x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

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There are many reasons why libraries are regarded as an important pillar of society

National Editorial

Study after study have confirmed what common sense tells us – children who read for pleasure achieve significantly more than those who don’t. Those achievements are not limited to academics, but include emotional and social behaviour as well. It makes every sense then to encourage reading for pleasure. But how to cultivate young readers in the age of smartphones and video games?

The answer may be found in the efforts of Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, to support public libraries in the emirate, as The National reported yesterday. It’s equally heartening to know that 14 new libraries will soon open their doors in Abu Dhabi and the Western Region, as this newspaper reported last month.

Many argue that libraries are redundant in the age of Kindle and iPad. But the fact that they have been around for thousands of years and have proven resilient to technological developments is proof that they are indispensable as institutions. That’s because libraries are more than just warehouses for books: they offer a place for people to gather and exchange ideas thereby promoting independent thought and empathy. No wonder libraries are so often regarded as a pillar of communities. It’s worth having more of them in the UAE.