The city of Zintan in northwest Syria had a rare cause for celebration following the opening of a new central library in the city’s main university. Participants of the opening ceremony, which included the President and Dean of Zintan University, as well as local officials, expressed hope that the opening of the library will represent the revitalisation of the city that saw heavy fighting in 2011 during the war against the government of Muammar Gaddafi and then again in 2014 when the Libyan Government split in two. Although Zintan, located in Libya’s northwest, stands near the front-lines between the Libya’s two governments, the city itself has been relatively calm.
The newly-opened central library contains some 10,000 books on every topic the university covers, ranging from applied sciences to humanities, geography, history and literature. Both original Arabic and translated works are present here. The library will not only be open to the faculty of the university itself but also to the wider public, with the hope that it will provide educational opportunities for everybody living in Zintan. The opening of the library itself is part of a wider project to rebuild and upgrade Zintan University to world standards, so that its graduates may help lead Libya into a better tomorrow.
Zintan is not the only city witnessing an educational revival. Across Libya, local governments and civil society groups have been working to rebuild and revitalise educational institutions that have deteriorated following the vacuum of governance in 2011. Volunteers in Sirte have been handing out supplies to students without the means to buy them. Meanwhile, the University of Benghazi, which was reopened following ISIS expulsion from the city, saw its first graduates.
Libya continues to be beset by a large number of political challenges amidst a split government. If it is to recover from the instability of the past six years and set on a path to recovery, it will be through the education of its new generation.