- "We can roam the bloated stacks of the Library of Alexandria, where all imagination and knowledge are assembled, we can recognize in its destruction the warning that all we gather will be lost."
- –Alberto Manguel
In the base game, this is one of the worst Wonders in the game. It is unlocked by a late Classical Era civic and grants Eurekas to all Ancient and Classical Era technologies, which most likely are already boosted or available to you. Its other boosts are way too insignificant to justify the Wonder cost. Theoretically, the only case in which the wonder is worth it is when a civilization is lagging severely in tech development, while at the same time it has very strong Culture and has managed to unlock the Great Library relatively early. However, you always start with more Science per turn than Culture (except when playing as Trajan), Campus is unlocked way before Theater Square, and the Eureka that boosts Writing (the tech is used to unlock Campus) is almost always guaranteed while the Inspiration that boosts Drama and Poetry (the civic is used to unlock Theater Square) is hard and expensive to obtain. All in all, the situation where you are so far ahead on the Civic tree compared to the Technology tree in late Classical to make this Wonder work is unheard of, if not downright impossible. The only use for this Wonder in the base game is the 2 Great Works of Writing slots, so it actually helps Cultural civilizations more than Scientific ones, but still, it should be almost always at the bottom of the priority list.
From Rise and Fall and beyond, you will get a random boost for the rest of the game as other players are also likely gaining more Great Scientists than yourself, which actually makes the Wonder somewhat decent. It helps Culture-focused civilizations advance faster on the Technology tree while can relatively freely develop their Culture and Tourism foundation. If you are playing as a civilization who likes putting down a lot of Campuses and go for a Scientific Victory, again, since you are most likely getting the majority of Great Scientists, this Wonder basically becomes the waste of Production it was in the base game, so ironically, this "Library" is worthless to Scientific players. Even China, who, on paper may get more out of this wonder than most due to their boosts being 50% rather than 40%, should not build this Wonder unless they are going for a Victory that is not Scientific (most suitably, Cultural).
Civilopedia entry Edit
It is generally assumed that the Royal Library of Alexandria was founded at the beginning of the 3rd Century BC during the reign of Ptolemy II after his father had built the Temple of the Muses on the site. The original collection is attributed to Demetrius Phalereus, a student of Aristotle’s (supposedly the famed philosopher’s own scrolls served as the seed); with the patronage of Ptolemy’s successors, the holdings eventually reached between 400 and 700 thousand papyrus scrolls and various vellum codices. Expansion of the collection became an obsession for some of the rulers; by decree of Ptolemy III, all visitors to the city had to surrender any writings in their possession, which were copied for the Library. Sources differ widely on responsibility for the fiery destruction of the Great Library’s collection of texts; usual suspects listed include Julius Caesar’s troops in 48 BC, Roman Emperor Aurelian c. 270 AD, and others. But it does appear that the last vestiges were burned in 391 at the orders of the Patriarch Theophilus to eradicate pagan influences in Egypt – not the last time Christians would burn books.