Ninety years after his death, the role of Ali Emiri, who spearheaded the tradition of collecting books for libraries, is still serving as a guide for librarians in the 21st century.
Having been born in 1857 in Diyarbakir, where he received his primary education, Emiri worked as a state employee for thirty years in different parts of the Ottoman Empire including: Thessaloniki, Adana, Elazig, Erzurum, Yanya, Ishkodra, Aleppo and Yemen. Over the years, he bought books for his unique collection. When he retired, collecting books turned from a hobby which occupied Emiri's leisure time to a true profession filled with ambition.
He had settled in Istanbul in 1908 when the Ottoman Empire was going though turbulent times. However, the political transformation of the era did not attract his interest at all, rather he chose to continue to collect antique books.
When asked how he was able to form an unprecedented library which composed of 25,000 books including 'Divan-i Lugat-i-Türk', the first Turkish dictionary, he said "My curiosity on books began when I was nine. For the last 60 years, neither my day is a normal day nor my night a normal night. All my life was spent chasing this curiosity."
He went on as saying "I heard from my family that once there was a library in Diyarbakir with over a million books. This inspired and motivated me. I know I will never have such a large library but within my capabilities I would form a library containing 15-20 thousand books. I have been working for this burning ambition since I was nine. I have spent all my money on collecting books."
Kuzey News AgencyLast Mod: 15 Şubat 2014, 11:04