This piece was written by Abeer Al Kuwari, Director of Research and Learning Services at Qatar National Library on the occasion of their second anniversary, which they celebrated recently.
Today marks two years since the grand opening of Qatar National Library. In those two years, it has grown to become a beacon of knowledge for the nation and a vast resource of learning for the world’s online community.
Meanwhile, for those of us who are privileged enough to call the Library our place of work, the ambitious project’s continued development represents an enormous source of pride for us all.
At a time when we should be gathering to celebrate our second birthday, we are instead confined to our homes. With the COVID-19 pandemic having turned everyday life upside down, this is a time for us to count our blessings and look out for each other.
We have had so much to celebrate across our two years of existence. Our services, programmes and events have expanded to reach all our communities here in Qatar and across the world. We had the pleasure of welcoming more than 1.3 million visitors since our official opening, while over 170,000 new members have registered. These numbers are a clear testament to our full evolution into a modern hub of creative, educational and social activities.
With our building unavoidably closed to the public for the time being, our digital offerings are coming to the forefront. Families in Qatar, forced to stay home as we all fight to contain the coronavirus, are now accessing our online features, using this unprecedented period to add to their knowledge and skill sets.
Even though the building itself is physically closed, we remain digitally open to support this quest for enlightenment. We are still working as a team to support lifelong learning across all age groups and interests—ready and willing to assist everyone here in Qatar as they continue their educational journeys in the safety of their homes.
With schools closed, some of us have had to become teachers to our children. In this difficult period, we are still making contributions to the lives of many parents and children alike through our valuable bank of learning and entertainment resources.
Reading an enthralling novel can distract us from the current reality, and we have a huge selection of fiction ebooks online free of any cost. Audiobooks are also there for those in need of a distraction while doing house chores, and a useful information guide on COVID-19 is available for those looking to cut through the noise of disinformation and seek reliable sources.
This situation is certainly pushing our librarians to find new ways of supporting communities, and is making all of us more flexible in what we consider the new normal.
Speaking of our librarians, I also must pay tribute and give a very special thank you to our talented team, all of whom are united in their important role during this crisis. At a time when our courageous health workers on the front line are taking care of the well-being of our fellow citizens, our librarians are continuing to work online to bring knowledge to people’s homes via our digital resources.
The Library has been a central part of our lives now for two years, and in that short time, the community has really taken us into their hearts. Rest assured, we will always be here for you. So, at this time of coming together for reasons none of us could have ever imagined, we urge you not to miss out on the unique opportunities that we offer. Join us—it’s easy to register for membership online, and it’s free. Come and be part of our story. Visit us online to see what we can do to support and entertain you, your family and your friends at this difficult time.
Qatar National Library’s online services is diverse and cater to everyone. For updates and more information, visit their website at qnl.qa.