30 Apr 2018
The Ithra Library is by no means an ordinary public library. “You get to exchange knowledge, experience the latest technologies and discover more than a million books, both paper and electronic, including special collections of rare books from all around the world,” Library head Tariq Alkhawaji told the Arab News.
“What makes the Ithra Library unique is not only its interior design, but also the modern technology used within its walls.”
The Library features digital exhibitions that display its programs, as well as the books recommended by staff, and a number of interactive screens that let visitors scan any book on the premises to find out more information. Such technologies are considered quality services in the Arab world, Alkhawaji said.
“By stimulating discussions about books and face-to-face encounters with authors and literary thinkers, the Library becomes a place to diffuse knowledge and not only consume it. That is the main reason why we have the café in the middle of the Library,” or the social floor, as he likes to call it.
A complete floor is designated for children where they can enjoy the wide collection of books in both Arabic and English, and can join the interactive workshops which focus on learning and gaining knowledge through entertainment.
The four-level Library covers an area over 6,000 square meters. “Whenever you go up a level it becomes more conducive and suitable for learning and researching,” Alkhawaji explained.
The Library starts at the children’s and multimedia floor. The following level is the social floor that features a café and where various programs take place. The next level up contains books covering general knowledge, while the top floor is designated as the research floor.
The Library contains 51 columns, each one with a lit marble panel and uniquely engraved with the verses of 51 Arab poets of different ages and eras, and featuring different types of Arabic calligraphy.
In addition to physical books, the Library provides digital resources through its e-Library, which focuses on improving the quality of Arabic digital content.
The Library, along with other components in the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, are looking to make a solid contribution as Saudi Arabia is transitioning to a knowledge-based society.