4 Abu Dhabi Destinations for Bibliophiles

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Because my love for you

Is higher than words,

I have decided to fall silent.

~ Nizar Qabbani

Ah, how exquisite these words are! If you save words on a page like a chocolate connoisseur does Valrhona’s chocolate bonbons on a plate, you will relish a trip to a public library in Abu Dhabi.

Libraries are not a typical tourist attraction, but a trip to Abu Dhabi’s network of libraries is one worth making. Anyone with a great love for books will find these four Abu Dhabi libraries fascinating.

Qasr Al Watan Library

The Qasr Al Watan Public Library is at the top of the must-visit libraries list. You will find it in Qasr Al Watan — ie, Palace of the Nation — in Al Ras Al Akhdar.

The palace itself is an iconic historic landmark in Abu Dhabi. Its alabaster-white limestone and granite façade draws the eyes even from far away. Other notable features include towering stained-glass domes, impeccable marble floorsintricate patterns on walls, floors, and ceilings, and an impressive collection of cultural and historical artifacts.

Qasr Al Watan is the presidential working palace. The United Arab Emirates Cabinet and the Federal Supreme Council meet in the Spirit of Collaboration hall. Furthermore, it has a functioning public library, the Qasr Al Watan Library.

The library has an impressive foyer flanked by multi-story-high shelves. It has 12 wingseach with a distinct book collection and study rooms, and a closed-off room safeguarding a 2,000-title rare books collection. Overall, the library has more than 50,000 Arabic and English titles in print and many more digital editions.

The Department of Culture and Tourism operates the Qasr Al Watan library. You can visit to browse and read, go on the library’s special guided tour, or check out books if you have a Department of Culture and Tourism library card.

Qasr Al Watan Library Operating Hours

Sundays to Thursdays

11 am – 4:30 pm

*Opening hours may change without prior notice. Qasr Al Watan typically opens at 11 am and closes on or before 8 pm

Khalifa Park Library

Khalifa Park Library opened in 2013 in Khalifa Park on Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Street. Like the Qasr Al Watan Library, it has more than 50,000 Arabic and English titles and is one of the biggest libraries in Abu Dhabi in terms of space occupied and book collection size.

Khalifa Park Library has a considerable collection of children’s books (10,000 titles) in its children’s library. This section is housed in its own annex and has a reading hall and a computer corner for its young patrons.

The library also has a thisis hall and a rare books hall. The former holds dissertations from scholars in the region, while the latter is where the library stores its valuable titles.

Khalifa Park Library also has periodicals, science books, and reference books, and it hosts storytelling, book signing, art exhibitions, and other types of events.

Khalifa Park Library Operating Hours

Sundays to Thursdays

8 am – 8 pm

*Opening hours may change without prior notice.

Zayed Central Library

Zayed Central Library is located on Mohammed Bin Khalifa St., Al Mutawaanext to Sulaimi Park in Al Ain. With 136,000 books in Arabic and English, this is Al Ain’s largest public library.

Zayed Central Library has books on all specialties. There are periodicals and scientific journals. Academic text and scholarly works share space with general reference works and publications on esoteric topics. Naturally, there are also books for children.

The library has a theater, reading rooms, and even a bookstore. It also hosts various events like artwork displays and book signings.

Zayed Central Library Operating Hours

Sundays to Thursdays

8 am – 4 pm

*Opening hours may change without prior notice.

Abu Dhabi Children’s Library

Most of the libraries in Abu Dhabi have children’s sections and child-friendly events and activities. However, if you are looking for a place your children will love just as much as Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi’s Batman theme park, bring them to Abu Dhabi Children’s Library.

You can find the three-story, 5,250-square-meter library at the Cultural Foundation on Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum Street in Al Hosn. Aside from providing books children can read and borrow, the library also offers interactive activities and spaces designed to capture children’s imaginations and foster a love for books and reading.

The following are some of the special sections in the library:

This palm-tree-decorated, stepped area serves as an open auditorium. Children come here to watch movies, read books, charge their devices, or sit around and rest.

Inspired by sand dunes, it is a place children can go to learn about the desert and listen to stories about desert tribes.

This is an area where children can learn about animals and mythical creatures.

Toddlers can come here for storytelling and early childhood learning activities.

The library holds art workshops in this 300-square-meter space.

This is for children who are interested in coding and creative content production.

Children can sit inside tree houses or beside the book stream to read in this pretend oasis.

These are quiet spaces for those who want to focus on reading.

The following are some activities the children can experience in the library’s paid workshops:

  • Laser cutting
  • watercolor painting
  • Craft-making
  • Brush and canvas painting
  • Glass painting
  • Decoupage
  • Drawing and coloring
  • Sketching and coloring

Abu Dhabi For Book Lovers

Abu Dhabi is known for its recreation and leisure hubs like Yas Island Abu Dhabi, iconic landmarks like the Sheikh Zayed Bridge, historical sites like The Founder’s Memorial, and museums like the Louvre. However, its network of libraries is one of its most impressive but often overlooked attractions.

If you love reading and books and want your children to feel the same way, go on a tour of Abu Dhabi’s libraries, starting with the Qasr Al Watan Library, Khalifa Park Library, Zhayed Central Library, and Abu Dhabi Children’s Library.

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