The Mohammed Bin Rashid Library

Libraries in the Middle East have developed remarkably in terms of construction, engineering and design.

undefinedThe Mohammed Bin Rashid Library building exterior photographed in evening dusk soft lighting

Designing Libraries Director, Ayub Khan MBE, has recently visited the MBRL and was extremely impressed with this amazing library!

Ayub Khan, Director of Designing Libraries, stands in the children's area of The Mohammed Bin Rashid Library

The Middle East's Next Generation Library

Libraries in the Middle East have developed remarkably in terms of construction, engineering and design, with the aim of reaching more people and addressing the needs of the public, keeping pace with the different changes by integrating traditional libraries with modern AI-based technologies. The UAE is a pioneer driving the knowledge development efforts in the region, presenting the Mohammed bin Rashid Library (MBRL) to the world as a model for the next generation library.

Inaugurated in Dubai in June 2022, MBRL’s Rehl (Quran stand)-shaped building was intended to be one of the most unique public library buildings in the Middle East, offering the region a new model that combines traditional and digital services. The library uses the latest artificial intelligence and library technologies available worldwide, including a comprehensive library system with an automated warehouse, an electronic retrieval system, a book digitization lab, smart robots to answer visitors' inquiries, and implementing AR, VR and hologram technologies.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Library children's area with a Pepper robot helping a child to learn

In line with Dubai's vision, plans, and strategies to fully transform towards sustainability, and become the most sustainable city in the world, MBRL's building was designed to meet the emirate's commitments to preserving the environment. MBRL gets 10% of its energy from solar panels installed on the roof of its building, which was also designed to reduce water consumption by 50%. Moreover, water is recycled from air conditioners to irrigate green spaces.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Library building exterior photographed in sunshine

Additionally, the library aims to harness technology to serve visitors, provide comfort and promote the concept of libraries. Therefore, MBRL systems rely on many advanced technologies, such as robotics and specialised devices, including Spirit, a green tech-based digital imaging system designed to serve the library visitors; the Cobra scanner, a revolution in the field of digitisation around the world, offering the perfect solution to digitise rare and fragile collections; and the Monorail system, which is a rail transport system for books, connecting the automated storage system with the automated retrieval and sorting system in MBRL’s basement, in addition to many unprecedented technologies in the regional library sector.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Library reception showing a futuristic looking catalogue and image viewer

Moreover, the library houses the Information Centre and eight other thematic libraries with more than one million paper, digital, audio books, and other multimedia in 30 world languages. The MBRL building also features dedicated spaces for meetings, lectures, organising local and international cultural and artistic festivals. the Library provides various services to people of determination, while hosting the UAE photography exhibition, the Treasures of the Library exhibition, which displays an impressive collection of rare and old books, atlases, and manuscripts, some of which date back to the 8th century, in addition to the Garden of Languages and many other destinations that make MBRL an integrated community of entertainment and knowledge.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Library interior 21st century cinema room

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Library book collection object protected in a glass lined case

Housing the largest selection of knowledge sources, with hundreds of thousands of paper books, digital, visual, and audio resources across all fields and disciplines in several languages, MBRL has attracted more than 50,000 visitors so far, and has become a tourist attraction for many visitors to Dubai. This uniquely-designed library will undoubtedly redefine the concept of the 21st century libraries to reflect the future trends of the next generation library.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Library vast room of bookshelves running from the bottom of the floor to the top