Dubai reveals plans for largest library in Arab world

Friday 29/01/2016
Toward making ‘reading a part of the culture’

DUBAI – Dubai is launching a new major initiative with the construction of the world’s largest electronic library and the largest library in the Arab world.

The building that is expected to hold more than one million books will open in the Emirate of Dubai in 2017.

Being built at a cost of Dh1 billion in Dubai’s Al Jadaf area, the Mohammed bin Rashid Library will contain more than 1.5 million books, 1 million audio books and 2.5 million videos.

The library, which is built to resemble an open book, will be seven levels high.

It was formally launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, on Monday.

The Library aspires to preserve Emirati culture, promote the Arabic language, and publish new titles and a contemporary Arabic dictionary along with initiatives to translate 25,000 titles into Arabic to improve access to knowledge.

Spread over 1 million square feet, there will be specialised libraries for children, youth, Arabic literature, an international section, business, media and a popular library aiming to make reading accessible to all.

The Emirate’s Municipality also announced plans to host more than 100 cultural and intellectual events annually in the building’s seminars and conference rooms.

Construction work has begun on site at the centre that will be built to accommodate 2,600 visitors at any time, said Hussain Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality.

Also coming soon are Library kiosks on Dubai beaches, where visitors will be able to borrow books to read while sunbathing. There will be eight kiosks across Kite Beach and Al Mamzar Beach.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has also asked the public to share suggestions with him on how to make “reading a part of the culture, identity and life of our generations” in the UAE.

Those who have any suggestions can simply tweet them using the hashtag #ReadingYear.

President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan declared 2016 the Year of Reading, while in September last year Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid launched the Arab Reading Challenge, which runs until April.