Sharjah Public Library Launches ‘Digital Public Library’November 10, 2017

Sharjah Public Library (SPL), a subsidiary of Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), has launched the ‘Digital Public Library.’ The initiative aims to bring together all cultural items held in Sharjah’s libraries, museums, heritage sites and other state departments and make them available to a larger segment of readers, researchers and book lovers from around the world.

The project, which was announced during SPL’s participation in the 36th edition of Sharjah International Book Fair, seeks to provide free access to digital holdings through the establishment of a large-scale digital public library that will be a key search engine for the public holdings of libraries, museums and other cultural heritage institutions in the UAE and in particular, Sharjah.

Sara Al Marzouqi, Manager of SPL, underscored that the launching of the Digital Public Library aims to harness technologies to further the prosperous cultural environment in Sharjah and the UAE by providing the content of all cultural and intellectual institutions at one site that is available 24-hours a day and accessible from across the world. She pointed out that the project will contribute to the sharing of Emirati cultural treasures with as wide an audience as possible.

“Launching the Digital Public Library is in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council Ruler of Sharjah, to promote culture and knowledge at the international level. It also forms part of SBA’s overall strategy to provide an interactive environment that enriches the cultural portfolio of all members of the community and meets the needs of intellectuals, students, researchers and book lovers everywhere,” al Marzouqi added.  

The Digital Public Library will provide a platform that gives access to scientific and intellectual products and has been designed with tailor-made characteristics and features in the field of enhancing scientific and academic research. It comprises an array of innovative services that include data bases, digital content and archived material all designed to facilitate easier access to a broad spectrum of knowledge.

The Digital Public Library in Sharjah, which will be implemented in a phased manner, is yet another cultural project in the series of pioneering development projects in Sharjah and the UAE. It seeks to open up new horizons for international collaboration with cultural institutions and is aimed at freeing access to information available in libraries, museums, as well as other cultural, educational and intellectual organisatons.

Sharjah Library was founded by Sheikh Sultan bin Saqr Al Qasimi, in 1925 under the name ‘Al Qasimiyah Library,’ with the facility initially serving as his private archive. Its location has changed several times over the years, moving from Al Hisn (Sharjah Fort) in Bait Al Gharbi under the Mudeef Building to Sharjah City Municipality, then to Africa Hall and then to Sharjah Cultural Centre and Sharjah University City. In May 2011, the Ruler of Sharjah, inaugurated the new building of the library at the Cultural Palace Square, its current location under the title Sharjah Public Library. The new facility contains approximately half a million books in multiple languages across a numerous fields, including science, humanities, art and literature.