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Ailyn Agonia
QATAR National Library (QNL) had a high level of collection borrowing, almost 40 percent, with over 320,000 books checked out by borrowers since it opened for experimental period in November last year, according to QNL Executive Director Sohair Wastawy.
Speaking at a press conference held in Doha on Tuesday on the occasion of the grand opening of the building, Wastawy added that the facility will be hosting more than 500 activities designed to cater to different age groups annually.
"This is a national library that has three mandates, as a national library, a public library and a research library. Unlike other national libraries, QNL is completely open to the public. It's barely five months since we opened for experimental period and we already have more than 200,000 visits and a high level of collection borrowing," Wastawy added.
Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas who has designed the state-of-the-art library building explained the important features of the building and described it as an architecture which explains itself.
"This is one of the few buildings that you enter from the centre. The moment you enter the building you are surrounded by all the ingredients of the facility. You are immediately made aware, without the need for explanation, what the building is all about. Another important feature of QNL is that it is more than an academic library. It is a national library which has made the Education City more vibrant with greater potential and wide range of activities," Koolhaas said.
The press meet was also attended by British Library Chief Executive Roly Keating.
On Tuesday, QNL hosted various events to celebrate the grand opening of the building. The Heritage Library Exhibition was opened in the morning where more than 400 items from the QNL Heritage Library collection are put on display. It was followed by the opening of the Qatar-German Exhibition.
The afternoon activities included the launch of Book Club for the Blind, a project that provides social opportunities and promotes equal access to the resources and services of the library launched by the President of the World Blind Union, Dr Fredrick K Schroeder. It was followed by a discussion on the topic 'Truth Matters: The Era of Fake News'.
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