x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

National Library opens new branch

The new facility caters for adults and students with fiction and general interest sections, but does not hold children's books, which can be found at Al Raha Mall library and elsewhere.

The National Library has opened a new branch in the Al Nahyan Camp area of Abu Dhabi, offering convenient access to a wealth of books and archive material.

David Hirsh, the libraries adviser for Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, said the location near the Union Club should offer "better access for the local community".

In the month since the move, he said that "we have been pleasantly surprised by the number of visitors who've come in".

The new facility caters for adults and students with fiction and general interest sections, but does not hold children's books, which can be found at Al Raha Mall library and elsewhere.

"The city deserves to have a network of libraries and we're in the process of creating that," Mr Hirsch said.

However, access to original Emirati archival material was still limited. "We do have a digitisation strategy but making available Emirati original material is only a part of what we do. People want cookbooks and access to study guides," he said.

The library draws from a storage facility in Al Mina, where two million documents are kept. An online catalogue enables people to browse the store and select documents, which take a day to be delivered.

A 5,527 square-metre library at Abu Dhabi Mall is also expected to open within the next month, with 250,000 books and 10,000 articles available electronically.

Adach's book industry services have also been moved to the new location. These include the Sheikh Zayed Book Award; the Kalima project, which translates classics into Arabic; Kitab, which runs the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, and the Qalam project, which publishes the work of young Emiratis.

hhamid@thenational.ae