During the launch of the pilot phase of House of Wisdom Network at the Maraya Art Centre Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: The House of Wisdom (HoW) in Sharjah kicked off a pioneering initiative to expand the reach of books to a wider cross-section of the community, called the “House of Wisdom Network.” The smart platform enables readers to borrow and return books at Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) destinations connected to the HoW Network.

The overarching goal of the initiative, overseen by the HoW, is to provide access to resources for the community and increase the visibility of specialised libraries.

Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, Shurooq CEO, launched the pilot phase at the Maraya Art Centre. Art lovers could access specialised books and resources, and this initiative has already made “significant progress”. All books have been catalogued, re-shelved, and new books procured from the Sharjah International Book Fair.

Al Qaseer said: “The ‘House of Wisdom Network’ initiative represents a significant step towards supporting the cultural sector in Sharjah, which is considered as one of the emirate’s top priorities and facilitates access to a wide array of specialised resources and books under the leadership of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Shurooq, to bolster the emirate’s status as a leading force in the creative industries that enrich the cultural landscape.”

Inspired by the past

Marwa Al Aqroubi, Executive Director of HoW, said: “The idea behind this innovative project builds on the original House of Wisdom in Baghdad, where it became a beacon for knowledge exchange and an incubator for science that influenced the Islamic world. Therefore, the diverse libraries that this initiative will provide will enable the public to easily access titles and knowledge sources they seek from various locations. There is no doubt that this will encourage broadening knowledge and reading in various fields of expertise and in different languages.”

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Upcoming libraries

The HoW plans to expand the libraries network to other Shurooq destinations in Sharjah to promote libraries as a hub for lifelong learning. Similar libraries will be coming up at Mleiha Archaeological Centre, Chedi Al Bait and Kalba’s Kingfisher Retreat. This will enable visitors of these destinations to explore the heritage and history of Sharjah and discover a selection of titles on a variety of specialised topics.