 What would you like to change about rules and laws here – at your school? In your city? In your country? How could you go about recommending or making those changes?
  • Quilt Bullet 7 Do you think there is anything that American students can do to help or to support Egyptians?
  • Quilt Bullet 8 What do you think Egyptian young people and students should do now? What do you wish for Egyptian students now?
  • Quilt Bullet 9 Where is your favorite library? Why is it your favorite?



  • Quilt Bullet 1 Make a list of your 5 favorite books. Why are they important to you? How did you find these books? (Library? Librarian? School? Teacher? Relative? Friend? Bookstore? Other?)
  • Quilt Bullet 2 Answer these questions for yourself and then ask your classmates or family the same questions to see if you agree.
    Have you ever loved a book so much that you felt that you wanted to ask every person you knew to read it too?
    Do you know what made you love that favorite book so much?
    Have you read your favorite book(s) more than once?
    Would you like to read them again?
    If you don’t have a favorite book, what would you like to read (what topic or what kinds of characters)?
  • Quilt Bullet 3 In ancient Alexandria all the 'books' were written on scrolls. Imagine reading a book that you had to roll out on a table in order to turn the 'pages.' Make a scroll book using a story that you create. Illustrate it. Remember that you have to show where one page ends and another begins, perhaps with pictures or special symbols. Look up pictures of Japanese scrolls or the Bayeux Tapestry from France to get some ideas. When you are satisfied with your scroll, attach small sticks (slightly taller than the scroll paper) at either end for easier rolling and unrolling. Scroll
  • Quilt Bullet 4 Ancient Egyptians often made small-sized clay dioramas depicting their daily life. The clay was painted in muted brown tones for further delineation. Make a small diorama showing some aspect of your daily life that has to do with books and your library. If you do not have clay, use construction paper and tape, or whatever materials you can find.
  • Quilt Bullet 5 Make a self-portrait paper doll using collage as directed on the website. If your class participates in this activity, exhibit the dolls holding hands together. Make a exchange with another group of students in your school or even in a school in a different city or country. Send your self-portraits to the website so that they can hold hands with others from far away!
  • Quilt Bullet 6 Make a group collage mural about libraries for your own school or public library. Send a picture of your mural to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will post it on our website.
  • Quilt Bullet 7 Tell us what you liked (or even what you did not like) about Hands Around the Library. Write your comments, evaluations or a book report for us to post. Share with us what you learned and send us your questions. If we don't know the answers we'll find someone who does! Write to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Quilt Bullet 2 Ask the librarian in your school or your town what you could do to support the library. Tell us what you do and send pictures for us to post on our website.