By Sam Bridge
House of Wisdom will initially contain 40,000 books which will expand to a 105,000 collection when it is fully operational
Sharjah's new library and cultural centre project, the House of Wisdom, is slated to open in April, it was revealed on Wednesday.
Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, head of the Sharjah World Book Capital Advisory Committee and vice president of International Publishers Association, announced the opening date for the project, being developed by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq).
Sheikha Bodour said in comments published by state news agency WAM: "Sharjah’s knowledge-based approach to national and regional development has placed us at the forefront of the Arab world’s cultural movement. The emirate’s cultural image is reinforced by unprecedented projects like the House of Wisdom, an iconic library, cultural centre and social hub of learning and development."
She added: "Libraries are no longer a space where you go just to access books. People can access information digitally from anywhere these days. All libraries in future need to act as social hubs – places that bring people together, and are shared spaces that support the sharing of experiences, intellectual and creative engagement as well as cultural leadership."
The House of Wisdom, which is situated near The Scroll, the monument designed by UK-based artist Gerry Judah, reimagines libraries for the 21st century, based on the principle of flexibility.
Designed by the award-winning British architectural design and engineering firm, Foster + Partners, the project features a large floating roof with 15-metre cantilevered overhangs.
It will initially contain 40,000 books which will expand to a 105,000 collection when it is fully operational. There will also be an extensive collection of books in Braille.
The project was unveiled on April 23, 2019, the day Sharjah officially began its yearlong journey as UNESCO World Book Capital 2019.