The nation’s landmark library, Qatar National Library, has officially opened to the public in Qatar Foundation’s Education City.
The new Qatar National Library (QNL) building in Education City will open its doors to the public for the first time on Tuesday, giving residents access to more than one million books, periodicals, and special collections, as well as the QNL Heritage Library.
Members can now check out books and other media from the main collection, access the Children’s and Teen’s Library, and begin using QNL’s creative and collaborative facilities, such as the Writing Center, Innovation Stations, and study rooms. The building is open to all members of the public, with free membership available to anyone with a Qatari ID.
“The opening of the QNL building is a landmark achievement for the cultural and education landscape in Qatar. QNL is a place where everybody can learn, collaborate, and create,” said Dr Sohair F. Wastawy, Executive Director, QNL.
QNL has also launched its new website at www.qnl.qa, allowing users to register for membership, search the library’s collection, reserve meeting and event spaces in the building, and access the dozens of online digital resources available to members. QNL will celebrate the building’s opening with a range of events, all of which are open to the public. The full schedule of events is available on the QNL website.
Designed by renowned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, the building is fully accessible to visitors with special needs. It features numerous custom-designed innovations, including an automatic book sorting system, several interactive media walls, and self-check-in and check-out machines that make borrowing books easier for members.
Heritage, Teen and Childen Libraries
“With the Heritage Library at its heart and innovative technology throughout, the QNL building is truly a bridge between Qatar’s past and its future,” added Dr Wastawy.
The Heritage Library, located in the center of the QNL building, includes rare and valuable texts and manuscripts related to Arabic and Islamic civilisation. In addition to Arabic manuscripts, historical maps and globes, scientific instruments and early photography, the Heritage Library also contains writings by travelers who explored the Arabian Gulf region over the centuries.
QNL also features a dedicated children’s section containing more than 100,000 books in Arabic, English, and a selection of other languages, featuring picture books, chapter books, information books, easy readers, magazines, DVDs, databases, audiobooks, e-books, and e-magazines. Additionally, the children’s section will offer early literacy programmes and workshops for families to develop reading skills from an early age. The QNL Children’s Library also has educational toys, arts and crafts materials, and innovative learning software, as well as its own team of dedicated librarians.
“One of QNL’s top priorities is fostering a love of reading from a young age, and our Children’s Library offers parents a range of resources to put their children on a path of learning,” added Dr. Wastawy.
Meanwhile, the Teen Library, aimed at visitors aged 13 to 18, includes more than 30,000 books, as well as magazines, computer labs, graphic novels, interactive learning tools, and a specially-tailored events space. It also includes school curriculum and college textbooks for students preparing for exams, including the ACT and SAT.
Visitors can utilise individual and group study spaces, computer labs, a writing center, and Innovation Stations offering a wide variety of creative tools, such as 3D printers and musical instruments. A full range of exhibitions and services will be launched at the official inauguration ceremony in 2018.
QNL is a member of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF). Five years in the planning, the facility was announced in 2012 by HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of QF.