Sharjah beach library
Sharjah has launched mobile beach library to promote reading in the Emirate. Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: Going for a swim, spare sometime to read a books as the first beach library has been launched in Sharjah.

As part of the yearlong celebrations of Sharjah World Book Capital 2019, and in a bid to promote the habit of reading amongst members of the community, the Sharjah World Book Capital Office (SWBC Office) has launched the ‘Sharjah Beach Library’ initiative to lure beachgoers into the world of written words.

The latest initiative was launched on Friday, at Al Khan Beach, in collaboration with Knowledge without Borders (KwB), Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), Sharjah Municipality and Sharjah Ladies Club (SLC).

The library at Al Khan Beach is filled with more than 100 titles in various languages covering a variety of topics and caters to all age groups. More of such libraries are scheduled to be set up on the various pristine beaches in the Emirate. This initiative is the latest effort in the realisation of Sharjah’s vision to make books accessible to all segments of society.

The launch event at Al Khan Beach included a series of entertainment and cultural activities that witnessed a big turnout. Beachgoers had the opportunity to participate in games and competitions. The lifeguard posts on the beach were decorated with illustrations by six artists of different nationalities that were inspired by international children’s books and stories that are set in the sea.

On the sidelines of the launch, Knowledge Without Borders inaugurated a ‘Mobile Beach Library’ in continuation of its 2010 ‘Mobile Library’ initiative. A mobile library attached to a 4X4 car will be visiting different beaches in Sharjah.

Marwa Al Aqroubi, Project Manager of SWBC said the beach library initiative is in line with the Emirate’s mission to promote a culture of reading among all members of society.

She said: “This initiative is the product of various cultural institutions and partners coming together to realise the cultural vision for Sharjah set by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, which was recognised internationally when the Emirate was crowned World Book Capital 2019 .”

The Project Manager pointed out that the ‘Sharjah Beach Library’ project is one of the activities celebrating UNESCO’s World Book Capital title, and part of its six main guiding themes that include nurturing a culture of reading and raising community awareness about its importance.

Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of Knowledge Without Borders, said the initiative is keen on participating in various cultural events in Sharjah. She noted that the Sharjah World Book Capital 2019 title encouraged all cultural bodies in the emirate to double down on their efforts to promote a culture of reading and reach a wider segment of the community.

“The ‘Mobile Beach Library’ project comes as part of our ongoing mission to not only reach a wider segment of society but also break the stereotypes about culture and reading being confined to a traditional setting. We believe that books need to be a constant companion at all times, due to its importance in expanding knowledge and broadening horizons,” she concluded.

Ahmad Obaid Al Qaseer, COO of Shurooq, said the Sharjah Beach Library initiative reflected the illustrious cultural history of Sharjah, noting that the initiative would encourage different bodies in the emirate to initiate creative projects for the public.

He said: “Shurooq is keen on supporting such initiatives that will bolster Sharjah’s status as an incubator of creativity and culture in the region. The cultural growth of the emirate, which spans more than 40 years, is the fruit of the collaboration of all cultural bodies, and Shurooq will spare no efforts in activating partnerships with cultural institutions in its furtherance.”

Khawla Al Sarkal, Director General of SLC, said that apart from promoting the important habit of reading, the Sharjah Beach Library provided a window for visitors as well as residents into the Arab and Emirati cultures and heritage.

She added: “At SLC, we want ladies and children to benefit from this important initiative. It provides them with the unique opportunity to find the titles they want on subjects of interest to expand their knowledge in various fields, in addition to leading a healthy lifestyle at the same time.”

Ali Obaid Al-Hammoudi, Director of Corporate Interaction Department, Sharjah Municipality said: “The Sharjah Beach Library initiative is the latest cultural jewel added to the Sharjah’s crown. It gives a contemporary and creative element to the pristine beaches and the aesthetics of the emirate, which is known worldwide for its magnificent architectural beauty, and diversifies Sharjah’s public services to benefit all members of society.”

Sharjah World Book Capital

The committee at UNESCO named Sharjah the World Book Capital 2019 in appreciation of its vital role in supporting books and promoting reading. The year-long celebration programme was inaugurated on 23 April 2019.

Since 2001, the World Book Capital’s international committee, which comprises representatives from the International Publishers Association (IPA) and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), receives and evaluates entries submitted by cities to select the World Book Capital City for a one-year period.