His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, UAE Minister of Finance, and Chairman of Dubai Municipality, has approved the awarding of a Dh1 billion contract for the construction of the Mohammed bin Rashid Library, the biggest cultural project in the Arab world.
Construction work will commence in September 2016 and be completed by mid-2018.
The 650,000 square feet property can facilitate 42 million visitors annually and will house more than 4.5 million printed, digital and audio books.
The library will include eight specialised libraries, 1.5 million printed books, two million digital books and one million audio books.
Designed in the shape of an open book on a lectern, the seven-storey building will host over 100 cultural and cognitive events every year, a permanent art gallery, and a home for specialised institutions that support development of the Arabic language content.
The library includes a centre for conservation and restoration of books, manuscripts and documents, a special library for the Al Maktoum collection and a civilisation museum.
Hussein Nasser Lootah, Director-General of Dubai Municipality, stated that the library is the most valuable cultural and knowledge gift presented by Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for generations to come.
Lootah said the library has six pillars of wisdom that constitutes its message and distinguishes its mission: the libraries; encouraging reading; spreading content; supporting authoring and translation; protecting the Arabic Language, and preserving cultural heritage.
The project was announced by Sheikh Mohammed at the launch of the Year of Reading, declared for 2016 by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
"The library will significantly harness modern technology to serve scientific research, dissemination of knowledge and advanced sciences. It will be a world a credible reference in Arabic language and a destination for specialists, scientists, researchers, writers, poets, intellectuals, talented minds and students. It will also serve as an incubation for publishers," Lootah declared.
He further added that the library would deliver its diverse services through traditional, electronic and multi-media systems.
According to him, the main library can welcome up to 2,600 visitors and accommodate 1.5 million titles and applications for diving.
The library, he revealed, would house the Arab world's largest e-library and be one of the richest in the world in terms of e-documentation of knowledge.
The library is based on six pillars: the first is the main library, which includes eight specialised libraries: for Children, Youth, Family, Business, Arabic, International, Popular and Multimedia.
The second pillar is promoting reading; the library will pursue the Arab reading challenge project, launched earlier by Sheikh Mohammed, following the initiative of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, announcing 2016 as the year of reading.
The challenge includes 2.6 million students from 20,000 schools within the Arab world. It will also host over 100 annual cultural events.
The third pillar will focus on spreading content via an e-library with over two million titles, and one million audio books.
The library will also print and distribute 10 million books in the next few years, which will be distributed to people in need.
The fourth pillar will focus on supporting authoring and translation, through its initiative, which aims to translate 15,000 titles into Arabic every year.
The fifth pillar focuses on protecting the Arabic language.
This will be done by hosting the main headquarters of The International Council for the Arabic Language and publishing the Mohammad Bin Rashid Contemporary Arabic Language Dictionary.
The sixth pillar will include preserving cultural heritage by displaying rare publications, including a special section for the collection of Al Maktoum and an exhibition for Arab arts.