Park pop-ups and a library on wheels are among the attractions of Abu Dhabi Reads, a campaign organised by the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge, or Adek, to celebrate UAE Reading Month.
The initiative is designed to foster reading as a daily habit across various community segments in the capital.
"People are never alone with a book,” said Sara Musallam, chairwoman at Adek. “Reading opens the mind to new perspectives and has proven to be a critical enabler in developing students’ knowledge and improving their cognitive and communication skills.
“In keeping with the national plan for reading, we are taking the Abu Dhabi Reads campaign to the community to foster the importance of reading and bring books closer to Abu Dhabi schools and the wider community, encouraging them to take up reading as a daily habit."
Abu Dhabi Reads comprises two main segments. A range of activities will be held at Umm Al Emarat Park from Friday. The events, taking place every Friday to Sunday in March, will feature reading and literature-related workshops including creative writing, bookmark design, public speaking, as well as puppet shows.
Children will also have the opportunity to engage in exciting and interactive storytelling sessions presented by Abu Dhabi authors.
The park pop-up is reserved exclusively for school trips on Friday mornings. It will be open to the general public from 5pm to 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and 3pm to 8pm on Sundays. The list of activities and workshops will be regularly updated on Adek’s website and social media accounts.
A mobile library will also tour Abu Dhabi schools, inviting students to exchange books with the community. Called Library on Wheels, the initiative prompts students to swap the books they’ve read with other titles. The Library on Wheels will move to key landmarks throughout the capital, giving readers the chance to exchange books and enjoy storytelling sessions.
Abu Dhabi Reads comes as part of the nationwide Reading Month initiative. The campaign has been running annually since 2017. This year, it is taking place under the slogan "UAE Reads". Various government and private entities, along with educational and cultural institutions, participate in the campaign every year.
The initiative aims to establish reading as a habit among 50 per cent of Emirati adults and 80 per cent of school students by the year 2026.
"The Reading Month is closely linked to the efforts of the UAE to establish a knowledge-based economy for the country’s progress and the well-being of its citizens and prepare for the future,” said Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth.
“Promoting a reading culture in society and driving initiatives aimed at raising the level of intellectual growth among its people are key priorities in the annual agenda of the government and private sectors in the UAE."
Al Kaabi stressed that the Reading Month doesn’t conclude after a month of reading activities, but is an ongoing movement to cultivate the habit of reading as a fundamental part of social development.
“The importance of reading not only determines the ability of an individual to acquire language skills but also contributes to their social and cognitive skills. Reading gives us a new perspective on things and an ability to analyse and critique everything.
"It is an essential part of learning and helps develop our ability to gain knowledge from around the world. It helps us make the right choices in life and develops our personality. Reading is the foundation of a knowledge-based society, which in turn helps build a knowledge-based economy."