Even in this age of Kindle and electronic devices, reading an ‘actual’ book is more than just a time-pass. This is a pure nostalgia to some while many are deeply in love with this habit of immersing themselves in the fascinating world of words! Whichever group you belong to, Dubai is fuelling your love for books with its outstanding libraries!
Feeding your book addiction by buying a new one can be a little harsh on your pocket. But thankfully there are some of the most exquisite and wonderful public libraries across Dubai to satisfy your endless urge to read more and more.
Here we bring these best-kept secrets amidst the galleries, museums and cafes around the “City of Gold” where your treasure comes in the shape of vast knowledge and exploration.
1. Dubai Public Library
Before we furnish our list of best libraries in Dubai, we find it necessary to explain what is Dubai Public Library and how it works?
Dubai Public Library is not a single library but it is a network consisting of seven different libraries for adults in different districts in the town. It also includes seven other libraries meant for children as well along with multi-purpose halls and classrooms.
All these Dubai Public Libraries are interlinked with each other through a common interface so that readers can access information from any of these seven libraries. The seven Dubai Public Library branches can be spotted in the areas of Al Ras, Al Rashidiya, Al Mankhool, Al Safa, Al Twar, Hor Al Anz and Umm Suqeim. There is another one in Hatta for people living outside the city periphery.
Dubai Public Libraries deal with a vast collection of resources including books, newspaper, magazines, journals and recent publications. Both English and Arabic materials are well furnished in these libraries so that readers don’t face any issues to choose a language they prefer to read in.
As per the instruction from Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), official working hours across all Dubai Public Library branches will be from 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Saturday to Thursday.
- Al Rashidiya
- Al Ras
- Al Safa
- Al Mankhool
- Al Safa
- Al Twar
- Umm Suqeim
- Hor Al Anz
2. Al Safa Art & Design Public Library
When you are an art enthusiast and looking for a perfect place to hang out with books, artworks and friends in Dubai, you should head straight to Al Safa Art & Design Public Library. This place is more than what meets your eyes.
This place is far from the traditional library you have met to this date! Al Safa Art & Design Library is a newly revamped dynamic platform that gives the members a rare opportunity to work, research, read and meet with a creative bunch of people.
The library features an immersive collection of books that are equally capable of catering to both children and adults. A huge portion of its collection consists of books about architecture, interior design and modern art. Even you can get high-resolution printouts of anything you liked here against a nominal charge.
With a very minimalistic yet relaxing interior, this space lets you enjoy a distraction-free reading zone. The authority has put together a number of interesting elements in this library to instigate the imagination of the viewers.
Monday to Thursday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM | Friday 9:00 AM – 12.00 PM | Saturday and Sunday Closed
Al Wasl Road, Opposite Al Safa Park, Jumeirah, Jumeirah 3, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
3. The Old Library
As the name suggests, The Old Library is quite old organization compared to other recently developed public libraries in and around Dubai. This place is the home to more than 25,000 books and a strong community of volunteers took the burden of running this place successfully year after year.
This is a non-profit library and receives its funds only via subscription fees collected from the members and money raised by second-hand book sales. Apart from an interesting history, The Old Library showcases an equally intriguing range of books dominated by popular novels, non-fiction, biographies and children’s literature.
Since the library does not belong to a public category, you have to be a member to cherish this typically British-styled place. Bring your children here to introduce them to the magical world of fairy tales and fantasies.
Monday to Saturday, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM | 1st Friday of the month, 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM |Sunday and Public Holiday Closed
Gold and Diamond Park, Building 7, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Annual membership costs around AED 200 for a year’s subscription.
4. Dubai Public Library Al Mankhool
When you are having good times in Dubai along with your little ones, don’t miss the opportunity to plant the seed book reading in them and watch them grow into beautiful minds for the rest of their life and the best place to do that is the Dubai Public Library Al Mankhool. With a mesmeric collection of over 35,000 books, this library will surely take your breath away.
Dubai Public Library Al Mankhool has been designed to assist a child in developing his/her inner creativity through knowledge. In this library, kids are motivated to expand their mindset and discover their talents. The interior of this space has been designed mindfully that elevates the mood with all those colourful walls and tools.
In order to make every childhood special, this public library features a kid’s section, a child-friendly reading room, an activity room and tons of children’s literature in vast variety. They also arrange workshops for kids to express themselves and movie shows to tell historical as well as educational things. Al Mankhool Public Library also offers special services for differently-abled children.
Monday to Thursday, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM | Friday, 9:00 AM – 12.00 PM | Saturday and Sunday Closed
35 A Street, Al Mankhool, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Annual membership cost is AED 75 for children and AED 220 for adults.
5. Etihad Museum
As we already mentioned, libraries in Dubai are not limited to only dedicated spaces specified for them. In an effort to reach more curious minds, Dubai libraries have expanded their reach through cafes, cultural spaces, art galleries and museums too.
