Designed to promote Arabic literacy and foster intercultural dialogue among Arab youth, the webportal and mobile app prides a virtual library. Available free of charge, Maktaba Mobile offers a combination of e-books, videos, educational games and even allows users to upload their own material such as videos or stories.
The Founder of Maktaba, Sarah Al Dafa, said:
The Maktaba Children’s Library Project was set-up to inspire children and parents to appreciate books through reading for leisure. Maktaba Mobile takes this a step further by providing a range of engaging and easily accessible learning resources, including games and puzzles across multiple digital platforms.’
There are currently six books available in Maktaba Mobile with two more that are coming soon. Most of the books are aimed for children from the age of three to seven. Arabic books including Eid Cakes, Where the Sun Sets and I Want to Play are available in Maktaba Mobile. However, there are books available to children above the age of seven such as 50 Amazing Things Kids Need to Know about Science. Math books will be included in the virtual library as well.
Al Dafa added:
‘We want kids to go back to reading Arabic…We tried to work with some of the best Arabic language publishers in the middle east and we were very fortunate to partner with the organisations we partnered with such as Mada Masr and Jarrous press out of Lebanon. We’ll be adding new content month on month. If there are publishers out there who want to be included, we look forward to hearing from them. Our goal is to really make sure that access to high quality books is a right not a privilege. We really want kids reading especially in Arabic.’
From an academic perspective, Maktaba Mobile is also expected to provide parents and teachers with the opportunity to tap into a wide range of valuable Arabic language teaching and learning resources, which can be incorporated into syllabi and reading lists.
The Co-founder of Maktaba, Hind Al Khulaifi, said:
We would really like to thank the publishers for trusting us and providing their content to us. It’s a very big step for them. Moving to the digital world is something new. Hopefully, with Maktaba Mobile, we’ll give other people [in the Arab region] a chance to think about making mobile applications more suitable for children just like the Western region does so.
Maktaba Mobile comes as part of RasGas’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme’s Year of Education 2013. Hamad Mubarak Al Muhannadi, RasGas Acting Chief Executive Officer, said:
RasGas is committed to fostering a love of reading and learning that extends outside the school of environment. In a digital era when many hours are spent in front of computer screens and smart mobile phone, Maktaba Mobile allows us to harness the power of technology to promote Arabic among young native speakers and the language’s fans alike.’
To access Maktaba Mobile, users can access Maktaba Mobile’s website and download the app from the Google Play Store for android devices. The Maktaba Mobile is not avaliable in the Apple App Store yet but it will be soon.