DOHA: Qatar National Library (QNL) hosted a second successful Open Day for the public on Thursday to explore its magnificent Arab and Islamic Heritage Collection.
Held to celebrate Unesco’s International Day for Monuments and Sites, hundreds of visitors flocked to its Heritage Collection building to view the library’s most prized and historic items. QNL’s collection of globes, maps and documents relating to the archaeological site Al Zubarah were especially popular among the participants at this special event.
Saadi A Al Said, QNL’s Associate Director for Administration and Planning, said: “This year’s Heritage Collection Open Day specially recognised the archaeological site, which Unesco declared as Qatar’s first entry on to the World Heritage list in June 2013. The array of QNL’s Arab and Islamic Heritage Collection maps and beautiful globes relating to Al Zubarah made a real impact on the public during the Open Day.”
QNL’s Arab and Islamic Heritage Collection regularly attracts diplomats and intellectuals from all over the world, and was visited by His Royal Highness Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, during his visit to Qatar in February. Nine ambassadors from Argentina, Central African Republic, Costa Rica, Japan, Libya, Morocco, Peru, Switzerland and Turkey, plus representatives from Greece and Yemen enjoyed tours at the Open Day.
The Arab and Islamic Heritage Collection’s current home is a temporary location until QNL’s new building in Education City is complete. Known as the ‘heart of the new Qatar National Library’, the Collection will move to its very own special space in the centre of the new building.
Al Said said: “QNL is delighted to have welcomed so many families, students, educators and VIPs to the second Heritage Collection Open Day. This is a special place that truly expresses the depth and richness of Arab-Islamic civilisation. Sharing these cultural treasures with the community is what drives the mission of the QNL.”
Before the new building opens, the public is able to access the library’s wealth of online collections by registering their details with QNL. During the Open Day, visitors took the opportunity to do this using a special online booth, and are now eligible to use the wealth of information for study, research or simple relaxation.
Speaking of the popularity of this registration process, Dr Claudia Lux, Project Director of QNL, said: “We are delighted that so many visitors to the Open Day immediately registered to QNL’s online collections. Anyone with a valid Qatari ID or residence permit is eligible to sign up and access these free online resources. Even before the library’s new home is complete, the wealth of content, ranging from modern and classic literature, to online concerts and academic periodicals is a treasure trove for everyone in Qatar to explore, enjoy and benefit from.”
Founded in 1979 by H E Sheikh Hassan bin Muhammad Al Thani, the Arab and Islamic Heritage Collection includes writings by travellers and explorers who visited the Arabian Gulf region over the centuries, Arab manuscripts, historical maps and globes, as well as scientific instruments and early photography.
QNL’s Arab and Islamic Heritage Collection Building is located at 71 Al-Maha Street, Al-Luqta, Doha and is open every Sunday and Tuesday between 10am and 11.30am. Visits must be booked in advance.