18 Apr 2018 – 12:08

Readers borrowed over 320,000 books from QNL

QNL Executive Director Dr Sohair Wastawy (third left), QNL’s architect Rem Koolhaas (second right), and British Library Chief Executive Roly Keating (right) with other officials during a press conference held at the QNL, yesterday. Pic: Salim Matramkot/The Peninsula

By Fazeena Saleem | The Peninsula

DOHA: The Qatar National Library (QNL), which was inaugurated on Monday, has received more than 200,000 visitors and checked out 320,000 books, since its experimental opening in November 2017, said Dr Sohair Wastawy, Executive Director, QNL.

QNL is the newest national library of the 21st century and hosts one million books. It also houses a rare collection in the Heritage Library and provides free access to resources on the Qatar Digital Library.

“It’s (QNL) a national library with a mandate to serve the public. Unlike many national libraries, this is completely open for the public, including giving access to some rare books for the public,” said Dr Wastawy, addressing a press conference held at the QNL yesterday.

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“Since November 7, we have had more than 200,000 visits. We have also seen a  very high level of borrowing, with almost 40 percent, which is 320,000 books have been checked out,” she added.

QNL’s main collection features literature spanning an array of subjects and genres, including Arabic, English and other languages as well as dedicated sections for children and teens. Activities and services at the QNL are designed in a way making it a place for the entire community to gather, learn, innovate, contemplate, engage, and be inspired and empowered.

QNL hosts more than 500 community events each year for children, teens and adults, along with special purpose activities and workshops for academics, historians and researchers.

Rem Koolhaas, the main architect of QNL, said, “The library being built within the Education City gives an important message. It has made Education City more than a campus and as place dedicated to universities…. I also consider the library as a place where the community can gather not only for reading but for several other activities.”

While the Qatar Digital Library (QDL), launched in October 2014 and managed by the QNL, is the world’s largest open-access digital repository for Middle Eastern history.

QDL is the most important outcome of the partnership between the QNL and British Library. It has digitalized and give free access to the British Library’s historical collections relating to history of Qatar and the Gulf, medieval Arab science and medicine.

“The partnership begun in 2012, which lead forming the Qatar Digital Library in 2014, the virtual version of Qatar National Library. These collections which tells the story of Qatar and the region not just digitalized documents but maps, manuscripts and  photographs,” said Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library.

“Now we have 9 million users from around the world. We have a big ambition to bring 900,000 more images on to the Qatar Digital Library and to increasingly deepen our relations here over the next years,” he added.