In short, 1.1 million printed and digital books, an amphitheatre, exhibitions and much more…
It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for… Mohammed Bin Rashid Library is opening its doors to the public this week on Thursday, June 16.
It is said to be the biggest library in the Arab world and even though the immense selection of books will draw all the bibliophiles to its doors, its seven floors contain much more.
What’s On was allowed a look inside the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library two days before the official opening.
Now, before you read on, do note that Mohammed Bin Rashid Library isn’t your usual library, so don’t expect the ‘Please Be Quiet’ signs. Instead, it’s a space where readers can come together and build up a conversation and leave knowing they’ve learned a few things.
But, of course, if you like to read in silence you can always find a nice quiet spot in the library to turn those pages.
Here’s what’s inside…
@whatsondubai Come with us inside the brand new Mohammed Bin Rashid Library 📖 it’s home to more than 1 million printed and digital books #whatsondubai #thingstododubai #mydubai #thingstodoindubai ♬ original sound – fvsndds
Mohammed Bin Rashid Library is located in Al Jaddaf and has a unique and eye-catching structure. It has been designed to resemble an open book sitting on a rehl (a traditional lectern which holds the Quran.)
It doesn’t look like it, but the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library has seven floors and spans 54,000 square metres.
Below is a peek at the seven levels inside the library
Level 7 – Exhibitions
The top floor of the library is an exhibition space which will hold a permanent exhibition featuring Quranic manuscripts, writing tools, ancient maps, old caricature magazines, women’s magazines, and more.
What nabbed our attention during our visit was the literature display composed of precious pieces of history that helped shaped the literary world. You will find the first issue of William Shakespeare’s second folio which contains 36 of his plays in this display.
Located close by are other literary works such as the first edition of poems by Emily Dickinson, the first edition of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, and much more.
This floor will also open its doors to temporary exhibitions. When it does open, there will be a photography exhibition highlighting the UAE’s rich history.
Level 6 – Business Library + Emirates Library
Level 6 is dedicated to Business which means if you want to get some research done, learn about some great business techniques or understand how the biggest CEO in the world started it all from scratch, this is the place to be.
It’s more than just a place for reading as there are a number of sitting spaces where you can get together for discussions. We were told you can even borrow laptops from the library.
On the opposite end of the Business Library is the Emirates Library which is a treasure trove of books written by Emirati and Arab writers about the UAE.
Level 4 – Conference Rooms
Level 4 is home to 12 conference rooms of different sizes. The biggest one can hold up to 24 and you’ll have everything you need from screens, notepads, etc and they come with great views of the Creek.
Level 2 – Study Rooms
No matter how you choose to study – solo or with a group, Mohammed Bin Rashid Library has a space to suit your requirements.
There are open spaces of different capacities where you can soak in the energy around you as you study, get your reading done or brainstorm.
PS – No, we didn’t skip Level 3 as it is dedicated to employees of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library.
Level 1 – Media and Arts Library, Maps and Atlases Library, Young Adults Library
Media and Arts Library
The Media and Arts section is packed with books on architecture, design, history of art, music, fashion, arts and crafts and more. Similar to other levels, there are places where you can sit and discuss with others or spots you can plug in your earphones and get lost in a book.
Soon, the Media and Arts Library will also screen theatre plays, documentary films, indie flicks and more. But that’s not all… we’ve also been told that a number of workshops will soon take place here and of course, we will share the list with you.
Young Adult Library
Have little ones who love manga and comics? Bring them to this library where they can most likely spend a number of hours reading or browsing.
Ground Floor – Periodicals Library, General Library, Children’s Library, Auditorium and Cafe
You’ll find a number of newspapers and magazines in this section of the Ground floor, and if you need anything specific, you can always ask the helpful staff to help you track something down.
The most colourful space not just on Level 1 but the entire Mohammed Bin Rashid Library structure is the Children’s Library.
Besides some great reads for kids from popular authors, pop-up books, interactive books and so on, there are also toys, slides, tents, colourful cushions, small rock climbing walls and more. Children will also be able to borrow iPads during their time in the library.
Here you will also find a kid-sized white robot who will help you help you find a book you need, read you a story, answer questions, and even take a photo. We’re pretty sure it’s going to be a huge hit with the kids.
On the ground floor, you will also find a big auditorium with comfortable white seats. We hope to see plenty of Indie films and documentaries being screened here but we can also picture HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and other signatories being a guest at world summits and government meetings.
Reception and Information Centre
The staff here at the reception and information centre will be able to guide you to where you need to go if you’re looking for something specific to read, but it is here where some never-seen-before book delivery system takes place.
If you want a book, the staff will help you put in the code for the book which will be delivered to you through some cutting-edge technology. The system, Telelift will use the code you’ve inputted into the system and will send a little robotic car to collect your book from the basement where all the books are stored. It is then deposited into a trolley system which will deliver the book to you on the ground floor in just three and a half minutes. The Mohammed Bin Rashid Library is the first to use this sort of technology. Wow.
The cafeteria is located on the ground floor and has snacks including sandwiches, croissants, cakes and healthy bowls. If you want to quench your thirst, there are soft drinks and a number of hot and cold beverages.
Outside, you’ll find a small amphitheatre which will be put to great use during the winter season in Dubai with views overlooking the Creek.
Any membership fees? Membership fees at the moment have not been announced but keep your eyes peeled to @mbrlae for updates.
How to get to Mohammed bin Rashid Library? If you’re driving, there is parking available right outside the library but if you’re heading there by public transportation, get off at Creek Station on the Green Line and you can either taxi it over (Dhs12 as it’s pretty close) or brave the heat and walk it.
Featured image: Emirates News Agency (WAM)
Article images: What’s On