Fund-raising for Burnt ‘Al-Saeh Library’ Expands to Cities in US, Crowd-funding Campaign

The Jan. 3 arson attack on the historic al-Saeh Library bookshop in Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli — which destroyed thousands or perhaps tens of thousands of books and manuscripts — has galvanized support in Lebanon and worldwide:

1503452_686604288028379_112649822_nA crowd-funding campaign on Zoomaal aims to raise USD $35,000 in order to repair the library, buy back rare books, and install security equipment. Chief Zoomaalian Officer Abdallah Absi said that the site aims to “support Arab creativity and make the Arab world a hub for innovation. Promoting education and supporting Arts & culture are some of the areas we proudly cover, hence our support for the Al-Saeh library.”

Maya Chami, with Zoomaal business development, said that all funds are going directly to the Greek Orthodox priest Father Ibrahim Srouj, the proprietor of al-Saeh.

Chami said that most donations after the arson were book donations. “There were some politicians who offered financial support to rebuild it, but the over-all decision was that Father Sarrouj did not want the restoration to be linked to anything political or religious…. As such, the only way to get the funding, without political/religious affiliations, was through crowd funding.”

There are other campaigns, Absi said, but “we are all working in harmony. We take care of the funding, while other initiatives take care of other aspects, like book donations, cleaning the space from the burnt material, etc.”

Book donations are being organized through several campaigns, focusing on book donors in the U.S. and Lebanon, although Aramex is also apparently shipping donations to al-Saeh — from anywhere in the world — for free.

Various cities, Lebanon:

There are a number of drop-off locations in Lebanon, which can be found here, and organizers were requesting more. If you would like to gather books, email alsaehbookdrive[at]

Michigan, USA:

Our Lady of Redemption Melkite Church 29293 Lorraine Ave, Warren, MI 48093. Available 9am – 5pm Monday – Friday. Organizers ask: “Please use the entrance of the hall covered by the awning.”

Wayne State University Jan 21-22. Organizers say: “Wayne State Campus in front of the UGL.”

Cloud Nine Hookah Lounge 25633 W Warren St, Dearborn Heights, MI 48127 Jan. 23- 24. Please contact Jessica with questions. jessicat.haj[at]

Florida, USA:

University of Miami – University Center (UC) 1st Floor 1300 Miller Dr, Coral Gables, FL 33146. Available from Jan 13-20.