One of the brilliant things about having kids is being able to dive back into a world of children’s literature, gaining a new appreciation for the magic and wonder of storybooks and getting to rediscover a few of your childhood favourites too.
And now the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi wants to capture all that and house it under one roof with the launch of the Abu Dhabi Children’s Library project. Located in the heart of the city at the historic Qasr Al Hosn site, and part of the rebuilding of the Cultural Foundation, the library will be a vibrant and creative space dedicated to dynamic, interactive education for children of all ages.
Opening in March 2019, rather than go the route of conventional educational institutions the immersive design of the library will set it apart and concept images show a fascinating-looking site full of ideas and details that will spark little one’s imaginations.
Spread over three floors, the 5,250 square metre facility has been divided into several age-appropriate, social spaces. Drawing inspiration from pop-up books, the library will boast three-dimensional learning and play spaces where children can physically immerse themselves and feel like they are becoming part of a story. Featuring whimsical, colourful designs inspired by the nature of Abu Dhabi, including a ‘book mountain’ at its centre, each floor will have a different design concept that has been inspired by the rich and diverse landscapes of the UAE.
The first floor, for example, will transport you to the desert, embracing the themes of tranquillity, peace and meditation. Children will be invited to read on sand dunes, perch on camels or climb into four-wheel drives. Meanwhile, the second floor will feature an oasis landscape with a falaj water channel flowing with books, offering children a diverse space within which to broaden their minds.
Housing a large selection of books, including fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, autobiographies and audio-books, the library wants to create a truly child-friendly venue where little ones are encouraged to talk, perform, play and interact with one another in collaborative, open spaces. Traditionalists will be satisfied too, as multiple quiet zones for concentrated reading and studying have been designed throughout the library, delivering places for focused learning.
As well as this incredible set-up the library will host dedicated workshops and reading classes as well as a year-round programme of the arts, including film and music, with an exhibition space to display the works of children to top it off.
The creators emphasise that the entire project is centred on a universal truth: that libraries hold a special place in people’s hearts. They offer safe spaces for children, friends, families, and communities to grow and learn together. While the chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, says they plan to inspire a “generation of readers” the amazing space will no doubt reawaken a love of words in plenty of parents too!