If we are to base our judgement of Qatar on the number of visitors browsing and looking at books at this year’s Doha International Book Fair (DIBF) at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC), we are happy to say that the country’s public is a reading public.
While most of the books are in Arabic with only a handful of stalls selling books in English, there are no limits to the genre of titles on sale. Children’s literature, fiction and non-fiction, even teen series novels, can be found here. And the prices are relatively cheaper compared to regular bookstore prices.
Aside from books, there is also an art exhibit at the back featuring local artists. Hand painted bags also make for an attractive carry-all, in case you’ve purchased too many books.
Big companies and organisations, including foreign embassies can also be found, giving away reading materials and information about their services.
Qatar National Library
A team of librarians and staff engage avid visitors to the QNL booth at the Central Plaza of DIBF, helping them learn more about the wealth of resources available at the Library. One of the services they offer at the exhibition is free membership registration to the Library. The Library’s family-friendly educational programme has proved deeply enriching and entertaining to children and parents alike and being a member is clearly an advantage.
For readers with a special interest in history and heritage, the Library’s librarians are also on hand to share more about the selection of Heritage Library manuscripts that are on display. Visitors are able to see the step-by-step process to digitise historical manuscripts using specialised equipment brought to DIBF from the Library’s Digitization Center.
Oryx Kids Club mascots Orry, Orah and friends, surprised children attending the opening day of DIBF last week.
As a Silver Sponsor of the event, Qatar Airways sponsored the flights of five world-famous authors participating in the fair: Man Booker International winner Jokha Alharthi from Oman; American graphic novelist Willow Wilson; Algerian novelist Ahlam Mosteghanemi; Adham Sharkawi; and Mohammed Zarrouk. The five authors are joining public lectures and book signings during the ten-day event.
Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press
HBKU Press have extensive participation in the fair, showcasing several new titles including a mix of original language works in Arabic and English as well as translated works from other languages.
The Doha International Book Fair is ongoing until this Saturday, 18 January at the DECC. Visit their website at 30.dohabookfair.qa for updates and more information.