Joining the pantheon of world-class book repositories alongside the likes of London’s British Library and Egypt’s Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the new library still has a Dubai-sized price tag, reportedly having cost one billion dirhams, around $272 million. It’s named after Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, who announced the construction of the new library in 2016. And with more than 1.1 million print and digital books housed in the 54,000 square-meter facilities, it’s hoping to draw crowds who favor culture over consumption.
The facility is home to nine separate libraries, dedicated to everything from media and the arts to business titles, international periodicals, maps and atlases, books for children and young adults, and a collection of precious archival treasures.
The collection of works is still being built, but it already boasts some impressive numbers. Alongside its multilingual print and digital books, visitors can access more than six million dissertations, 73,000 musical scores, 75,000 videos, 35,000 printed and digital international journals, and over 5,000 historical periodicals spanning 325 years.
The Mohammed Bin Rashid Library is also blending tradition and tech. In addition to the collection of printed books is a database of thousands of digital titles that can be downloaded from machines in each of the nine libraries. There are books in braille for visually impaired readers and a quiet space with a reading pod for visitors with special needs.
As the library’s collection grows, there will be even more intriguing tomes to browse, and with 200 annual events and performances planned, the center aims to become a community in its own right. Perhaps it will be enough to tempt visitors to Dubai to turn over a new leaf and step away from the mall for an hour or two in favor of some literary stimulation.
According to CNN