Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development has officially launched the project to build the new Qatar National Library (QNL). The announcement was made by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, at a prestigious multi-media event held at the Student Center of Hamad Bin Khalifa Universitythis evening, in the presence of the QNL project team and a number of distinguished international guests.
Designed by the world famous architect Rem Koolhaas, the new QNL will officially open in late2014 and will instantly become one of the most important and iconic landmarks in Qatar and the region. Its singular design will help users feel relaxed, creating a perfect atmosphere for studying and learning.
The launch of QNL coincides with the 50th anniversary of Dar-al-Kutub, the Gulf Region’s first national library, which opened in Doha in 1962.
As a national resource, the library will preserve the rich archival heritage of Qatar and the cultural legacy of the Arab World accumulated over the past centuries. Yet, while embracing the country’s tradition and heritage, the QNL will provide a bridge to the nation’s future as a knowledge economy, in line with Qatar National Vision 2030.
As a founding partner of the World Digital Library, QNL will provideinnovative facilities for exploring interaction between devices and human beings to promote new ways of learning.QNL will operate a 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. QNL will partner with British Library to digitise 500.000 records relating to Qatar.An ‘eHub’ 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 accessibleremotely through a mobile phone or other handheld device.
Dr. Claudia Lux, QNL Project Directorsaid, “Under the visionary leadership and inspiring direction of Her Highness Sheikha Moza, 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. The Qatar National Library of tomorrow will be created to be a place between home and work, where all Qataris can meet friends, enjoy moments with their families and spend leisure and creative time in their personal journey in search of knowledge and cultural experiences. However, this journey will begin soon as a strong digital library and a virtual reference desk are key services the Qatar National Library will provide before the new building officially opens.”
In addition to providing access tothe significant digital heritage collection about Qatar, QNL will also introducethe Gulf and Arab Science online portal, which is being developed in co-operation with prestigious international partners. The platform will be launchedusingdigitised material from the British Library’s Indian Office Archive,as well as its famous oriental manuscripts. Once complete, the portal will become a key cultural asset of Qatar, open to researchers from around the world, students of all classes, and Qatari families researching their own rich cultural histories.