5 things to do at Qatar National Library
The first thing you think of when it comes to a library is obviously lots and lots of books. While this is an exciting prospect for all bookworms, the Qatar National Library (QNL) houses far more than mere books. There’s more to the building than meets the eye. Nestled in Education City, under the umbrella of the Qatar Foundation, the Library project was initially announced by HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser and officially opened to the public on April 16, 2018. Ever since, the library has also been granted the status of a National Library by Emiri Decree 11 and has become a literary compass for many experts in the region.
Take a drive to Education City or hop onto the Green Line metro and head to QNL for a day of enriching and inspiring activities. The stunning architecture (externally and internally) is sure to take your breath away. Immerse yourself in the multiple resources the library offers and revel in the overall aesthetic.
While there are many activities you can indulge in, we’ve compiled a list of five things that you are sure to enjoy at the Library.
Read and borrow books, CDs, and DVDs
Bibliophiles are in for an absolute treat when they come to Qatar National Library. As a library, reading is obviously the choice activity for which visitors come here. But QNL houses more than a million books in physical and digital formats alongside multiple online resources, magazines, CDs, and even DVDs. The ample and varied seating spaces scattered throughout the library provide a great space for you to grab a book of your choice and sit back to read through it.
You can also borrow books from different genres such as fiction, philosophy, technology, mathematics, botany, medicine, science, language and literature, and so many more. You can even borrow CDs of popular English movies, TV shows and sitcoms too!
And the best part about it all it that you need a library membership card, which is free, to be able to borrow up to four items per card. The library membership can be availed at the help desk and you will just need to provide your QID and valid email ID to activate the same.
Book a study carrel
The Library is a much-preferred spot for many students, researchers, and teachers who prefer the space to work on their reading and writing materials. Although the general atmosphere of the library is calm and serene, you might still want to get into a private space that allows you to study in seclusion or even conduct a group study with fellow classmates or researchers. The library offers quiet individual study rooms and even group study carrels that can be booked in advance. These rooms are equipped with seating space for 1-8 people (depending on which room you book) along with power sockets. There are even media rooms available with TV screens and access to a media server that can be booked for study/research purposes.
Play games at the Gaming Center
A lesser-known fact about the library is that a small but exciting corner of the first floor offers a dedicated gaming center for all those gaming nerds. There are gaming consoles placed with nice big screens to allow gamers to play video games online to their hearts’ content. However, these gaming stations are to be operated while standing and there’s no seating while you play.
Visit the Heritage Library
History and art enthusiasts can definitely rejoice at the myriad things displayed in the Heritage Library section, situated in the heart (open basement) of the library. This section is a cultural reflection of the country and includes rare, valuable documents and devices that have been preserved quite meticulously.
You can find 20 historical globes manufactured from the 18th century alongside archived manuscripts, atlases, maps, and charts. There are also rare navigation tools and instruments on display here. Apart from these, there is an ongoing Holy Kaaba exhibition that showcases the history of the holy monument, its architecture, religious significance, and its various adornments. All these make for an enriching walk through history and are definitely worth a visit.
Children’s resources (library, sensory rooms, innovation stations)
The children’s library section is as delightful and impressive as the other parts of it. The lovely set up in bright vibrant colors, child-accessible bookshelves, child-friendly seating, and the plethora of book options will compel even the pickiest reader to grab a book they like. The children’s library houses multiple books on different subjects apart from storybooks to enable kids to learn in a fun, interactive manner. The toddler library is another little area within the children’s library with fun, sensory activities, building blocks, and books that can be read to kids as small as babies.
The Library has also recently announced the opening of the specially-designed Sensory room that uses stimuli to interact with children from birth and even those with special needs. The Sensory Room visit can be booked in advance to ensure you get a spot.
Additionally, another impressive feature of the library includes the Innovation Stations that allow children (and adults) to learn about new, creative technologies. These provide free access to 3D printing stations, recording studios, photography rooms, DIY electronics, virtual reality equipment, and other creative spaces. This section is especially fun if you have inquisitive kids who love to enjoy themselves while also learning cool stuff! Again, these stations have to be booked in advance.
Apart from these, the library also conducts various workshops, seminars, and small events that are regularly updated on their website. Check them out here.
Library timings: 8 am to 8 pm (weekdays)
4-8 pm (Fridays)
The Children’s Library closes at 6.30 pm.
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