By Fazeena Saleem
DOHA: A new project by the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development to build Qatar National Library was officially launched yesterday by H H Sheikha Moza bint Nasser. The Library which will house over one million books, a rich online database and multi media production studios will officially open in 2014.
“We are pleased to embrace the promise of new, world class Qatar National Library. The Library’s vision of bridging with knowledge Qatar’s heritage and future demonstrates the significant role Qatar National Library will play in unlocking human potentials as Qatar builds a knowledge- based economy. A modern dynamic National Library for the Country is essential in reaching this goal,” said Sheikha Moza.
The Arab Federation for Libraries and Information Person of the Year Award 2012 was also presented to Sheikha Moza during the event held at the Student Centre of Hamad bin Khalifa University in the presence of Dr Hamad bin Abdel Aziz Al Kuwari, Minister, Culture, Arts and Heritage, Prince Andrew, Duke of York and several other distinguished guests.
The launch of Qatar National Library coincides with the 50th anniversary of ‘Dar Al Kutub’, first national library in the Gulf Region, which opened in Doha in 1962. As a founding partner of the World Digital Library, QNL will provide innovative facilities for exploring interaction between technology and people to promote new ways of learning.
Besides housing 1.2 million books, the Qatar National Library will operate ‘Qatar Reference Service’ and provide access to over 60 online databases and websites and will have over 300 public computers, wifi and multi-media production studios. It will partner with British Library to digitise 500, 000 records relating to Qatar. As an ‘eHub’ the library will make millions of electronic books and documents accessible at the touch of a fingertip, and it will not even be necessary to visit the library in person, as the archive will be accessible remotely through a mobile phone or other handheld device.
“Libraries in the modern world are not as they used to be in the past. Reader is not there only to get knowledge but also to interact. In today’s world a library has to be vital, active and cater everyone’s needs in the society,” said Sheikha Moza to a panel which discussed on ‘In the age of Ipads, Do we need Libraries?’
She was joined by Baroness Blackstone, Chairperson, British Library, Professor Hassan Al Alsereihy, President, Arab Federation for Libraries and Information Person and Dr Claudia Lux, Project Director, Qatar National Library at the panel with Ghida Fakhry Khane, News and Programme presenter, at the Al Jazeera as the moderator. “We are proud to announce the development of a project of globally unique scope and breadth in its field to bridge the gap between past and future and enable a true modern renaissance of Arab culture, education and scientific discovery,” said Lux.
“The Qatar National Library of tomorrow will be created to be a place between home and work. A strong digital library and a virtual reference desk are key services the Qatar National Library will provide before the new building officially opens,” she further said.
In addition to providing access to the significant digital heritage collection about Qatar, Qatar National Library will also introduce the Gulf and Arab Science online portal, which is being developed in co-operation with prestigious international partners. The platform will be launched using digitised material from the British Library’s Indian Office Archive, as well as its famous oriental manuscripts. The Peninsula