United Bank’s chairman, Mohamed Ashmawy, inaugurated Saturday the first library in Egypt specialised in the field of Islamic banking.
The United Bank’s library is considered the largest such library in Egypt. It has nearly 4,750 books, references and dissertations. The library’s categories vary between macro, microeconomics, and forensic sciences. It includes legal encyclopedias, legislative studies, human sciences, management sciences and human development.
The library covers banking history in Egypt from the early 20th until present day, also providing context of Egyptian history in general. The library has a unique and specialised set on Islamic finance and economics and Sharia-compliant financial transactions criteria.
The library was computerised with a specialised system to maintain books and publications data, to ease identification and access to its archives. Furthermore, the system records data concerning all of United Bank’s publications, articles, news and advertisements published in regards to the bank since its establishment in 2006.
The system also allows for a group of publications to be summarised through a variety of means, including print, visual or audio, enabling users to access all information, browse the internet and all publications, tapes and CDs included within the library.
A specialised general secretary has been appointed to be responsible for managing the library, adding all data and arranging books, documents, volumes and publications.
The library will open its doors to visitors after working hours, and be staffed for assistance.
Ashmway commented on the opening, saying the idea of reviving the bank’s library had severa dimensions. “On top is the cultural one,” he said, “through spreading knowledge either on a general or a specialised professional level, especially since we are moving now towards approving the bank’s financial products compliance with Sharia.”
The second dimension, Ashmawy said, is recording events within the domestic and global banking sectors and providing associated analysis.
The library will prepare research, studies, photo collections, documentaries for the banking sector development in Egypt and the world. This comes in addition to an ambitious plan to sign a protocol of cooperation with well-known domestic and international libraries such as the AUC, the Library of Alexandria and Al-Ahram Institution Library.
Ashmawy said the library possesses a “unique and carefully selected set of books, publications, volumes, CDs and tapes, which were collected throughout years and the user can borrow and read developing his general knowledge as well as using the specialised information to assist him in enhancing his professional performance.”
He added that the decision to revive the United Bank’s library came after extensive preparation, including finding a location suiting the library’s size and contents, selecting a computer system, conducting an inventory of available books, establishing a programme to update library with the latest publications, and appointing the library’s general secretary. The most important preparatory step, Ashmway said, was the establishment of a Shariaa Supervisory Authority, which was authorised to match the financial products with Shariaa rules.
United Bank has been keen since its establishment to spread knowledge between beneficiaries, especially in issues related to Sharia compliant financial transactions, Ashmway added.