More than one million titles, and counting
April 15 2019 11:13 PM
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Dr Sohair Wastawy
Dr Sohair Wastawy

More than a million books have been borrowed from Qatar National Library (QNL) since its opening and most of those books were on psychology, economics, engineering and management information systems.

QNL, which on Tuesday marks the first anniversary of its official opening, currently has 139,551 registered members.

“Over the past year, we welcomed 738,636 visitors and QNL caters to the needs of people of all ages and educational and cultural backgrounds,” Dr Sohair Wastawy, executive director, QNL, told Gulf Times.

“We have organised more than 900 events over the past year and our visitors have explored all aspects of the library, borrowing their favourite books from the main collection and attending one or more of the events,” Dr Wastawy noted.

The Children’s and Young Adults’ Collections were particularly well received by families, children and the young ones.

More than half of the 720,000 books checked out since January 1, 2018, are from the Children’s and Young Adults’ Collections, which is a great testament to QNL’s early literacy efforts,” explained the official.

According to Dr Wastawy, the Qatar Digital Library is a growing online archive with more than 1.5mn pages of archives, maps, manuscripts, sound recordings and photographs relating to the Gulf and the wider region.

The Digital Library has received more than 2.5mn views so far and is still expanding.

“Innovation within the library is driving engagement as users have the chance to express their creative sides by using the four Innovation Stations, which have musical instruments and recording equipment, green screens, 3D printers, photography and videography studios, and other makerspaces,” said the executive director.

The official maintained that QNL has become a vibrant hub of social engagement, education and communication since its opening.

“A significant part of QNL’s service to community is through its wide-ranging programme of events, from exhibitions and scientific lectures to technology training and creative workshops, and members have responded enthusiastically. We had more than 21,000 people registering for the events, and engaging on a variety of topics over the year,” she described.

The Qatar Digital Library, which is an important outcome of a partnership with the British Library, is providing free access to more than 1.5mn digitised pages of Qatar’s and the region’s history.

The Digital Library will continue to add almost 1mn pages of material from partners in Turkey, France, the Netherlands, India and the UK.

“We will build on the success of QNL and continue to offer our services to the people of Qatar. We are adding new titles to our existing print and online collections, and will keep offering new programmes for everyone in the community to learn and socialise.

"We will also continue to engage our existing partners in Qatar, the region and beyond and forge new partnerships with cultural institutions to develop projects to further the preservation of Qatar and the region’s historical heritage,” elaborated the official.

She highlighted that QNL has a collection of more than 1mn books in different genres and there is so much room to grow.

“We always welcome feedback from our community, and if there are any particular books that our users are seeking, we have a system in place to order reading material requested by the partners wherever possible,” she added.



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