library
Looking to get a library membership? These are all your options. Image Credit: Pexels

Dubai: Picture this – it is a calm, rainy evening, and you have decided to settle indoors with your favourite book.

From the modest library at school, to those of the future with book espresso machines, most provide their readers with the opportunity to sign up as members. This opens doors to exclusive services such as their premium online library, or more importantly, longer borrowing periods. In the UAE, book lovers have over 200 library locations to choose from.

Here is a list of all the libraries across the UAE that you can sign up for, regardless of the weather.

UAE’s Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development (MCKD)

Starting off, the MCKD operates the following public libraries across the UAE, which are accessible to both citizens and residents. These are located within their respective cultural centres, which host several culture and art related events, and can be contacted via their hotline 800-552255. Resources are available in both Arabic and English.

Membership requirements

Residents must provide a UAE residence visa that has been valid for at least one year before they can enjoy all services as a member.

Lifetime membership cost

• Children: Dh50

• Individuals: Dh100

• Families: Dh250

There are no renewal costs after the membership fee is paid the first time. This guarantees lifetime membership across all MCKD libraries.

Application procedure

The library membership application form requires you to upload a copy of your Emirates ID, and in the case of children (ages 12-18), their parents’ Emirates ID. It must be accompanied with a valid copy of your residence visa.

The online registration form can be found here: https://www.mckd.gov.ae/en/services/library-membership/

MCKD library locations:

Abu Dhabi Public Library

Location: National Theatre Building, 12th Street, Al Ethihad

Umm Al Quwain Public Library

Location: E11, Al Ittihad Road

Dibba Al Fujairah Public Library

Location: Dibba Al Fujairah

Dalma Public Library

Location: Dalma Island, Abu Dhabi

Ras-al-Khaimah Public Library

Location: Al Hisn Road

Ajman Public Library

Location: University Street, Near Khalifa Hospital, Al Jerf 2

Al Fujairah Public Library

Location: Merashid

Madinat Zayed Public Library

Location: Al Gharbia

Masafi Public Library

Location: E88, Masafi

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Public and private libraries across the UAE offer membership options. Image Credit: Pexels

Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism Libraries

Dar Al Kutub’s Library Management department is responsible for the public libraries listed below. Dar Al Kutub, which falls under the Department of Culture and Tourism, was established to preserve Arab and Islamic manuscripts on subjects such as literature, religion, science, and the arts. Hence, books can be found on these particular subjects.

Membership requirements

Only your Emirates ID is required, and for children (ages 15 and below), their parents’ Emirates ID.

Lifetime membership cost

• Adults: refundable deposit of Dh400

• Children: Free

This is a lifetime membership and is valid across all Dar Al Kutub libraries.

Application procedure

To apply for a membership card, fill in the online form here: www.library.dctabudhabi.ae. However, the refundable deposit must be paid in-person at any of the Dar Al Kutub branches.

Qasr Al Watan Library

Location: UAE Presidential Palace, Al Ras Al Akhdar

The library has a collection of books related to science, arts, history, geography, and the social, economic and political development of the country. Official and historical documents from local and international sources can also be found, along with the UAE Constitution and laws. Resources are available in English and Arabic.

Al Bahia Library

Location: 2nd Street, Al Bahia Park, Al Shahama

With over 30,000 books, the library is best known for the Children’s Library.

Al Wathba Library

Location: Al Rusoukh Street, Wathba Park

Carries over 35,000 publications in both Arabic and English.

Zayed Central Library

Location: Mohammad bin Khalifa Street, Al Mutawaa, Al Ain

The largest public library in Al Ain. It boasts over 100,000 works, from books for all ages, to scientific journals, scholarly works, and other academic publications.

Al Marfa Library

Location: Ghweifat International Highway, New Al Marfa

The collection of 20,000 expands across a wide range of subjects, from children and adult books, to scholarly works for researchers and academicians. There is also a special collection on the oil and gas industry. Another detail of Al Marfa Library is that it has a section dedicated to religious and political books.

Khalifa Park Library

Location: Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Street, Khalifa Park

It presents a massive collection of general and specific books, including theses for Masters and Doctoral students.

Sharjah Public Libraries

In 1925, Sheikh Sultan bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Former Ruler of Sharjah from 1924-1951, founded a private library in Al Hisn, Sharjah Fort. Fast forward to 2011, and His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, inaugurated the Sharjah Public Library on Cultural Square, as it is known today. The library has expanded to five branches within the emirate.

Membership requirements

Passport-sized photo, and a copy of your Emirates ID.

Membership cost

Standard membership:

• Special needs: Dh50

• Adults: Dh150

• Teens: Dh50

• Children (ages 12 and below): Dh50

• Family: Dh300

Smart membership (for access to online resources only): Dh25

Application procedure

You can apply for a membership at https://spl.gov.ae/en//home/4, or by visiting any of the five Sharjah Public Libraries.

Locations of Sharjah Public Libraries

Al Dhaid Public Library

Location: Al Dhaid Road, E55, Al Sharaya

Wadi Al Helo Public Library

Location: Kalba Road, Al Qalayee, Kalba

Kalba Public Library

Location: Kalba Beach Road, Suhailah, Kalba

Khor Fakkan Public Library

Location: Obaida Al Habbab Street, Northern Al Mudaifi, Khor Fakkan

Dibba Al Hisn Public Library

Location: Al Akd Al Fareed Street, Dibba Al Hisn

library reading
Image Credit: Pexels

Dubai Public Libraries

There are eight Dubai Public Libraries, linked to one another via a computer system. Reading resources are available in both Arabic and English.

Membership requirements

A copy of your valid Emirates ID card, and updated passport-sized photograph.

Membership cost

Individual membership

• Children: refundable deposit of Dh75

• Adults: refundable deposit of Dh150, membership fee of Dh50, additional knowledge fee of Dh20

Family membership

• Refundable deposit of Dh200, membership fee of Dh50, additional knowledge fee of Dh20

The membership is valid for five years, and can be renewed. It can be used across all Dubai Public Library branches.

Application procedure

To apply for a membership, please visit: https://dubaiculture.gov.ae/en/eservices/dplservices/pages/Membership-in-Dubai-Public-Libraries.aspx

Dubai Public Library locations

Al Ras Public Library

Location: Baniyas Road, Al Ras, Deira

Al Mankhool Public Library

Location: 35A Street, Al Mankhool, Bur Dubai

Al Twar Public Library

Location: Damascus Street, Al Twar 1, Deira

Umm Suqeim Public Library

Location: 770 Jumeirah Street, Umm Suqeim. Jumeirah 3

Al Safa Art and Design Library

Location: Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah 3

Hor Al Anz Public Library

Location: 16th Street, Deira

Al Rashidiya Public Library

Location: 31 Street Number 11, Al Rashidiya

Hatta Public Library

Location: Next to Dubai Municipality Hatta Centre, Dubai-Hatta Road, Hatta

The Old Library

Location: Building 7, Gold & Diamond Park, Al Quoz

The Old Library is the oldest English language library in Dubai. Volunteers are in-charge of running it as a non-profit organisation, where an elected management committee monitors its operation. The board ensures all funds raised through subscription, book fines, and second-hand books go directly into covering operating costs and the cost of purchasing new books.

Membership requirements

Available to all above the age of 18, as long as they have an appropriate photo ID, such as their Emirates ID or drivers’ licence.

Membership cost

Annual fee of Dh231

Application procedure

Membership can only be applied for in-person.