Preserving the collection at the Maalim Idris Library

  • Investment
  • Year
  • Project coordinator
    Scott Resse, Zanzibar institute of Archival Records (ZIAR) and Zanzibar Comorian Trust (ZCT)
  • Collaborators
    Whiting Foundation


Zanzibar institute of Archival Records (ZIAR) and Zanzibar Comorian Trust (ZCT) along with Mr. Scott Reese have proposed to preserve the collection of manuscripts and printed material of the Maalim Idris Library. Maalim Idris was a prominent Zanzibari religious leader, a teacher, a writer and a scholar, who worked for the preservation of Islamic heritage and hence had a huge impact on the local Zanzibari community. His collection is a culmination of many historical libraries with works collected over the course of 50 years. Material from scholarly libraries from the local Zanzibari families and books and other material from his own Mosque in Zanzibar Stone Town make the collection unique and valuable.

The collection currently is in danger of getting damaged due to pests, humidity, and it also has the problem of water damage in the rainy season. The activities proposed will be focussed on the stabilization and treatment of the material and then storing the material in safe boxes away from light and humidity. These activities will be covered in around 40 weeks and in four phases. 2 archivists from ZIAR and 6 trainees from ZIAR and ZCT are involved in the project. The concrete outcome of the project will be the preservation of the manuscripts, books and other printed material from the Maalim Idris Library collection in Zanzibar by making the collections available to the general public in the archives.