Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/ Gulf News

Dubai: Public transport users in Dubai will be able to not only read, but also “listen to books” in a new project planned to support the Year of Reading initiative, a senior official told Gulf News on Wednesday.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) will introduce digital audio players in public transportation modes to enable users of Dubai Metro and RTA buses to listen to books while they enjoy their ride in Dubai, said Aisha Abdullah Miran, Assistant Secretary General, Strategy Management and Governance Sector at the Dubai Executive Council.

She said the project will be implemented in the next six months as part of the government’s strategy to develop a knowledge-based community through the Year of Reading initiative launched by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

This will complement the RTA’s ‘Read More’ initiative that was launched last year.

Miran was speaking after a press conference held to highlight the efforts of various emirates in nurturing a reading culture among the UAE citizens and residents.

In Dubai, she said, various entities have come up with 162 initiatives to promote learning through reading. “Many of them either have been executed by now or are planned to be executed by the end of the year.”

The main initiatives have been undertaken by various government entities wherein public spaces and facilities are utilised to facilitate people to borrow books — be it on the beaches or while waiting for the metro. Social media has been leveraged to promote reading habit among families by encouraging parents to read with their children and share those stories on social networking sites.

Another upcoming initiative is a mobile book exhibition to be launched by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority. “This will be organised in major malls in Dubai. It is not only about helping to grab a book and reading … but it is also about conducting workshops to help kids improve their skills in writing stories and become authors … Also, there will be opportunity for meeting the authors and interacting with them,” said Miran.