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Visiting The Kuwait National Library

Around 4 years ago I passed by The Kuwait National Library. The library wasn’t officially open then but I had a meeting with the team there and before my meeting started, I wandered around a bit and explored what I thought were all the English books they had in this very small section near the meeting room. I wasn’t that impressed.

Since then I’ve been meaning to drop by again but never did, partially because I wasn’t impressed the first time but also because their opening hours are terrible, 9AM to 1PM during weekdays.. basically when everyone is at work. But, I did manage to finally drop by the library this morning and I’ve changed my mind, I now love the place.

The national library is spread out over three floors not including the ground floor. I’m sure the way the books were divided kinda made sense, but I was just wandering around exploring and randomly looking for English books. So this is the thing I didn’t realize the first time I was there, there isn’t just one section where all the English books are located. Instead, the library is divided into different areas like Encyclopedias or books about Kuwait etc.., and in each of these areas you’ll find an English books corner.

There were a handful of people in the library when I was there (because everyone has a day job obviously), so I was able to just walk around the different floors and sections, randomly exploring without disturbing anyone. I’m not sure I managed to see all the areas but even if I did, I really do have to go back and spend a lot more time there.

My favorite sections were probably the books on Kuwait section as well as the newspaper archives section. If you check my instagram story I shared some videos of that section. The newspaper archive section had these massive books of different Kuwaiti newspapers from the 60s, 70s, 80s etc.. and you just flip through them, every page of the book is a page from a newspaper. They’re so good and there were so many of them so I really want to go back and flip through more of those books.

There was also this very cool section with shelves that opened and moved with a touch of a button, there was a section where employees were busy digitizing books using these super cool laser scanners (pictured above), and there was even a rare books section.

I really love old books, especially ones related to Kuwait so I really did enjoy just sitting on the floor and flipping through random books. You can’t take the books out of the library, but that’s really not an issue for me and if anything, I prefer it since the books will always be there to check.

Their opening hours are terrible and that really is my biggest issue with the place. I really want you all to pass by and check the library out, but I also know that the majority of you have jobs and aren’t going to want to take a day off just to explore a library. But if you can, then they’re open from Sunday to Thursday, 9AM to 1PM. The library is located right next to the Sadu House and the National Museum [Google Maps]. Everyone can access the library, and it’s free. You just need to give them your Civil ID card at the door.

If you follow me on instagram (@mark248am) then check out my story today, I’ll also have it as a highlight for a few days in case you read this post late.

The National Library of Kuwait’s website is

24 replies on “Visiting The Kuwait National Library”

Oops forgot to mention that ANYONE can go there, it’s free. You just need to leave your civil id at the door. I’ll update the post to mention this thanjs

Do they have solid wifi? Seems like a good place to work remotely from. I’ll be in town for a few weeks and so i’m looking to mix it up as coffee shops bore me. Botanical gardens, hotel bars, and libraries over cafes any day.

Also are you able to check out books at this library? Or just read it there? I know its a push but most libraries have access to an expansive ebook/ audiobook library as part of their collection so was curious if we’d have access to that through these guys.

The opening hours make no sense at all… it’s like they’re sending a not-so-subtle message:


I believe that is the whole point, they don’t want you there unless you really need to be there. Keeping in mind that many people here have no respect for public goods, I fully support their decision.

Yea, not subtle at all, that is there exact reason!

I’m also pretty sure that if a large influx of people happens in the future they’re gonna make it on alternating days or something. I hate this snobbish atitude.
I’d rather pay a fee with good timings, than free entry with this ridiculousness

THIS is an excellent pilot project for a 24-hour reading / studying place. Wish they would consider longer opening hours.

Thanks for posting! I’ve always been wondering if the library allow anyone to access or not. If I don’t have a civil ID, can I just leave my passport at the door?

Wish they listed out all the rare books in their collection somewhere on the library website. Went there two or three years ago and asked the staff where they kept these books but they were clueless then.

I am also curious to know if there are any others reading this page who collect rare books, documents or maps on Kuwait / Arabia. Been chasing after a very elusive SIGNED copy of H. R. P. Dickson’s “Kuwait and her Neighbors” and want to know if any one has ever seen one or even have a copy of it.

There is a copy of the book on amazon for like $650 and on eBay for $15,000. Both unsigned but why are they so expensive? It can’t be that rare of a book can it? I’m trying to remember if I saw a copy of the book yesterday but without the jacket cuz it sounds familiar.

Thats not true, the library opens after hours.. you have to get a permit to allow you to go in from 3-10pm everyday except Fridays..

Sorry to disappoint you but it is true. You’re allowed access after hours to study, but you need special permission and you wouldn’t be allowed to access the library, just the study area on the ground floor.

Just noticed that, you’re right! They said they are working on it actively.. problem that they are struggling with resources to operate it at night, and it is a work in progress to get the green light .. it sucks that you cannot access the library at night, but its a precaution because of lack of human resources.. anyone up for a nightshift in a library?

Unsigned copies of Kuwait and her Neighbors are numerous and can be found for anything between 300 USD upwards in very good condition. I have a few copies of this title (different editions) including one copy signed by his wife Violet Dickson. However, for the last 15 years I have been chasing after a signed by the author and can’t find a trace of it though I have signed copies of his “Arab of the Desert” as well as one written by Zahra Freeth (his daughter) where he and his wife has signed into it. Hence the quest to complete the family set!

As for the 15000 USD book, the person listing the book for sale is mindless quoting a figure. The average market value is far less.

Good luck with acquiring the full set of Master Plan of Kuwait.

What else do you have? I just checked and there are three volumes to the master plan for kuwait. I guess I just have to find two more volumes. The library has two copies of the first volume

Is it still open now and welcome visitors? Did they change their opening time? I want to visit next week. Thank you.

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