Qatar National Library (QNL) will officially open its new state-of-the-art building to the public in Education City on November 7, giving residents access to nearly one million books, periodicals, and special collections, including its famed Heritage Collection.
Once the building opens, existing QNL members can pick up a membership card, while those not yet registered can do so by presenting their Qatar ID.
QNL’s doors will be opened for the first time in November giving the local community the first chance to use the tremendous new building and resources while a full range of exhibitions and services will be launched at the official inauguration ceremony in 2018.
QNL, a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), is destined to become one of the world’s preeminent centres of learning, research, and culture, and also a guardian of the region’s heritage, as an institution promoting discovery and human development in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030 and the UN’s Global Sustainable Development Goals.
The QNL building, designed by renowned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and located in Education City, is the first new national library to open anywhere in the world in this millennium. The new QNL facility has been five years in the planning, having been founded in 2012 by HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chairperson of QF.
The 45,000sqm QNL building, which is fully accessible to visitors with special needs, features numerous custom-designed innovations, including an automatic book sorting system, a people mover system, several interactive media walls, and self-check in/out machines that make borrowing books easier for visitors.
“The QNL building is intended to be a public space where people of all ages can come to learn, reflect, engage, and be inspired,” said Dr Sohair F Wastawy, executive director, QNL. “In addition, we are pleased to offer a permanent home for the Heritage Collection, which is a valuable repository of the history and heritage of Qatar, the Arabian Gulf region, and the larger Arab and Islamic worlds.”
The Heritage Collection, located in the centre 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 collection also contains writings by travellers who explored the Arabian Gulf region over the centuries.
QNL also features a dedicated Children’s Library containing more than 150,000 books, in English, Arabic, French, German, and other languages, and is offering early literacy programmes and workshops for families to develop reading skills from an early age. The Children’s Library also houses educational toys, arts and crafts materials, and innovative learning software, as well as its own team of dedicated children’s librarians.
Meanwhile, the Teen Collection, 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-designed events space. It also includes school curriculum and college textbooks for students preparing for exams including ACT and SAT.
Young visitors can utilise individual and group study spaces, computer labs, a writing centre, and an Innovation Station offering a wide variety of creative tools such as 3D printers, sound recording and editing, and musical instruments.