In April, passengers at Sharjah International Airport will be able to browse thousands of titles and read their favourite books while waiting to board their flight
Travellers passing through Sharjah International Airport will soon have the option of a unique experience thanks to a partnersip between the Sharjah Public Library (SPL), an affiliate of Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), and the Sharjah Airport Authority. In April they will be able to browse through and choose from thousands of books in different languages available on the first-of-its-kind e-book network in the Middle East while waiting to board their flight at the Sharjah International Airport.
The initiative, which is the first of its kind in international airports in the region, gives travellers access to digital books which they can download on their smart devices. The downloads will be available for a period of 21 days. The SPL initiative provides titles in many languages. The books include fiction, poetry, history, science, and art, among others.
The initiative is the outcome of a partnership agreement signed by HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA, and HE Ali Salem Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Airport Authority, in the presence of Sheikh Faisal Bin Saud Al Qassimi, Director of Sharjah Airport Authority; Eman Bushlaibi, Director of SPL; and Alia Obaid Al Shamsi, Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications at the Sharjah Airport Authority.
Commenting on the agreement, Al Ameri said: “This initiative stems from the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, who places such a great emphasis on education and knowledge in society and promoting reading in Sharjah and the UAE.”
He added, “SPL has always been at the forefront of launching initiatives and programmes that make books accessible to readers and create learning opportunities for everybody. Through this innovative initiative, SPL registers a new milestone in Sharjah’s cultural project, which we hope will become a model for others to follow, regionally and internationally.”
Al Ameri lauded Sharjah Airport Authority’s cooperation in launching SPL’s innovative initiative and supporting the emirate’s cultural movement. He stressed that Sharjah’s efforts and initiatives succeeded spectacularly due to cooperation between various institutions, adding that such programmes would create a ripple effect on other sectors, contributing to the allround development of the community.
For his part, Al Midfa said: ” This initiative expresses the identity of the Emirate of Sharjah, with its ambitions, aspirations, and the cultural heritage it delivers to the world to strengthen its position as a global cultural ideal and a meeting place for thinkers and creators.”
He added: “We hope that this partnership is the beginning of many such efforts in cooperation with SBA, to translate the vision and directives of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, to contribute to the comprehensive development journey of the emirate, at the Sharjah Airport Authority, we will continue to support everything that drives more innovation through targeted initiatives to spread culture and knowledge ”
According to the MoU, the e-book service would be available for adult travellers in April and for children in the last quarter of 2021.
Travellers do not have to install apps or have a data plan to browse and download books. They can log onto to the free wifi service available at Sharjah International Airport to receive notifications on their smart devices with instructions on how to connect to the e-book network. Detailed information about the service will also be displayed inside the airport.
SPL has plans to offer dedicated spaces equipped with tablets for passengers to select and read their favourite title, while maintaining strict COVID-19 safety protocols.
Under the MoU, the two parties will collaborate on projects and programmes in line with the Sharjah Government’s mission to raise awareness of the vital role of knowledge in achieving the emirate’s goals and aspirations.