The “Butterfly Effect,” a Library in Rural Idlib for Women and Children

A woman at the “Butterfly Effect” Library in Maarrat Misrin, rural Idlib – January 3, 2019 (Enab Baladi)

A woman at the “Butterfly Effect” Library in Maarrat Misrin, rural Idlib – January 3, 2019 (Enab Baladi)


Marah al-Ahmad, a young woman, frequents a library, long awaited by literature lovers and avid readers, in Maarrat Misrin, rural Idlib, becoming one of a group of women, targeted by the “Butterfly Effect” volunteering project, which is the name of none, but the library lately opened in the town.

On last December 19, a number of female volunteers announced the launch of a “low-budget” project, of an Arabian house, which furniture is made of war boxes and young women provided with books they collected in the town of Maarrat Misrin, to be a “preliminary” starting point for a library that already won the interest of a segment of the area’s students and those interested in reading.

Despite the simplicity of the library, there, I found the books I searched so long for in Idlib city, Marah al-Ahmad, a university student, told Enab Baladi.

The oriental touch about the library gave the readers a sense of repose, she pointed out.

Marah added that the best feature offered by the “Butterfly Effect” library is the ability to borrow books for free until finishing reading them, in addition to the diversity of the books it contains, for there are literary and scientific books, stories dedicated for children, novels and other publications.

An Attempt at Reviving Cultural Life

The “Butterfly Effect” is opened while containing no more than 100 books. Then, a donation campaign was announced, ending with a great demand on the part of the Arab Publishing Houses, as the Director of the Library Ruba Yassaine told Enab Baladi, for the number of the books went beyond 450 publications less than a month after the launch.

The director defined the target audience with women, who have an interest in reading, including students, in addition to children with the library’s department that offers recreational activities and rich scientific stories.

Ruba Yassine stressed the importance of such projects in the meantime despite the limited resources, particularly with the lack of “valuable” books in Northern Syria during the last years of war.

Since its opening, the “Butterfly Effect” is frequented everyday by 10 women and 20 children at an average rate; some read in the library while others borrow the books.

The library provides other services, including cultural sessions and discussions of books.

Lately, there was an increasing interest in the cultural sector in Idlib governorate through projects aiming at bridging the cultural vacuum effected by war.

Last month, “Violet” organization launched a campaign called “Share Your Book with Us,” seeking to enrich the city’s Cultural Center over a month’s period.

The campaign will continue until January 18, targeting individuals and publishing houses inside and outside Syria, Ibrahm Sarmini, the coordinator of the Protection Team in the organization, told Enab Baladi.

The civic organizations and local councils in Idlib have been focusing on activating the cultural dimension of Idlib city through the renovation of the Cultural Center and its stage, in addition to the opening of the National Museum in the city last August, after it was closed due to the military operations in the area and its becoming a target for looting, thefts and vandalism.

“Share Your Book with Us” Campaign Aims to Enrich the Library of Idlib’s Cultural Center

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