Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid issues decree establishing largest library in Arab world

The Dh1 billion Mohammed bin Rashid Library will overlook the Dubai creek and hold more than 1.5 million volumes, 1 million audio books and 2 million e-books and cover over one million square feet across seven stories.

An illustration of the Mohammed bin Rashid Library. The library will overlook the Dubai Creek and be seven storeys tall. Wam
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ABU DHABI // A decree to establish a Dh1 billion library in Dubai has been issued by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

The Mohammed bin Rashid ­Library will hold more than 1.5 million volumes, 1 million audio books and 2 million e-books, making it the world’s largest electronic collection and the biggest library in the Arab World.

‘We want this library to serve as a cultural forum, an incubator for knowledge and a civilisation centre in the region,’’ said Sheikh Mohammed, adding that the library would play a part in the promotion of reading as well as contributing to the development of the country.

“The knowledge provided by the library will encourage the movement of authoring and translation, bring intellectuals and thinkers closer, and spread the culture of dialogue, tolerance and acceptance of others,” he said.

Overlooking Dubai Creek in the Al Jaddaf area, the book-shaped library will cover more than 92,000 square metres, be seven storeys tall and have children’s, Arabic, international, business and media sections to make reading accessible to all.

It will include a centre for conservation and restoration of historical manuscripts, and a museum section displaying rare ­artefacts from the Maktoum family collection.

Plans for the future library – which will be able to accommodate more than 42 million visitors a year – include hosting more than 100 cultural and intellectual events each year in its seminar and conference rooms.

The law also set up the MBR Library Foundation, which will be responsible for running, promoting and making the library into the Arab World’s largest knowledge incubator. Chairing the foundation’s board will be Mohammed Ahmed Al Murr, former Speaker of the FNC and chairman of the Dubai Cultural Council as well as an Emirati short-story writer.

The project, which is scheduled to open at the end of next year, was first announced by Sheikh Mohammed in February at the launch of the Year of Reading, declared for this year by the President, Sheikh Khalifa.