Fujairah libraries seeing more new faces as UAE’s Year of Reading takes hold

The library in Fujairah city saw a 70 per cent increase in visitors in the first half of this year.

Children attend a reading session at the Fujairah Culture and Knowledge Development Centre. Courtesy Photo
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FUJAIRAH // The Year of Reading is taking off in Fujairah, with the public library seeing a 70 per cent increase in visitors.
About 1,300 people visited the library in the first half of this year, up hugely on the same time last year.
The library administrator credited the increase to the many Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development initiatives designed to encourage reading.
"Numbers of children, young adults and grown ups had definitely increased during the past months, especially those above 13 years old," said Asma Al Yamahi, a librarian at Fujairah Culture and Knowledge Development Centre, in the city.
"During summertime, children have the opportunity to read and write stories, which will help in developing their imagination and creativity."
President Sheikh Khalifa announced 2016 as the Year of Reading to make the UAE a capital of culture and knowledge through getting more people reading books.
A regular at the Fujairah library said the increase in visitors was encouraging.
"I visit the library quite often. [Before] I didn't know that it has so many options and resources. I found out about it when we came on a school trip six months ago," said Kareem Ahmad, a 14-year-old Egyptian pupil who moved to Fujairah last year.
"I can read anything I want and the atmosphere is so encouraging; my best topics are about other cultures and space."
The library has about 30,000 books and can get books that are unavailable within 48 hours.
"I spend around one to two hours reading every time I visit the library, and sometimes I like to do my homework there too," said Kareem.
"I always encourage my friends to come with me to the library and most of them do."
Another visitor said that her parents organised a reading contest between her and her sister.
"Each year our parents set for us a new goal that we should achieve and since the country announced the Year of Reading, they took this opportunity and created a reading contest for us," said Amna Al Zarouni, a 16-year-old Emirati.
"Me and my sister didn't like the idea at first but when we started to visit the library and look into all these books, it became more like a habit for us.
"It's better than reading online for many reasons, one of them being while searching for a particular book another one may catch your eye and you end up reading something different and opting new knowledge."
In Masafi, 1,200 people have visited the public library this year and 15 reading initiatives are being organised each month for children aged over 5.
"Building enthusiasm for reading is one of our main goals and duties. We offer about 15 various activities each month such as reading is happiness, where we read happy stories to children and young adults," said Ebrahim Al Shamsi, deputy director of the Masafi culture and knowledge development Centre.
"Read to your Children is where we work with the parents and encourage them to read for their own kids and Young Writers includes teaching children how to write stories."