Showcasing an array of unique features and services, the new Qatar National Library (QNL) building in the Education City will open its doors for the public on Tuesday. The building is open to all members of the public, with free membership to anyone with a Qatari ID.
A tour of the facility was organised on Monday for the local media during which the salient features of the library such as self-check in and check-out services; the people mover system; the heritage library; assistive technology area among many others were showcased.
The library building - an exterior view
An area of the library where book are displayed
Mainly in Arabic and English languages, the library has collections in about 17 languages.
QNL, a member of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), is one of the largest libraries of this type in the world, according to the library officials. Five years in the planning, the facility was announced in 2012 by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chairperson of QF.
Spread over 45,000 square-metre, the building, has the capacity of displaying more than one million books and has currently a little more than 800,000 volumes. In addition, the library also hosts a large number of periodicals, special collections, as well as the QNL Heritage Library.
Members can 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 centre, innovation stations, and study rooms.
“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.
“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.
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 building is designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, and 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 many more.
The Heritage Library, located in the centre of the QNL building, includes rare and valuable texts and manuscripts related to Arabic and Islamic civilisation.
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.
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.