Posted on January 02, 2012

For book lovers in Qatar, the wait for a good public library could be longer, going by what the authorities say. Last year, the officials announced plans to shift the Qatar National Library (QNL), the oldest and the sole public library in the city located near the souq, to a new building near the Hamad General Hospital but it seems the project has now been shelved.

The 50-year old QNL building had long become unfit to house a public library, allowing no room for renovation or further expansion.

In an interview with the Qatar News Agency, the Minister of Culture, Art and Heritage, HE Dr Hamad bin Abdul Aziz Al Kuwari disclosed plans to establish a world-class public library in Qatar under the Qatar Foundation but fell short of giving any timeframe for implementation of the project.

The Minister said the Qatar Foundation and the Ministry was currently working together to make this ambitious project a reality. As for the existing Qatar National Library, popularly known as Dar Al Kutb, the Minister said that the government had approved a proposal to rent out a building near the Qatar National Museum to relocate the facility.

Qatar Airways Network

There was no reference about the earlier proposal to move the library to a new premises near the Hamad Hospital. It is also not clear how long it would take for the new plan to be implemented.

In April last year, Fahd Al Humaidi, assistant director of the Library Department at the Ministry had said in an interview that the department was all set to move the QNL to a new building near the HMC that was formerly used as headquarters of the Retirement and Pensions Authority.

“We are busy shifting to the new building. We will introduce several new services and facilities there. The halls showcasing the books will be more spacious and comfortable. They will enable better display, especially of manuscripts. We expect the number of visitors to increase in the new premises,” Al Humaidi was quoted as saying a daily.

With more than 280,000 volumes (250,000 in Arabic and 30,000 in English) of some 70,000 titles, the QNL has been adding more titles to its collection. It also has 2,000 manuscripts and more than 4,000 copies or digital versions of manuscripts.

QNL has five branches across the country, the largest being the Al Khansa Library for women located on D-Ring Road which currently has a collection of about 60,000 books in Arabic and 5,000 books in English. The other four branches are located in Al Khor, Al Shamal, Al Rayyan and Al Wakra.

source: The Peninsula