Qatar National Library (QNL) has taken several initiatives in promoting environmental culture and sustainability through programmes and library resources, according to an official.
The QNL building itself is a manifestation of several environmental sustainability aspects, such as energy efficiency, water conservation, waste reduction and natural light, said, Hadia Hajo, editor and publications specialist at QNL in an article.
In addition, QNL provides a large number of printed and electronic materials and holds regular awareness events, symposiums, panel discussions and documentaries among others.
According to Hajo, QNL has a building management system that monitors and controls energy usage. The lighting system for example is preprogrammed to automatically dim the lights after the workhours and to dim even more during the QNL closing time at night.
As for water conservation, QNL building uses water taps with sensors, to reduce the waste of water. The building has a waste management programme that includes recycling bins for different types of materials like paper, glass, cans, and food waste. The library utilise an e-waste system where electronic waste is recycled in collaboration with Qatar Foundation’s General Services department. The Library Conservation and Preservation Lab generates chemical waste which is treated by QNL in collaboration with Qatar Foundation.
Natural light is another important aspect of environmental sustainability in the QNL building. The building's design maximises the use of natural light to reduce the need for artificial lighting and minimise energy consumption. The glass façade allows natural light to reach the interior spaces, and the library's reading areas in the main plaza are designed to take advantage of daylighting. In addition to the environmental benefits of natural light, it also has positive effects on the health and well-being of building occupants.
QNL’s another effort at promoting sustainability is through its vast resources in multiple languages, covering topics on environment and sustainability. These include climate change, renewable energy sources, sustainable agriculture and food systems, biodiversity conservation, waste management and recycling, sustainable transportation, sustainable building practices, conservation and management of water resources, environmental policy and governance, environmental justice and equity among others.
QNL also holds monthly events on different educational topics, including environmental and sustainability issues. The library has organised various activities on the topics of environment and sustainability, such as group discussions, symposiums, panel discussions, workshops, awareness lectures, and documentary screenings.
Some of such initiatives included a group discussion on the role of public libraries in achieving sustainable development goals on environment in Qatar; a symposium and a panel discussion entitled "Qatari Youth Interaction with Environmental Issues". QNL has organised workshops and lectures, such as "Environmental Sustainability in Islam", "The Importance of Studying Harsh Environments on Planet Earth", and "How to Make Sustainability Part of Our Daily Lives?" It screened a documentary film entitled "Living the Change: Inspiring Stories for a Sustainable Future", which showcased inspiring ways and methods for sustainable living.
QNL also organised a discussion presented by the Doha Project for Environmental Initiatives titled "Guidelines for Starting the Sustainability Journey in Qatar" to learn about marine life and the impact of plastic pollution in Qatar, and to provide simple solutions to contribute to solving the problem. Additionally, QNL held another discussion session presented by the executive team of The Hague International Model of the United Nations in Qatar.
An interior view of a section of QNL.