Dubai Week

Ever wondered how to join the library in Dubai?

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Soon Dubai is going to open a huge book-shaped library. Want literature now? Open a new chapter in your life and join one of Dubai’s existing libraries.

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them,” warned Lemony Snicket, and if you don’t know who he is, then you need literary aid, asap.

Books are cool – fact. So libraries housing hundreds and thousands of them are the hippest places to hang out? Read on…

Next year the biggest library in the Arab world is set to open in Dubai. The Mohammed bin Rashid Library in Al Jaddaf will hold more than 1.5 million printed books over eight libraries, preserve Emirate culture and promote the Arabic language.

Hussein Nasser Lootah, Dubai Municipality director-general, is seen here checking the the progress of the AED 1 billion project, which will also print and distribute books and include a 500-seat theatre.

. استعرض سعادة المهندس حسين ناصر لوتاه مدير عام بلدية دبي سير العمل لمشروع مكتبة محمد بن راشد موجهاً الإدارة المعنية والمقاول المكلف بالتنفيذ بضرورة الالتزام بالموعد المحدد للانتهاء منه حسب ما هو مقدم من المخططات التي اعتمدتها البلدية عند توقيع العقد من الناحية الفنية والمعمارية. HE Eng. Hussein Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality overviewed the progress of Mohammed Bin Rashid Library Project and its stages. HE directed the department and the contractor to comply with the deadline of the completion. #دبي #بلدية_دبي #dubai #mydubai #dubaimunicipality

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Beach librariesThat’s not all. Moveable mini-libraries known as Knowledge Chairs are being added to eight spots at Kite Beach and Al Mamzar Beach, Rashidiya and Abu Hail bus stations, Umm Al Ramool and Al Barsha customer service centres and the Public Transport Agency in Al Muhaisnah. Wow.

But did you know Dubai already has its own network of public libraries? They can be found in Al Ras, Hor Al Anz, Rashidiya, Al Twar, Al Safa and Umm Suqeim, so there’s bound to be one near you.

Step in, sign up

Residents and nationals of the UAE and GCC nationals are welcome to join and you’ll need a copy of your passport, proof of residence or citizenship and a recent passport photo.

Libraries are open Sunday to Thursday, 8am-9pm and subscription is only AED 50. There’s also a refundable safety deposit of AED 150 for individuals and AED 700 for families. Children under 12 don’t pay a subscription fee, but a deposit of AED 75 is required.

Avid reader? Individuals can borrow three books at a time, families up to six and yes, as it’s the 21st century, you can also surf the web and send emails.

Go private

Although they’re not so common in Europe, there are private lending libraries in Dubai.

The Old Library at Mall of the Emirates is part of Ductac – you’ll find it just opposite the community theatre and while it’s not as big as some of the public libraries, it’s still a bookworm’s delight.

Established in 1969 from a box of books sent by a Lady Verney to her grandson, who was with the British Army, it’s moved about Dubai but now has a permanent home in the Al Barsha shopping mall.

This one comes recommended – we join for AED 200 annual subscription and Old LibraryAED 50 fee. It’s open 10am-6pm Saturday to Thursday, not so handy for working folk, but there’s a drop-off box in Ductac for after-hours returns.

Well-researched book lovers, we come armed with a list of best reads from 2017 – not all of them are on the shelves, but there’s more than 20,000 to choose from and sections dedicated to classics and children’s books. The library’s dedicated volunteers are happy to help too.


Or check out:

House of ProseHouse of Prose, Jumeirah Plaza in JBR, Times Square Centre and Dubai Garden Centre. Not strictly a library, so there’s no membership required, but buy any book from any store of this pre-loved book business, and you’re guaranteed 50 per cent back in credit if/when you return them. We recommend cracking the spine of whatever blockbuster takes your fancy in the garden centre’s Rose Leaf Café, which is crammed with retro charm and homemade cakes.

Books and tea go together like…cakes and tea. Biscuits and tea. See also, coffee. Grab your bestseller and check out our three best cafés for reading.


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