In the ancient Malian city of Timbuktu, thousands of scientific and religious texts have been hidden for centuries. This program examines the rich history and variety of Timbuktu’s lost libraries. Scholars from across Africa and the Western world elucidate how valuable these fragile treasures are to our knowledge of Africa, Islam, and the growth of literacy outside the Western tradition. The program also asks: how differently would Africa have developed if the libraries hadn’t been forced underground by colonial interests? A BBC Production.