Sharjah Public Library, together with OverDrive, the world’s leading digital reading platform for libraries and schools, announced today the launch of its digital library collection with a large catalog of eBooks and audiobooks. Sharjah is the first library in the United Arab Emirates to join the 38,000 libraries and schools worldwide in the OverDrive network. Their collection is comprised of 1,200 eBooks and audiobooks in English and includes a broad selection of pleasure reading and professional, academic, and continuing education titles, including content supporting English language proficiency and science and medical content. New content is added to the site regularly and readers can enjoy the user experience in English, Arabic and French.

Sharjah Public Library

“We are delighted to serve our diverse readership with the convenience of digital books from the Sharjah Library,” said Sara Al , Marzouqi, Director of Sharjah Public Library, operated by the Sharjah Book Authority.  “We are working with OverDrive to help Arabic publishers develop eBook and audiobook editions we can provide for anytime, anywhere use on mobile devices.”

This latest innovation comes on the heels of other significant book and reading-related initiatives in Sharjah. His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, announced at the Sharjah International Book Fair the formation of Sharjah Publishing City, a free trade zone designed to increase publishing activity in the Middle East. In January, the Emirate of Sharjah provided 2.1 million books to Emirati households, as part of the Home Library project, to strengthen the bonds between citizens and books and to promote reading as a noble habit in every Emirati household.

“Sharjah Public Library’s new digital collection is an outstanding extension of the library’s services, with convenient access to popular and relevant eBooks and audiobooks,” said Steve Potash, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rakuten OverDrive.  “OverDrive has enabled public libraries all over the world to reach readers of all ages, and we are excited to work with the Sharjah to offer the first digital collection in the UAE.”