Muscat: Oman Avenues Mall and Dar Al Atta’a, Oman’s largest NGO charity organisation, have partnered together to bring forward one of the largest free-to-public children’s libraries and charity bookshops in Muscat, Oman.
The Let’s Read Programme, a Dar Al Atta’a initiative to promote reading, which was founded in 2007, will now be operational through themed premises on the third floor of Oman Avenues Mall. The agreement to operate the library was endorsed by the senior management members of Oman Avenues Mall and Dar Al Atta’a on March 18.
The ‘Let’s Read Journey’ project is scheduled to be fully operational by mid-2018 and is prospectively one of the latest of Oman Avenues Mall’s corporate and social responsibility initiatives for the children and youth of Oman. At the heart of the project is the strategic vision to inculcate reading habits in the children and youth of Oman, by offering them an experience that indulges them in the joy and love of books and reading in a playful environment.
The project is family-centred and encourages parents to accompany their children to the library, as they immerse themselves in what will be a world of Arabic and English titles on offer for children of all ages. The free-to-public library will cover a substantial area on the Oman Avenues Mall third floor, and will feature bookshelves and décor themed around a children’s play area and will showcase props such as colourful slides, cosy seating areas, educational toys and a bus-themed bookshop to signify and promote the mobile bus libraries that Dar Al Atta’a owns to reach out to underprivileged children who are deprived of books and who do not have access to libraries. The books on display will be available for purchase at a subsidised rate, and the resulting sale proceeds would be reinvested into the development and management of the project.
The entire fit-out and project costs are being undertaken by Oman Avenues Mall whilst Dar Al Atta’a shall organise the book collections and management of the project under a two-year, renewable management programme with the latter.
The initiative also focuses on enriching children and youth of Oman wherein families and their kids will also be able to donate their own books to the project at deposit boxes located at key points in the mall, and at the library itself. This would enable effective sharing of knowledge and resources. Oman Avenues Mall plans to invest in propagating the project to the masses to create widespread awareness on the importance of book reading.
Commenting on the project, Derick Michael – general manager of Oman Avenues Mall, said: “We always strive to achieve the development and well-being of the children and youth of Oman which also forms a principal part of our ongoing corporate social responsibility initiatives, and we are honoured to be able to support the Dar Al Atta’a association by contributing to the design and development of the ‘Let’s Read Journey’ library and charity bookshop, and by providing a prime location for the project on the mall’s third floor.”
Maryam Essa Al Zadjali, founder and chairman of Dar Al Atta’a, added: “We’re very grateful to Oman Avenues Mall for reaching out to us for a noble cause like this. The ‘Let’s Read Journey’ library and charity bookshop is a beautiful initiative, and the Dar Al Atta’a association is excited to see it taking shape. We feel that it is vitally important for kids and school children in Oman to develop their reading skills, and we hope to achieve this at the library by generating in children a long-lasting passion for reading and books.”