Etihad Museum is one such place where you can find an impressive library with a collection of more than 3,000 books, journals, magazines, CDs and lots of educational items. This dynamic 21st century flaunts a futuristic architecture perfectly paired with sleek interior.
Etihad Museum was founded in 1971 comprising a series of pavilions meant for experience-driven exhibitions. The museum primarily focuses to take visitors on an informative journey of the UAE’s past, present and bright future. This museum also takes extra care to let visitors know about the development of the nation’s constitution and the rights, privileges and responsibilities it comes with.
Etihad Museum library is a very useful place if somebody is interested in exploring or executing a research work on the journey of the seven emirates over the time.
Everyday from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM during the month of Ramadan | Guided tours are operated daily from 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Al Diyafah Street, Jumeirah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Annual membership of AED 25 for adults and AED 12 for students aged 5 – 24.
6. Mohammed Bin Rashid Public Library
Dubai knows how to turn an ordinary into something extraordinary! This goes same with the new-age libraries in Dubai. Announced in 2016, Mohammed Bin Rashid Public Library is a spectacular edifice that breaking the myth of libraries are boring.
Coming in the shape of an open book, Mohammed Bin Rashid Public Library is a star attraction in the Al Jaddaf area. Consisting of seven floors and covering a floor area of 54,000 sq.m, this library is presently enjoying the glamour of being the largest library in Dubai. Each floor of this place is designed to depict a particular theme.
The place is ideal for people of all ages as you can always pick something that matches your interest areas. With a collection of about 4.5 million printed books, 2 million e-books and more than 1 million audiobooks, Mohammed Bin Rashid Public Library is made to win the heart of every book lover.
On top of that, the library has a quite inspiring environment to enhance your productivity and speedy flow of the work.
It remains open from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM everyday except Friday when it operates from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM | Closed on Saturdays
Dubai Creek banks, Al Jaddaf, Opposite Dubai Festival City, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
7. Jameel Art Centre
Here we present you the Jameel Art Centre. If you are astonished at why we are including an art centre in the list of libraries, wait for a second! This place is more than you could have imagined from its name. This art centre houses an enviable collection of bilingual books both in English and Arabic language. Sounds interesting, right?
Jameel Library is an in-house project run by the management of the art centre. Located on the ground floor, this place is stuffed with printed catalogues and journals describing the cultural histories of the Gulf and the region.
The library not just limits its effort to offer a wide range of historical-fact-based books but also offers more inclusive experience by hosting several research projects, reading events and seminars led by subject matter experts from the region.
Visiting the Jameel Art Centre Library comes with more practical experience than just bookish knowledge. Both history and knowledge go hand in hand when you choose to be a part of the library’s various activities.
Saturday to Monday and Thursday, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM | Wednesday, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, 9:00 PM – 12:00 AM | Closed on Friday & Tuesday
Jaddaf Waterfront, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
8. Umm Suqeim Public Library
When we are talking about the best places to sit with a book in the city of Dubai, it is not possible to miss Umm Suqeim Public Library. This place is admired by scholars, researchers and reading enthusiasts for its humongous collection of English and Arabic language books.
The library was established in the year 1989 and since then it is circulating knowledge in form of countless books, periodicals, maps, references and audio-visual materials. This is one of the most favourite public libraries in the town is a part of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority initiative to make man and book good friends backed by the smooth flow of information and knowledge.
It also includes a section specially dedicated to children along with an activity room and a reading room. You can also enrol your kids for their summer and winter camps to have a fun-filled holiday with plenty of well-crafted activities and events.
Monday to Thursday, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM | Friday, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Closed on Saturday and Sunday
Umm Suqeim, Jumeirah 3, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
9. Beach Library
Nothing is as precious as heading down to a beautiful beach with a book in your hand and then finding a peaceful spot to enjoy sun, sand, sea and reading altogether. Dubai is just helping you by not asking to bring the book because it has set up something amazing like the Beach Library in the town. Yes, you can now access a wide range of books right from various beaches in Dubai.
Beach Library is an innovative initiative taken by Dubai Municipality to make your beach vacation more fruitful and relaxing. As they say, book is a man’s best friend, you can have one every time you pick your favourite book from the shelf of a beach library. This service doesn’t come with any charge. It’s absolutely free!
Several locations across Dubai including Al Mazar Corniche, Jumeirah 3, Kite Beach and Umm Suqeim 1.
10. E-Library Services
If you are too lazy to grab a book in the library but still want to have some books with you, Dubai has got e-library service for you. Dubai Municipality has introduced this comprehensive e-library service as a part of their Dubai Smart Government Programme.
The e-library portal can be accessed by faculty members, researchers and students seamlessly. This is a very useful platform for people who are looking for historical documents, research papers, journals, recent publications and books without visiting different places. One can even trace down the physical location of any particular book with help this portal.
In our article, we have included the libraries that can quench your thirst for acquiring more knowledge. Our list also features some of the most innovative yet effective library concepts powered by modern technologies. There are many more. Dubai libraries are trying everyday to reach more people so that knowledge never beat the physical barrier.