Prepare to be amazed – it’s been a long time coming, but, finally, the incredible new Mohammed Bin Rashid Library is set to open its doors to the public this Thursday 16 June 2022.
From humanoid robot storytellers and sensory pods, to peaceful study sanctuaries, tranquil word gardens and of course literally millions of inspirational books, this unique structure is dedicated to nurturing knowledge, culture and imagination in the UAE.
Built to the tune of Dh1 billion, this is no ordinary community library. For a start, it is architecturally stunning: the building itself is designed with a nod to the X-shape of a traditional book stand or ‘Rahl’, the type of lectern that is conventionally used to rest the Qur’an or other holy books during recitation.
Beneath this impressive exterior is an absolute treasure trove of facts, culture, knowledge and ideas, which also blend the modern with the traditional.
Spread across seven floors and 54,000 square metres, the vast collection includes more than 1.1 million printed and digital books, around 73,000 music scores, 75,000 videos, approximately 13,000 articles, and more than 5,000 historical print and digital journals within an archive covering 325 years, along with about 35,000 print and digital newspapers from around the world, and nearly 500 rare collectibles.
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Open to everybody, anyone in the UAE can register and borrow from its vast array of tomes, and the library aims to provide a platform for intellectual, literary and imaginative minds across the region and the world.
As His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said on the occasion of the library’s inauguration:
“Our goal is to illuminate the human mind.”
But what can parents expect if they bring their families for a visit to the library? Here’s what’s in store for children, teens and parents at the new Mohammed Bin Rashid Library…
A Parent’s Guide to the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library
As with almost all cultural destinations in Dubai, the new Mohammed Bin Rashid Library is family friendly.
Aimed at children of ages 5 to 11 the Children’s Library features three play areas, a Hologram space, talking robots and a 17,000 different books for all ages, as well as atlases, magazines, comics, computer games and learning activities.
Whether children are just discovering books for the first time, studying for school exams or searching for something new to read, kids are sure to find something to spark their imaginations.
The library also offers a variety of collections for children of determination such as talking books, Braille books and sensory books.
The Young Adults Library
The Young Adults Library is aimed at ages 12 to 17 years old and with nearly 12,000 titles in the collection, the library offers one of the most extensive collections for young adults in the region. Books range from fantasy, science fiction and other novels, to biographies, books on art, culture, social sciences and sport, as well as comics, manga and graphic novels.
For those students who are unable to travel to the library, it also offers a comprehensive suite of digital services that you can access any time.
The library uses Pepper, the world’s first social humanoid robot, to provide assistance to the public.
Kids will love interacting with these friendly and helpful AI pals, which are programmed to be able to recognise faces and basic human emotions.
Ask one of the robot assistants to tell you about the building facilities, direct you to one of the collections or tell you more about library content, services or guidelines.
These friendly robots will even tell children’s stories. Each robot is also extremely energy efficient using a similar amount of energy as a lightbulb.
Peaceful reading nooks
The Mohammed bin Rashid Library has lots of great places to read or study, whether you’re doing school homework, academic studies, business research or simply looking for somewhere to read a good book.
Want an inspirational venue for your next study group? The Study Lounges are communal areas, available for anyone to use, according to space available, while the library has six Study Rooms can be reserved in advance for your next study or reading group meeting.
Each Study Room has seating for eight people and are equipped with study tables, free Wi-Fi and power sockets, while a shared photocopier and printer are available for your use in the Study Lounges. Once registered as a library member, you can reserve a Second Floor Study Room via the members’ My Library portal.
Treasures of the Library
The Treasures of the Library permanent exhibition on the Seventh Floor displays a fascinating collection of rare and old books, atlases, and manuscripts dating back to the 13th century. The collection includes unique copies of the Holy Quran, early print editions of literary classics and Latin translations of scholarly works from the Islamic Golden Age.
Among the rare exhibits is the first edition of Blaeu’s Atlas Maior the crowning achievement of the famous 17th century Dutch cartographer Johannes Blaeu. Containing approximately 600 individual maps, the atlas was published in 1662 in eleven volumes. Experts regard the Atlas Maior as the most lavish atlas ever produced and it is certainly one of the most beautiful.
The Treasures of the Library also holds a first edition of Napoleon’s Description de l’Égypte, an encyclopedic record of Egypt’s antiquities, natural history and 18th century nation state. The publication’s 34 volumes were produced by a team of hundreds of artists, scholars, engravers and other specialists during Napoleon Bonaparte’s 1798-1801 military campaign in Egypt. The Description de l’Égypte is considered one of the greatest achievements of French publishing and a valuable historical record of 18th century Egypt.
The Languages Garden
Set against the backdrop of the Dubai Creek, the Languages Garden celebrates the wisdom of the library’s founder His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai. In the garden, you will find 60 pillars displaying his quotes on leadership, government, nation building, learning and knowledge, translated into more than 170 modern and ancient world languages.
The library uses augmented reality and holographic technology to help share knowledge with visitors to the library.
There will be no waiting around to check out or return library books! A fully integrated library system allows members to search and request books via the library website, which are then retrieved by one of five robots in the library’s AutoStore and delivered to the information desk on the Ground Floor via monorail within minutes for members to check out. The AutoStore is capable of storing more than 900,000 books and library system can find and retrieve up to 125 books per hour.
In addition, self-checkout kiosks allow members to checkout their own books for reading. Members will be able to checkout their own books without the assistance of library staff and the system will automatically attribute those books to their membership account. Smart shelf units on the Ground Floor also allow members to return borrowed books directly to shelves, which are then registered as returned in the integrated library system.
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How to join the library
The Mohammed Bin Rashid Library is located in Al Jaddaf, near to the Creek Metro Station next to Dubai Creek.
Sign up to become a member of the library here.
Notes for schools and parents
Are you planning visits to the amazing new The Mohammed Bin Rashid Library? Do you want to share stories about your visits, your thoughts – and what you discovered and loved the most. Contact me at [email protected] and we will look to share your stories and pictures.
Prepare to be absolutely wowed!
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