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In 1921, the “Great Library of Beirut” was founded, courtesy of Viscount Philip de Tarrazi (1865 – 1956) who donated to the Lebanese State his own ever-growing collection of printed documents and rare manuscripts. Located in the Parliament building, the National Library kept growing bigger and richer in collections.

It reached its golden era in 1940 and attracted intellectuals from all over the region.

Starting 1975, as the civil war broke out, the National Library functioned no more and suffered significant damages as well as acts of vandalism. The collections, or rather the ones that remained, were transferred, but not taken care of. Stored in cardboard boxes, the collections had to survive humidity, mold, and insects.

In 2000, the rehabilitation project of the National Library was launched. A more adapted space was chosen for the collections to be stored in.

The building of the Lebanese University’s old Faculty of Law in Sanayeh was chosen to become the future National Library. In October, 2005, an agreement was made between the Lebanese State and Qatar in order to receive a donation to finance the renovation and management of the location in Sanayeh.

In 2008, the National Library became a public institution attached to the Ministry of Culture.

On December 2010, construction works began in the location in Sanayeh, and they were completed in 2017.

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