Dubai: A Dh1 billion contract for the construction of the Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Library has been approved by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance and chairman of Dubai Municipality.
Construction of the library, the Arab world’s largest cultural project, will commence this month and will be completed by mid-2018. The 650,000 square foot facility can facilitate 42 million visitors annually and will house more than 4.5 million printed, digital and audio books.
Located in Al Jaddaf, the library will include 10 specialised libraries, 1.5 million printed books, two million digital books and one million audio books.
Designed in the shape of an open book on a lectern, the seven-storey building will host over 100 cultural and cognitive events every year, a permanent art gallery, and a home for specialised institutions that support development of Arabic language content.
The library includes a centre for conservation and restoration of books, manuscripts and documents, a special library for the Al Maktoum collection and a civilisation museum.
Hussain Nasser Lootah, director-general of Dubai Municipality, stated that the library is the most valuable cultural and knowledge gift by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for generations to come.
Lootah said the library has six pillars of wisdom that constitute its message and distinguishes its mission: the libraries; encouraging reading; spreading content; supporting authoring and translation; protecting the Arabic Language, and preserving cultural heritage.
The project was announced by Shaikh Mohammad at the launch of the Year of Reading, declared for 2016 by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
“The library will significantly harness modern technology to serve scientific research, dissemination of knowledge and advanced sciences. It will be a world of credible reference in Arabic language and a destination for specialists, scientists, researchers, writers, poets, intellectuals, talented minds and students. It will also serve as an incubation for publishers,” Lootah said.
He added that the library will deliver its diverse services through traditional, electronic and multi-media systems.
According to him, the main library can accommodate 1.5 million titles.
The library, he revealed, will house the Arab world’s largest e-library and will be one of the richest in the world in terms of e-documentation of knowledge.