Qatar National Library (QNL) is a non-profit organization under the umbrella of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development. The plans for the new national library were announced by Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, on 19 November 2012, during a ceremony celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Dar Al Kutub Library, in Doha, Qatar, one of the first public libraries in the Persian Gulf region (founded on 29 December 1962), which had until then been regarded as the national library of Qatar.
QNL aims to serve a three-fold function: as a national library, a research-level university library, and a central metropolitan public library equipped for the digital age. In its capacity as a national library as defined by UNESCO, it collects and provides access to global knowledge, including heritage content and materials relevant to Qatar and the region; as a university and research library, it supports education and research at all levels; and as a modern central public library, it provides library services and resources to meet the reading interests and foster the information literacy of the general public. In addition, with the opening of the new building, it also serves as a community meeting place.
Claudia Lux, a German scholar and library professional, was appointed by the Qatar Foundation to be the director of the library project in April 2012, and initially oversaw the launch of QNL as a digital library. Meanwhile, construction began on a new building for the library in Education City, a district in Doha that was developed by Qatar Foundation as a center of higher education, and now includes branch campuses of six American universities, as well as other educational and research institutions.
In October 2016, Dr. Sohair Wastawy was appointed as Executive Director of QNL, to which she brought 30 years of library managerial experience.
Any Qatari citizen or resident permit holder is eligible for free library registration. QNL’s website offers registered library users free online access to a diverse collection of online resources, including international scholarly databases and top academic journals, as well as popular literature, magazines, children’s resources, and music.
The library offers a wide variety of books and e-books, in English, Arabic, and other languages, including fiction and non-fiction, bestsellers and classics, as well as magazines and journals, DVDs, CDs, and audiobooks. In 2018, the library’s collection consisted of more than 800,000 books on its shelves and more than 500,000 eBooks, periodicals and newspapers, and special collections. In keeping with QNL’s mission to help prepare Qatar residents for participation in the global knowledge economy, a broad range of educational and instructional programs and services have been planned that focus on information literacy, early literacy, research skills, and using digital resources. Library educational programming includes book clubs, language-learning classes, musical events, and craft workshops, as well as events for children and their families, such as storytelling, crafts, and science exhibits.