This week is World Book Day, and English Language Day, both observed on Thursday April 23. And next week – Sunday May 3 – is World Press Freedom Day. As journalists and natural lovers of the written word, it got us thinking about where Dubai’s bibliophiles can revel in reams of fine prose. So we’ve highlighted a selection of old libraries in Dubai where you’d have to remember how to use the Dewey Decimal System, modern spaces with audio and digital books, shops for kids and literary centres where you can also get involved and learn the art of creative writing.
Combining great food with great books, this family-friendly café provides a place to read and recharge. The selection of books available to buy is small, but you’ll find plenty of bestsellers, cookery and lifestyle titles, plus a great range for children. BookMunch Café also hosts regular book clubs and signings. Another fun event it hosts is the monthly Mad Hatter’s Tea Party BookSwap, an Alice in Wonderland-themed tea party where families and kids can swap what they’re currently reading for the day.
Mad Hatter’s Tea Party BookSwap: Dhs60 (adults), Dhs30 (kids). Next event is Thu May 7, 5.30pm-7pm. Book in advance to attend. Open Sun-Thu 7.30am-10pm; Fri-Sat 8am-10.30pm. Al Wasl Square, Al Wasl Road, www.bookmunchcafe.com (04 388 4006).
Dubai International Writers’ Centre
This Centre opened last year and aims to celebrate the written word in all its forms with a year-round programme of workshops, creative writing classes and lectures on global literature. The centre also focuses on writings that reflect the diversity of the local community and invites many Arabic and English speaking authors to host events. This week, Dubai-based author Anne Millen is hosting a free interactive workshop on how to write memoirs.
Writing memoirs: Free. Tue April 28, 5pm-7pm. Open Sun-Thu and Sat 9am-5pm. House 290, Al Shindagha Historical Neighbourhood, www.diwc.ae (04 355 9844).
House of Prose
If you love the smell of old books, you’ll love House of Prose, which is the oldest second-hand book shop in Dubai. You can buy and sell books at this store, and if you want to sell their books back to them, they’ll give you 50 percent of the price you paid.
Open Sat-Thu 9am-8pm; Fri 4pm-8pm. Jumeirah Plaza, Jumeirah Beach Road, www.houseofprose.com (04 344 9021).
Juma Al Majid Center
Founded by Emirati philanthropist Juma Al Majid, the Juma Al Majid Center for Culture & Heritage – located near Dubai International Airport – contains many books and rare manuscripts. The centre was established in 1991, to supply scholars and researchers with hard to find books, references and manuscripts of Arabic and Islamic importance necessary for their research. Books here can be used within the library and researchers can take photocopies.
Sat-Thu 8am-7.30pm. Salahuddin Road, Deira, www.almajidcenter.org (04 607 4600).
This vast, 68,000 sq ft bookstore in The Dubai Mall houses more than half a million books and thousands of magazines, as well as journals. You can also order books online to be delivered to the store for collection or get them delivered to your home or office for a charge of Dhs30.
Kinokuniya, The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, www.kinokuniya.com (04 434 0111).
This is Dubai’s newest, most modern, multimedia library for new book lovers. Its collection includes more than 30,000 ebooks, audiobooks and good old-fashioned pages. You can also have your library books delivered to you, and you can avoid late charges, since they’ll also pick
up your old books, too.
Annual membership from Dhs100 per month. Safestway Supermarket Complex, Al Wasl Centre, www.reademption.com (04 321 2521).
The Magazine Shop
If you enjoy magazines with great content and design (as a Time Out Dubai reader, we’re assured that you do), then head to The Magazine shop where you’ll find a small treasure trove of independent mags from around the world. Providing fans an alternative perspective, the titles here are carefully sourced and cover topics from fashion and art to architecture travel and music.
Open Sun-Thu 8am-6pm. Gate Village 8, DIFC, www.facebook.com/themagazineshopdubai (056 432 9761).
The Old Library
As its name suggests, The Old Library is the oldest English language library in Dubai. It’s run as a non-profit organisation by a team of dedicated volunteers and houses a collection of more than 18,000 fiction, non-fiction and reference titles for members to borrow (up to eight at a time). The library is currently seeking volunteers, so if you have some spare time to help out, call for more details.
Annual membership Dhs200, plus Dhs50 joining fee. Open Sat-Thu 10am-6pm. Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha, www.theoldlibrary.ae (04 341 4777).