My university, the American University in Cairo, is moving to a new campus for the fall semester. The old campus is in downtown Cairo, near the Egyptian Museum and close to the Nile River. The new campus is in (the euphemistically named) New Cairo, east of downtown and in area that was all desert just a few years ago.
The city is apparently trying to push development outside of town. AUC’s new 260-acre campus will be just one of several large universities in New Cairo. The campus’s new amenities include on-campus student housing and athletic facilities, previously unavailable downtown.
This is a particularly significant move for the library, whose old facility was a 30-year old building bursting at the seams. The new library is centered around a learning commons and is attempting some new reference service models (more on that in a future post). The learning commons should be a perfect fit for AUC students, most of whom are Egyptian, and who seem to thrive on group work and interaction.
We’re also gaining classroom space. Instead of one lab with outdated machines, we’ll have two large labs with updated equipment, as well as other smaller labs around the building.
The library is finalizing its move. The books are already on the new campus. Offices and computers are moving next week.
Now that I’m back from my summer leave, I expect to be spending some time settling into the new library. Many of my colleagues, especially those who have spent entire careers at AUC’s downtown campus, are frazzled. I knew about this move when I accepted my offer to start at AUC last fall, so I’m eager for our new facility.
I’m also prepared to laugh at the inevitable debacles.