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Fri 25 Nov 2016 01:44 AM

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Dubai ruler issues law to establish new $272m library

Sheikh Mohammed also chairs first meeting of foundation set up to run Mohammed bin Rashid Library which is due to open in 2018

Dubai ruler issues law to establish new $272m library

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has issued a new law to formally establish the $272 million Mohammed bin Rashid Library.

Sheikh Mohammed also issued Decree No 36 to form the library foundation's board of directors and chaired its first meeting.

The board, to be chaired by Mohammed Ahmed Al Mur, is tasked with drawing up general policies and strategic plans required to deliver the library's objectives, news agency WAM reported.

Sheikh Mohammed directed the board members to work on attracting "best minds, books, intellects and linguists".

He said: “We want the library to be a house of wisdom, where researchers gather, youth innovate, and knowledge get drafted. We don’t want the library to be a place for books, we want it a place to attract youth and enhance their cultural and knowledge soul.

“The library is part of our continuous effort to cement reading in the society and making books 'part of life',” he added.

The foundation will run the library and promote the organisation locally, regionally and globally. Members of the board will serve a three-year term, subject to renewal.

The AED1 billion library, launched by Sheikh Mohammed in February, will feature more than 1.5 million volumes, 1 million audio books and 2 million e-books, making it the world’s largest electronic collection and the biggest library in the Arab world.

Spread over one million sq ft, the facility will include eight specialised libraries, and will be able to accommodate 42 million visitors annually and will host over 100 annual cultural events.

"We want this library to serve as a cultural forum, an incubator for knowledge and a civilisational centre in the region," said Sheikh Mohammed, adding that the library would contribute towards promotion of reading and transformation of culture and turn it into a community product that would advance national development.

He directed the foundation to start setting up the cultural structure of the library so that it becomes the Arab World's largest knowledge incubator.

"The knowledge provided by the library will encourage the movement of authoring and translation, bring intellectuals and thinkers closer, and spread the culture of dialogue, tolerance and acceptance of others," he added.

Construction work is set to be completed by mid-2018.

Designed in the shape of an open book on a lectern, the seven-storey building will also host 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.