There is little doubt that Dubai is a world-leading city and global destination for its cultural, tourist, heritage and urban attractions — a remarkable path of growth from its origins as a small trading hub hugging the banks of Dubai Creek.
How appropriate then that the Mohammed bin Rashid Library is now open — the most modern library in the world, an unparalleled repository for more than 1.1 million printed and digital books in Arabic and foreign languages.
The initial collection includes some 35,000 print and digital newspapers from around the world, nearly 500 rare collectibles, six million dissertations, around 73,000 music scores, 75,000 videos, approximately 13,000 articles, and more than 5,000 historical print and digital journals — and that will be constantly updated and expanded month by month.
An architectural marvel
The Dh1 billion project is truly remarkable, showcased in a striking building that captures the imagination before visitors even enter and shaped by architects to resemble an open book sitting on a traditional book rest.
This seven-floor building opened to the public on Thursday and features nine separate libraries, an amphitheatre that will be used for concerts and cultural events, a garden and a cafe spread over two floors.
The opening of the Mohammed bin Rashid Library literally opens a new chapter in the cultural development of Dubai, a deep resource pool for researchers and writers as well as a vibrant centre for the written and spoken work.
Throughout his life, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has forged an unenviable reputation as a writer and poet, with his body of work making a valuable contribution to the cultural and literary traditions of the nation and the wider Arab world as a whole.
Indeed, Sheikh Mohammed has been the driver behind many successful literary initiatives that have brought the joy of reading and the printed word to many millions around the world. Whether it’s his support for the Emirates Festival of Literature, Arab Book Week, promoting the printed word or instilling a love of literature in young people, his influence has been profound.
Now, the opening of the Mohammed bin Rashid provides a futuristic and valuable physical centre where the printed word can be cherished, nurtured, promoted and propagated for the generations to come.
The garden features pillars highlighting quotes from Sheikh Mohammed and others, providing thoughtful interludes for all who visit.