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Qatar National Library

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 serves a multifaceted purpose, functioning as a national library, a university-level research library, and a modern metropolitan public library designed for the digital era. As per UNESCO’s definition of a national library, QNL gathers and grants access to global knowledge, including heritage materials and resources pertinent to Qatar and the surrounding region. Additionally, in its capacity as a university and research library, QNL supports educational and research endeavors across various levels. Moreover, as a contemporary central public library, it delivers library services and assets to cater to the reading preferences and enhance the information literacy of the broader public. Furthermore, with the inauguration of its new building, QNL has emerged as a community hub, facilitating gatherings and interactions among the populace.

In April 2012, Claudia Lux, a distinguished German scholar and library expert, assumed the role of director of the library project under the auspices of the Qatar Foundation. Initially overseeing the launch of QNL as a digital library, Lux spearheaded the commencement of construction on a new facility for the library within Education City, a prominent district in Doha developed by the Qatar Foundation. Education City is renowned as a hub for higher education, housing branch campuses of six American universities alongside other educational and research institutions.

In October 2016, Dr. Sohair Wastawy was appointed as the Executive Director of QNL, bringing with her three decades of experience in library management.

Library collections and services

Any Qatari citizen or resident permit holder is entitled to free library registration at QNL. Through the library’s website, registered users gain complimentary online access to a diverse array of digital resources. These resources encompass international scholarly databases, leading academic journals, popular literature, magazines, children’s materials, and music.

QNL boasts an extensive collection of books and e-books available in English, Arabic, and various other languages. The collection spans both fiction and non-fiction genres, featuring bestsellers, classics, magazines, journals, DVDs, CDs, and audiobooks. As of 2018, the library’s shelves housed over 800,000 physical books, while its digital collection comprised more than 500,000 e-books, periodicals, newspapers, and specialized collections.

Aligned with QNL’s mission to equip Qatar’s residents for engagement in the global knowledge economy, the library offers a diverse range of educational programs and services. These initiatives focus on enhancing information literacy, nurturing early literacy skills, honing research abilities, and facilitating the effective use of digital resources. The library’s educational programming encompasses activities such as book clubs, language-learning classes, musical performances, and craft workshops. Additionally, QNL organizes events tailored for children and their families, including storytelling sessions, creative crafting activities, and engaging science exhibits.

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