For the love of books: 7 libraries to check out in Dubai
When in doubt, go to the library…
It might be the digital age, but there’s nothing like curling up with a strong coffee and a good book in hand. Feeding our literary addiction by buying new ones all the time can be expensive, but, thankfully there are several libraries in Dubai – some are even hidden in galleries and museums across the city.
Here are seven libraries in Dubai where you can find your next page-turner.
1. Mohammed Bin Rashid Library
@whatsondubai Come with us inside the brand new Mohammed Bin Rashid Library 📖 it’s home to more than 1 million printed and digital books #whatsondubai #thingstododubai #mydubai #thingstodoindubai ♬ original sound – fvsndds
Mohammed Bin Rashid Library is opening its doors to the public this week on Thursday, June 16. The library resembles an open book sitting on a rehl (a traditional lectern that holds the Quran) and is said to be the biggest library in the Arab world. The space is packed with books but don’t expect the ‘Please Be Quiet’ signs. The library will be a space where readers can come together and build up a conversation and leave knowing they’ve learned a few things. It will soon host workshops, film screening, cultural events and much more. Read more about what you’ll find inside the seven-floor library here.
Mohammed Bin Rashid Library, Al Jaddaf, Dubai, opening soon.
2. Al Safa Art & Design Library
This library opened its doors in 1989 and underwent a refurbishment in 2018. You’ll find books that cater to both adults and children. With minimalistic interiors, you can enjoy your reading in a distraction-free zone. It’s also great if you want to get some work or research done. There are three memberships to pick from: Children Membership (which allows you to borrow 10 books from the children’s section), Adult Membership (25 books from the adult’s section) and the Family Membership (25 books from both the adult and children section). Do note you will also need to pay a deposit fee, too.
Al Safa Art & Design Library, behind Safa Park, Dubai, Sun to Thur 8am to 8pm, Fri 8am to 12pm, closed on Sat, Tel: (04) 515 5241. linktr.ee/dubaipubliclibraries
3. The Old Library
This 50-year-old library is home to about 25,000 books and is run by a strong community of volunteers. The library is non-profit and funds itself via subscription fees and secondhand book sales. The library has a very interesting history, which you can read about here. The range includes popular novels, biographies, non-fiction and children’s literature. Become a member for an annual fee of Dhs231. Do note, that you’ll need to be over the age of 18.
The Old Library, Gold & Diamond Park, Building 7, Dubai, Mon to Sat 10am to 6pm, Dhs231 membership fee. Tel: (04) 321 3939. theoldlibrary.ae
4. Etihad Museum
The Etihad Museum is located next to Union House, where the signing of the treaty establishing the UAE took place in 1971. Its library is home to more than 3,000 books focusing on the politics, social fabric and history of the UAE, which you can read in a calm and relaxed atmosphere. There are also a variety of magazines, booklets, CDs and other educational items related to the UAE. You won’t be able to take the books home and to gain access you’ll need to purchase a museum ticket, which costs Dhs25 for adults and Dhs10 for students (aged five to 24). Before visiting, call ahead to ensure the museum isn’t closed for a private event.
Etihad Museum, Union House, 2nd December Street, Jumeira, Dubai, 10am to 8pm daily, Dhs25 adults, Dhs10 students aged 5 to 24, Tel: (04) 515 5771 etihadmuseum.dubaiculture.gov.ae
5. Jameel Art Centre
The Jameel Library is an in-house library located on the ground floor of the Jameel Art Centre. It has a wide range of bilingual books in Arabic and English, plus journals and catalogues dedicated to the cultural histories of the Gulf and the region. The library also hosts several talks, research projects and reading groups led by experts in the region.
Jameel Arts Centre, Jaddaf Waterfront, opposite Palazzo Versace, Dubai, Wed to Mon 10am to 6pm (Fri 12pm to 8pm), closed on Tues, Tel: (04) 873 9800 jameelartscentre.org
6. Al Mankhool Library
You might also like
Located in Bur Dubai, the Al Mankhool Library offers a wide range of books and references, which you can read in its quiet setting — perfect if you want to study, work or get some general reading done. A five-year membership here costs just Dhs75 for children under 12, Dhs200 for adults (insurance amount included) and Dhs250 for a family membership.
Al Mankhool Library, Al Mankhool, Dubai, Sun to Thur 8am to 8pm, Fri 8am to 12pm, closed on Sat, Tel: (04) 515 5200. dm.gov.ae
7. Umm Suqeim Public Library
This Umm Suqeim Public Library was inaugurated back in 1989 and has a large number of books available in English and Arabic. There’s a dedicated children’s section complete with a reading hall, activity room, audiovisual equipment and more. Membership is only open to UAE nationals, GCC nationals, UAE residents and UAE registered companies but visitors are allowed to get some reading done on the premises.
Umm Suqeim Public Library, 770 Jumeirah Street, Dubai, Sun to Thur 8am to 8pm, Fri 8am to 12pm, closed on Sat, Tel: (04) 348 2512. dubaiculture.gov.ae
Images: Dubai Culture and Supplied