Seen a big bus of books driving around town this week? That would be the Childhood Cultural Center’s mobile bookstore, a government initiative aimed at encouraging young people in Qatar to read more.
According to a report released by CCC last year, more than 30 percent of Qatari children said they don’t have time to read, while 26 percent complain about not having access to books of their interest.
The problem is one experienced across the Middle East; a 2010 UN report suggests that less than 2 percent of the population in the Arab world reads even one book a year.
Currently, there’s only mobile bookstore of this kind in Qatar, coordinator Ali Fares told Doha News today. It usually spends its time at independent schools, selling books, giving out free gifts and holding puppet shows.
But because students are on winter break this week, the bus has gone touring over the past few days, stopping this afternoon at Rumaila Park across from the Corniche. There, staffers handed out coloring books and play clay, while parents perused the books on sale inside the bus.
The offerings are mainly in Arabic, but there are some English-language titles, and most books appear to be priced under QR40.
Fares added that the center is working to expand its offerings and the number of mobile bookstores in the country. So expect to see some more colorful buses across Qatar soon!
Credit: Photos by Shabina S. Khatri