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 Embassy evacuates 300 tourists from Lebanon

Updated 56 min 4 sec ago

Saudi Embassy evacuates 300 tourists from Lebanon

  • The embassy said that evacuees were escorted to Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut by Lebanese security forces to guarantee their safety
  • Three Saudia aircraft were used to transport them

BEIRUT: Saudi Arabia's embassy in Lebanon has confirmed it has facilitated the “evacuation of Saudi residents and visitors” from the country.
“The evacuation operation, imposed by the security situation in Lebanon and the importance of ensuring the safety of Saudi nationals, started Saturday at 5 a.m. after the Kingdom secured three Saudia aircraft to transport them,” the embassy told Arab News.
“Three hundred people were evacuated as of Saturday afternoon, while the total number of those wishing to leave remains unclear. We have identified a hotel in Beirut as a starting point,” it added, noting that most of those who had left were tourists.
The embassy also confirmed evacuees were escorted to Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut by Lebanese security forces to guarantee their safety.
Protests broke out in Lebanon on Thursday night, and disorder has disrupted roads leading to the airport, with burning tires blocking several key routes.
On Friday, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged its citizens already in Lebanon to exercise “utmost caution.”
Egypt’s Embassy in Beirut also called on its nationals in the country to avoid protest areas, Egyptian state news agency MENA said.
“The embassy calls on all Egyptian citizens in Lebanon to avoid the areas of gatherings and protests, to be careful in their movements and to abide by the instructions of the Lebanese authorities in this regard,” MENA reported.
Meanwhile, Kuwait’s Embassy in Lebanon asked citizens wishing to travel to the country to delay trips where possible.
“The embassy also calls on citizens currently in Lebanon to take utmost care and stay away from crowds and demonstrations,” it said on social media site Twitter.
Bahrain and the UAE warned against travel to Lebanon and called on their citizens in the country to leave immediately.