By Johara Al Mogbel
Where, when and how to get lost in a good book in the city.
Princess Nora University Library
Ah, we’re do we start. PNU should be universally acclaimed as one of the most beautiful university campuses in the whole world, if it isn’t already. The university was built with a no-expenses-spared frame of mind, and that applies to the library as well. With interior design that makes you feel like you just stepped into a really luxurious five star hotel and a reported capacity of 5 million books, it’s where we want to be if we ever get stuck in a weather/zombie/anything related to apocalypse. The only hurdle with PNU Library is that you need to be a student or a faculty member at the university to be able to visit. We, er, we just discovered a pressing need to take multiple undergrad degrees. At Princess Nora. Yes.
King Abdulaziz Public Library
Probably the most prominent and active of the libraries in Riyadh, King Abdulaziz Public Library (KAPL) also happens to be our favorite for around the year reading. They have endless programs to promote reading for children and can always be found in most expos and exhibitions. The thing we love about the library the most, though, is the support they’ve given to enriching Arabic children’s books. With their own printing press, the KAPL’s publishing program is open for any Saudis with an idea or the skills to illustrate. Their books are also the best priced on the market.
Saturday – Thursday 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Friday 4 – 9 p.m.
Sunday – Wednesday 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. then 4 – 8 p.m.
Thursday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Friday closed.
KAPL houses one of the largest publicly available Arabian cartographic collections in the world.
Reading in the capital city doesn’t stop there, though. There are many bookstores in Riyadh that are gems. Our favorite is Kan Ya Makan bookstore for children.
King Salman Central Library
One of the city’s hidden gems, we’re almost reluctant to tell you about this one and spoil it for ourselves. And okay, yes, being KSU alumni ensures that it has a special place in our hearts. But honestly, we can think of no other place in Riyadh that felt as close to Narnia as this library does. And since it caters to a big university and being well stocked with books on all sorts of subjects is a must, you can find all sorts of treasures hidden on its shelves. The library is in the middle of the male campus of King Saud University and is open for women once a week.
Sunday-Thursday 8 a.m. – 12 a.m.
Friday 2 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Saturday 8 a.m. -5 p.m.
King Fahad Library
There are few people who don’t know about King Fahad Library, thanks to the gorgeous façade it received as a result of a renovation it recently went through. Its location on King Fahad Road also ensures it’s the most centrally located library on this list! And from what we’ve seen in the pictures released by the library, the renovation was very well done. We could easily say it’s one of the most eye-pleasing public spaces in Riyadh.
Sunday – Thursday 8 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Men only for now.