The Mohammed Bin Rashid Library (MBRL) opens to the public today.
There is something for everyone in the Mena region’s biggest library, which houses 1.1 million books in 30 languages spread over 54,000sqm on seven floors and in nine libraries.
Here is an overview of everything you need to know before your first visit.
Entry to the library is free, but those wishing to visit must register at https://mbrl.ae/ or download the app.
Monday – Saturday (excluding Friday): 9am-9pm
Friday: 2 pm to 9 pm
Children below 5 years are not allowed to enter.
Membership rates have not been announced as yet, but MBRL officials say it will be pocket-friendly.
HOW TO GET THERE:
Get off at the Creek station and walk along a newly-opened path with trees on either side for shade.
Dubai Bus route no. C04 stops at the Creek Metro Station.
Drive along the Al Khail Road (D68) towards Sharjah near where the road crosses the Dubai Creek. Take the exit to the Creek Metro Station and Mohammed bin Rashid Library. You’ll find the library sign posted after you exit the main road. There is a 9-storey underground parking area for visitors.
THE 9 LIBRARIES INSIDE MBRL:
With over 100,000 books on topics like history, health and science, technology, education and more, the general library will appeal to everyone.
You can find everything you ever wanted to know about the UAE here. From rare collections of photos of the country to books written by citizens and residents, this area has a lot to offer.
Wanting to appeal to youngsters of all ages and with varying interests, this library has a wide variety of titles, from manga and anime to Captain Majid to books in business, economics and literature.
“We want youngsters to be able to read whatever interests them,” said Ahmed Al Hassawi, the librarian of the Young Adults Library. “If they read a book about business and like it, we can direct them to the business library where they can read more of what they like.”
This library, which houses 12,000 titles, has 90% of English and 10% of Arabic books.
: With an inviting play area, colourful interiors and 17,000 titles, this area is all set to invite children of various ages. There are board books, picture books and more – arranged at eye level for the little ones to explore and enjoy.
With rare and private collections of resources dated prior to the 1950s, this particular library requires special permission to access it.
With rare maps and atlases from all over the world, this one is for the geography buffs.
With 24,000 different titles, this section has one of the most prolific collections of media and art resources with topics including the history of art, DIY, music, cinema and urban design.
It has an area that allows students and researchers to scan 10% of the books available here for their personal use. A small, 4-seater media room allows visitors to watch documentaries and theatre pieces.
This section has books on topics including accountancy, entrepreneurship, economics and management. This area also has study areas and independent
The part of the library houses a unique collection of magazines and periodicals from the 1950s. There are over 500 magazines in Arabic and 100 magazines in English in this area. However, none of these may be checked out and is only for research and reading within the library premises.
OTHER AREAS INSIDE THE LIBRARY:
An elaborate collection of rare manuscripts and exhibits is sure to be an exciting area to explore.
With books in Braille, iPads to borrow and a calming sensory pod for those with autistic tendencies to relax, the library is fully equipped to cater to people of determination.
A bright and colourful café with cosy seating will offer the perfect spot for refreshments while exploring the seven-storeyed building.
WHAT TO EXPECT
The library is expected to become a cultural hub where events like book launches, talks by authors, training programs for writers and more will be hosted. Those who want to attend will be able to book these events on the app.
Libraries worldwide are notorious for being strict about silence and discipline. However, the MBRL will be more relaxed, according to a spokesperson. “We are not going to strictly enforce a silent area,” said Jamal Al Shehhi, board member of the MBRL. “The ground floor has a café and will have events. So the area will always be lively. As you go to the higher floors, it will get quieter.”
During the Emirates Literature Festival, boat service will be available from Dubai Festival City area to the MBRL. A 500-seater theatre within the premises will also hold movie nights in the future.
The first three months will see the MBRL having restricted access to residents and visitors who will have to register on the app to visit the library. “We want to have a soft launch and ensure everything works smoothly,” said Jamal Al Shehhi. “The library will operate at full capacity only after the summer months.”