Sharjah Public Library offers access to rare books on Arabic civilisation

The Sharjah Public Library, a subsidiary of the Sharjah Book Authority, SBA, has announced that it will provide digital access to thousands of rare books and periodicals on Arabic and Islamic culture, which are held at the British Library in London.

The British Library lists 15,000 Arabic books and manuscripts spanning the 15th to 19th centuries, the most important collection of its kind in Europe and North America.

The collection includes rare editions of the Holy Quran, poetry and prose and works by great Arab and Muslim scientists such as Ibn al-Haytham, al-Razi, al-Farabi and Ibn al-Nafis, among the millions of digital pages.

The Sharjah Public Library launched the new service in collaboration with ‘Gale’, a provider of library resources, and ‘Cengage’, a US-based company that provides technological and educational services through its offices around the world.

The collaboration will be instrumental in enhancing the Sharjah Library’s digital services available to members and visitors from Sharjah and UAE.

Commenting on the announcement, Sara Al Marzouqi, Manager of Sharjah Public Library, said, "We are delighted to offer the new service to our visitors, especially so soon after Sharjah was declared the World Book Capital 2019.

This will provide a much wider platform for us to showcase the magnitude of Arabic and Islamic culture through the wealth of books and manuscripts at the British Library that many readers, researchers and students will be able to explore for the first time."

Matt Drury, Middle East Sales Director for Gale, commented, "We are delighted that Sharjah Public Library has made this commitment.

Leading institutions from around the world have invested in Early Arabic Printed Books from the British Library, however, Sharjah Library is the first public library to adopt it.

For Sharjah Public Library to make this investment represents an exemplary vision and forward thinking approach to provide the local UAE population with the very latest in academic resources relating to Arabic culture and civilization.

The UAE general population will be able to benefit from it for years to come."