A new chapter in Qatar’s literary culture


The exterior of the library designed to look like the pages of a book. Designed by the Dutch Architect Rem Khoolhas

The Qatar National Library (QNL) opens it’s doors to a literary space, with an amplitude of books spanning far and wide, modern contemporary furnishings, airy spaces with flooding natural light and state of the art technology that is unmatched.

Living in the digital age, the reliance on the internet, e-books and other digital resources of information is fairly predominant. But this does not eliminate the need for printed books. They are, and always will be a part of a library.

A view of the tiered shelves which elevates the books

Another view of the gorgeous Qatar National Library

Keeping that in mind, QNL sways from your traditional library setting of just shelves and shelves of books. It has struck a perfect balance with adapting digital innovation in every aspect of the library, along with printed reading material. The result – a wealth of information at your fingertips.

One of the aspects that was quite appealing, is that QNL exhibits many spaces inside the library that focus on people coming together. From study groups, to book clubs, to areas where you can discuss ideas and learn.
QNL is striving to inculcate not only the love for reading, but also a place for inquisitive minds to develop.

Two of the areas, that were particularly interesting were the Teen/ Young Adult area and the Children’s area.

The teen area is well designed with a good selection of books to keep them engrossed. In addition, desks with mind intriguing games, a state of the art computer terminals, cubicles for group study or projects and online resources to tap into for homework assistance, make for a teen who will definitely want to spend time there as opposed to watching TV at home.
Library -1. Netflix -0

Computer Terminals

Intriguing hands-on puzzles and activities for teens

Just a glimpse into the YA/Teen collection

The childrens area is a friendly and vibrant space with board books, Lego stations, computer terminals and soft seating areas. It also hosts a multimedia room. The book selection is quite nice, with famous titles hitting the bookshelves! In addition, there is a soft play area for the little ones as well.

A view of the Children’s Area

Another View of the Children’s area

The enclosed Multimedia Room in the Children’s Area

Children’s Check out counter

A cute idea for book re-shelving

Which child isn’t a Lego fan?

One of many children’s bookshelves filled with many favorites!

Children’s Books by Qatari Authors

Heritage Collection

The Heritage collection that looks like an archaeological site from above, and boasts rare and valuable manuscripts, historical photographs and a collection of maps.  It is a wealth of Qatar’s historical culture that is available for viewing.

A top view of the Heritage Collection

The Quran from the time of the Ottoman Empire

One of the preserved maps

A well equipped library is integral to human development. It increases the breadth of knowledge, makes us more thoughtful and better members of society. 

Here are some more pictures to give you a glimpse into the very well equipped and gorgeous Qatar National Library.

Bubble Swings for Reading

A cafe with a section to eventually host some cooking classes as well

Adjustable Desks for assisted learning

Dewey Decimal System up on the glass. Very classy.

A final view of the library

Some Useful Information

Most details can be found on QNL’s website. But here are a few facts for us bookworms!

  • Registration is free with a Qatar ID. If you do not have a Qatar ID, you can still visit the library, but not check out books
  • Books can be placed on ‘hold’ via their online system
  • Childrens and Teens can check out 10 books at a time for 21 days
  • Adults can check out 4 books at a time for 21 days
  • Renewals can be done online or in person 2 days before the book is due. if it is not on hold by another member
  • There is a self checkout option!
  • Find out about events happening at the library
  • There is a comprehensive online database to see if they have a book you are looking for at the library
  • School Tours can be booked by sending an email to qnlschoolvisit@qnl.qa

A heartfelt thank you to Mai Al-Mannai (Communications Department) and Qatar National Library for inviting me to visit the library and to be part of Qatar’s literary world.

10 thoughts on “A new chapter in Qatar’s literary culture

  1. Pingback: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman: Book, Screen & Looking Ahead | an introverted blogger

  2. Pingback: Qatar National Library (soft) opening is finally here! | LIS Traveler

  3. It is amazing how libraries have transformed over the years. Qatar National Library really looks very modernistic – bright, spacious and so much variety. Not just a library for reading but also for reflecting, relaxing for everyone. As you said, a well-equipped library broadens our knowledge. And there is so much meaning to be learnt what’s around us, past and present.


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