Details are sparse as this post goes live but Sharjah Public Libraries in the United Arab Emirates is reported to be making its digital catalogue available worldwide for free from April through June.

Per a report in Gulf Today, the catalogue comprises, across ten languages,

21,000 scientific studies, a library of 30,000 videos in all disciplines, 160,000 eBooks, five million academic dissertations and theses, in addition to a collection of manuscripts, rare books and audiobooks.

For the Sharjah Book Authority Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri said,

The move is aligned with the cultural vision of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and offers readers from around the world the opportunity to harness their leisure time in view of the precautionary measures that is being taken. Moreover, it emphasises that reading, learning, research can continue to prosper even under challenging circumstances, given the remarkable opportunities that modern technology offers.

As Sharjah marks its year as the UNESCO World Book Capital 2019, this initiative strengthens the emirate’s call for continuous learning, and highlights SPL’s efforts aimed at providing the latest reading and researching options to all those who seek it, across the globe.

The Al Qasimi family credentials as booklovers are well established –

so this latest move comes as no surprise.

One hopes this might be the start of something that will continue beyond the current global crisis, and that the free reach will be continued long term, at least for emerging market countries where access to books is severely challenged.

Visit the Sharjah Public Libraries site here.