Dubai Municipality has awarded a contract worth Dhs1bn for the construction of the massive Mohammed bin Rashid Library, it announced on Tuesday.
Located in Al Jaddaf, the 650,000 square feet library project – dubbed the biggest cultural project in the Arab world – will house more than 4.5 million printed, digital and audio books.
It will have the capacity to welcome 42 million visitors annually.
Construction work will commence in September 2016 and the project is slated for completion in mid-2018.
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 also includes a centre for conservation and restoration of books, manuscripts and documents, a special library for the Al Maktoum collection and a civilisation museum.
The project was announced by the UAE’s Vice President and Prime Minister and Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to commemorate 2016 as the ‘Year of Reading’.
“The library will significantly harness modern technology to serve scientific research, dissemination of knowledge and advanced sciences,” said Hussein Nasser Lootah, director-general of Dubai Municipality.
“It will be 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,” he said.
The main library will include eight specialised libraries targeting children, youth, family, business, Arabic, international, popular and multimedia.
In total it will include 1.5 million printed books, two million digital books and one million audio books.
The library will also print and distribute 10 million books in the next few years.
It will also host the main headquarters of The International Council for the Arabic Language and publish the Mohammad Bin Rashid Contemporary Arabic Language Dictionary.