Nablus Public Library opened in 1960 and is the largest public library in Palestine, with two floors of books and other resources for all ages. The library is used for residents’ pleasure reading pursuits, as well as the scholarly needs of researchers. A garden on the library’s grounds offers space for community events (on the day that we visited, the Algerian author Wasini Al A’raj was scheduled to speak that evening).
Like other public libraries we visited, Nablus Public Library uses the Dewey Decimal System to classify their materials. Books have handwritten call numbers on color-coded labels. On the second floor, we saw an audiovisual room under construction, which was set to be open soon for library users to view media and even create their own video projects.
The Nablus municipality provides a budget for new books, but staff told the delegation that it’s not enough for their collection. They receive donations from universities, and they purchase books from local sellers. The collection includes non-circulating doctoral theses donated by masters and PhD students at nearby An-Najah National University. A primary obstacle to getting books is the Israeli ban on books from Lebanon, a major hub of the Arabic language publishing world.
The library’s Archives department holds a collection of newspapers dating back to the early 20th century, a prisoners’ library, municipal files, and magazines in many languages. Visitors can also view the private collection of an important Nablus educator, Qadri Tuqan, who wrote one of the first books about the Nakba.
For more information, visit their page on this website.