7 libraries to discover in Dubai

If in doubt, go to the library…

It might be the digital age, but there’s nothing quite like snuggling 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 luckily there are several libraries in Dubai – some are even hidden away 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 to the brand new Mohammed Bin Rashid Library 📖 it houses over a million printed and digital books #whatsondubai #thingstododubai #mydubai #thingstodoindubai ♬ original sound – fvsndds

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Library opens 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 largest library in the Arab world. The space is full of books, but don’t expect “Please be quiet” signs. The library will be a space where readers can come together, engage in conversation, and come away knowing they’ve learned something. It will soon host workshops, film screenings, cultural events and much more. Learn more about what you’ll find inside the seven-story library here.

Mohammed Bin Rashid Library, Al Jaddaf, Dubai, opening soon.

2. Al Safa Art and Design Library

This library opened in 1989 and underwent a renovation in 2018. Here you will find books for adults and children alike. With minimalist interiors, you can enjoy your reading in a distraction-free zone. It’s also great if you want to do some work or research. You have the choice between three subscriptions: the child subscription (which allows you to borrow 10 books from the children’s section), the adult subscription (25 books from the adult section) and the family subscription (25 books from the adults and children). Note that you will also have to pay a deposit fee.

Al Safa Art & Design Library, behind Safa Park, Dubai, Sunday-Thursday 8am-8pm, Friday 8am-12pm, closed Saturday, Tel: (04) 515 5241. linktr.ee/dubaipubliclibraries

3. The Old Library

The Old Dubai Library

This 50-year-old library houses around 25,000 books and is run by a strong community of volunteers. The library is non-profit and is funded through subscription fees and the sale of used books. The library has a very interesting history, which you can read here. The range includes popular novels, biographies, non-fiction and children’s literature. Become a member for an annual fee of Dhs231. Note that you must be over 18 years old.

The Old Library, Gold & Diamond Park, Building 7, Dubai, Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm, membership fee of 231 Dhs. Such. : (04) 321 3939. theoldlibrary.ae

4. Etihad Museum

etihad museum library

Photo credit: 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 houses 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 will not be able to take the books home and to access them you will need to purchase a museum ticket, which costs Dhs 25 for adults and Dhs 10 for students (aged 5-24). Before visiting, call ahead to make sure the museum isn’t closed for a private event.

Etihad Museum, Union House, 2nd December Street, Jumeira, Dubai, 10am-8pm daily, Dhs25 adults, Dhs10 students aged 5-24, Tel: (04) 515 5771 etihadmuseum.dubaiculture.gov.ae

5. Jameel Center for the Arts

jameel art center

The Jameel Library is an in-house library located on the ground floor of the Jameel Art Centre. It offers a wide range of bilingual books in Arabic and English, as well as journals and catalogs devoted to the cultural histories of the Gulf and the region. The library also hosts several conferences, research projects and reading groups led by experts from the region.

Jameel Arts Centre, Jaddaf Waterfront, opposite Palazzo Versace, Dubai, Wednesday to Monday 10am-6pm (Friday 12pm-8pm), closed Tuesday, tel: (04) 873 9800 jameelartscentre.org

6. Al Mankhool Library

al mankhool library

Located in Bur Dubai, 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 do some general reading. A five-year membership here costs only Dhs 75 for children under 12, Dhs 200 for adults (insurance amount included) and Dhs 250 for a family membership.

Al Mankhool Library, Al Mankhool, Dubai, Sunday to Thursday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., closed Saturday, Tel: (04) 515 5200.dm.gov.ae

7. Umm Suqeim Public Library

Umm suqeim library

This public library in Umm Suqeim was inaugurated in 1989 and has a large number of books available in English and Arabic. There is a section dedicated to children with a reading room, an activity room, audiovisual equipment and more. Membership is only open to UAE nationals, GCC nationals, UAE residents and UAE-registered companies, but visitors are permitted to read on site.

Umm Suqeim Public Library, 770 Jumeirah Street, Dubai, Sunday to Thursday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., closed Saturday, tel. : (04) 348 2512. dubaiculture.gov.ae

Images: culture and supply of Dubai

About Herbert L. Leonard

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