Library gives an experience like no other in Saudi Arabia

The library was designed on four levels with an area of more than 6,000 square meters in a modern design.
Updated 15 March 2018

Library gives an experience like no other in Saudi Arabia

ALKHOBAR: With its huge area, white panoramic design, prominent technology and vibrant atmosphere, the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) library located in Dhahran, Eastern Province is the first and the only one of its kind in the Arab World that represents itself as the 21-century library.
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 Arab News.
“What makes 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 the library programs, the books recommended by the library staff, and a number of interactive screens that let visitors scan any book in the library to find out more about it. Such technologies are considered quality services in the Arab world, Alkhawaji said.
“By stimulating discussions about books and with face-to-face encounters with authors and literary thinkers, the library becomes a place to diffuse knowledge and not only to consume it, and that is the main reason why we have the café on the second floor, in the middle of the library,” or on 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 library was designed on four levels with an area of more than 6,000 square meters in a modern design. “Whenever you go up a level it becomes more conducive and suitable for learning and researching,” Alkhawaji explained. The library starts with the children’s and multimedia floor, then you reach the social floor with the café where different programs take place, after that the non-fiction books level, and lastly the research floor which was designed especially for researchers and students.
It contains 51 columns, each one with a lit marble panel engraved with the verses of 51 Arab poets of different ages and eras, and in different types of Arabic calligraphy.
Ithra library provides not only books but also digital resources through its e-library which will focus on improving the quality of Arabic digital content and will be a major step forward in digital publishing in the language.
The library, along with its mother organization the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture, is to be a huge contribution by Saudi Aramco to the knowledge-based society transition Saudi Arabia is heading toward. While the Ithra Library had its soft opening in September 2017, it is expected to have its official opening for the public in the third quarter of this year.

Saudi Arabia says halt in arms sales will embolden Iran

Updated 20 June 2019

Saudi Arabia says halt in arms sales will embolden Iran

  • Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir was speaking after UK suspended issuing new licenses for weapons sales to the Kingdom in response to a court ruling
  • UK government disagrees with the judgement and will seek permission to appeal

LONDON: Halting weapons sales to Saudi Arabia will only benefit Iran, Adel Al-Jubeir said Wednesday, after the British government announced it would suspend issuing new licenses for the sale of arms to the Kingdom.

The UK’s International Trade Secretary Liam Fox announced the decision in parliament after a court ordered the government to “reconsider” the sales because of their humanitarian impact in Yemen.

Fox said he disagreed with the judgement and would seek permission to appeal.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said the deployment of weapons in Yemen was legitimate.

“The decision by the court in the UK has to do with procedures for licensing, not any wrongdoing that took place,” Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir told reporters in London.

“The coalition is an ally of the West and the coalition is fighting a legitimate war at the behest of a legitimate government to stop Iran and its proxies from taking over a strategically important country - so the only beneficiary of a cut-off of weapons to the coalition is going to be Iran.”

The court ruling does not halt Britain's arms exports but means the granting of new licences will be paused.

Leading British defence firm BAE Systems said it would continue to support the UK government “in providing equipment, support and training under government to government agreements between the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia.”

Saudi Arabia is part of the Arab coalition fighting to support the internationally recognized government in Yemen which was driven from the capital Sanaa in 2014 by Iran-backed militants.

Saudi Arabia accounted for 43 percent of Britain's global arms sales in the past decade, Reuters reported.

The legal action against the British government was brought by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade.

Meanwhilw, a State Department official said the US must stand with Saudi Arabia as a key security partner, when asked about the Thursday's court ruling in the UK.
Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Clarke Cooper said both the US and Britain had long-standing bilateral ties to Saudi Arabia.
"They are carrying a significant amount of equity to protect US interests and US persons, and it is incumbent upon us to stand shoulder to shoulder with our partners, especially when they are on the front line for our interests," he said.

*With Reuters