Reading provides our mind with nourishment. To access the world’s knowledge through books, magazines, newspapers and the Internet, we must have the ability to read well and become self-educated. Parents should encourage their children by reading to them especially before bed-time, since reading during the early years ensures that children have a better opportunity to become creative.
Membership rates for public libraries in Dubai
Fortunately Dubai Culture and Arts Authority has some well-stocked public libraries in Dubai (equipped with Arabic and English reading material) which charge a very nominal rate for child, individual, family and corporate membership. Individual and family subscription fee is only AED 50 valid for 5 years besides a refundable security deposit of AED 150 (for individuals) and AED 200 (for families). Child membership (age 1 to 12 years) is free with only a deposit of AED 75. All public libraries have a separate children’s section with a reading hall, activity room and audio-visual facilities.
Location of public libraries in Dubai and documents required
Potential new members should carry a recent photo, passport photocopy and proof of valid residence member or UAE/GCC citizenship and visit any of the public libraries which are open from Sundays to Thursdays from 8 am to 9 pm. The public libraries are located in Al Ras, Al Rashidiya, Al Safa, Al Twar, Hatta, Hor Al Anz and Umm Suqeim. A new public library is currently being built at Al Mankhool.
Borrowing rules for public libraries in Dubai
Members can borrow up to 6 library items (family), 3 library items (individuals), 7 library items (children) 10 library items (for corporate membership) at a time. Members can also access the Internet free of charge as well as an eLibrary. Membership is only for UAE nationals, GCC nationals, UAE residents or UAE registered companies, though visitors to Dubai are welcome to enter a public library to read newspapers, magazines and books on the premises or pay a nominal amount to access the Internet. Other paid services at Dubai Public Libraries include lamination, binding, scanning and photocopying.
Cultural and educational libraries in Dubai
The Juma Al Majid Center for Culture and Heritage, founded by philanthropist Juma al Majid contains many cultural and literary books and rare manuscripts, while most schools and universities in Dubai have their own private libraries. Students studying at the Higher Colleges of Technology in the UAE can search and reserve any book online from any of their 17 well equipped libraries. Zayed University has archived many of the laws and legislation of the UAE and makes this accessible online, while Dubai School of Government aims to be the best knowledge resource centre for the region on issues related to public policy and administration. The UAE University Libraries Deanship is another excellent resource for students.
Dubai government and federal libraries
Dubai Smart Government in collaboration with Dubai Municipality has integrated some of the departmental libraries in a core service called eLibrary. Through eLibrary, researchers and employees can search for publications and documents quite easily, without having to physically go to the department to check on availability of a publication. Dubai Chamber members have access to excellent business resources, while members of the Dubai Police library can access police and legal resources. At the federal level, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development has also established libraries in Abu Dhabi, Ras al Khaimah, Umm al Quwain, Fujairah, Madinat Zayed, Delma Island, Dibba and Masafi. The National Center for Documentation and Research based in Abu Dhabi has been tasked with preserving and archiving UAE government documents and official records.
Private bookstores and lending libraries in Dubai
Dubai also has many bookstores and a few private lending libraries. Well established private lending libraries in Dubai include ‘The Old Library’ at Mall of the Emirates, Archie’s Lending Library in Karama, and ‘The House of Prose’ in Jumeirah Plaza and Ibn Batuta Mall. One that does delivery service as well is Reader's Paradise based in Jumeirah Lake Towers.
Bookstores include Magrudy’s, Book World by Kinokunya, Borders, Early Learning Centre, Jashanmal Books, Virgin Megastore and supermarkets like Spinneys and Carrefour.