Abrehot Library (አብርሆት ቤተ­-መጽሐፍት) | Design, Books & Working Hour

Abrehot library (አብርሆት ቤተ­-መጽሐፍት)

March 11, 2022

Abrehot library (አብርሆት ቤተ­-መጽሐፍት) has the most extensive library in the country. Dr. Abiy Ahmed initiated the project, and it took eighteen months and a budget of 1.15 billion Ethiopian birr for completion. It is open to the public and is under the administration of Addis Ababa University (AAU). Besides the extensive library, Abrehot has a recreational area, playground, amphitheaters, eight bookstores, and a cafeteria.

Dr. Abiy Ahmed

“Knowledge is a tool that frees from the bondage of Ignorance.”

Dr. Abiy Ahmed at the inauguration of Abrehot Library on January 1, 2022

Abrehot library (አብርሆት ቤተ­-መጽሐፍት) is one of the top ten libraries in Africa. It is located in Arat Kilo, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in front of the parliament building on Niger Street. It is built on 38,687-meter squares of land.

The name “Abrehot” is an Amharic word that means enlightenment.

Abrehot Library (አብርሆት ቤተ­-መጽሐፍት)
Abrehot Library (አብርሆት ቤተ­-መጽሐፍት)

Facility and Design of Abrehot Library

One of the things contributing to Abrehot’s architecture is the sculpture of a child lying on his back while playing with a hollow sphere. A renowned painter and sculptor, assistant professor Bekele Mekonnen designed it. He states the meaning of the sculpture as follows:

“I chose a child because they are innocent and critical. They question things with no limit. Due to that, they are carefree and pose as they like. They can see the world from a lot of perspectives. The world is represented by numbers, Amharic, and Latin alphabets. It has air circulation so we can feel at ease and entertain. The child is sleeping on a book, which is already existing knowledge that does not rule the child. The underlying rock is not altered much from its natural state. We have put a lot of work into it.”

Assistant professor Bekele Mekonnen
Sculpture at Abrehot Library
Sculpture at Abrehot

The library building is rectangular on the outside and has a veranda with seven poles. On these poles are words written in eighteen languages believed to have their alphabet. Amharic is represented by tibeb (“ጥበብ”), which translates to wisdom.

The interior of the building has four circular floors and a small garden at the center. It has stairs and three elevators.

Inside Abrehot Library
Inside Abrehot Library

Basement (Parking, offices, special collections)

The basement has unique reading rooms for books that require special attention, including those written on leather “ብራና”. These rooms are only allowed for certain people with permission.

The basement also has a security control room, database, stores, high standard staff kitchen and dining area, and parking. The parking is suitable for the differently-abled and has space enough for 115 cars. 

Ground floor (Reception, children’s library, periodicals)

It has a reception, a comfy waiting area, Kids Zone, a reference room, and an associated reading area. Encyclopedias, world atlases, newspapers, and periodicals here. There is also a children’s library so parents can tutor their children and keep an eye on them while reading. It has spelling kits, puzzles, and different stationery materials other than books. In addition, it has a separate room for when they throw a tantrum and need to change their clothes. It also has a space meant for nursing.

Children’s Library
Children’s Library

First floor

Workstations and reading hall

Second floor

Reading hall and business hub

Third floor

Braille hall and reading hall; Audio-visual room

Fourth floor

Meeting rooms, reading hall, library administration

The meeting room is multipurpose and can accommodate 120 people. It can be sectioned into three rooms of 40 chairs and has a corridor for tea breaks.

Waiting areas

These areas are for people who want to wait until the other spaces are free. You can find it on all floors.

Books in Abrehot library (አብርሆት ቤተ­-መጽሐፍት)

There are currently around 800,000 books, of which 240,000 are paperless, and over 450,000 research papers (340,000 local and 120,000 international) in the library. The ministry of education donated them, AAU, the culture and tourism bureau, Addis Ababa municipality, the office of Prime Minister, Ethiopia Reads, and others. Most of the books are in Amharic and English. But they aim to include books written in other languages and reach 1.4 million. All are welcome to donate and be part of enlightening generations. Also, see the Abrehot Library Gofundme page here.  

What Makes Abrehot Library Great?

  • Open 24 for 7
  • Has capacity for 1.4 million hard copy books
  • 15 terabyte database for e-library (about 1 to 2 million e-books)
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • You can bring your own PC.
  • No dress code.
  • It can accommodate 2,500 people at a time.
  • Children and disability friendly
  • Group study area for researchers
  • Waiting area and WC on all floors
  • Easily accessible electric sockets on the tables

Abrehot is a place where recreation meets the library. It has exquisite design and the capacity for a large number of books. It is where we can find our history and help our children develop the habit of reading. These features make Abrehot something beyond a library; it is one of the top places to visit in Addis Ababa. Please keep the facility clean and behave appropriately. You are under surveillance of security cameras.

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Written by Typical Ethiopian Team

Typical Ethiopian Team is a team of professional authors who regularly publish 12 - 30 blog posts every month. They are doing a really good job of creating unique and reliable content about Ethiopia. If you want to contribute, contact us at [email protected]

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1 Comment

  1. Kibreab Adane

    My Dear, How can I donate soft copy of my Text Book to Abrehot Library. Text Book is entitled “Fundamentals of System &Network Administration :(Concepts &technology)



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