To help foster a love of reading in children, Qatar’s only elected body has formally asked the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning to establish public libraries in different residential areas.
According to the Peninsula, the idea stemmed from a proposal submitted to the Central Municipal Council by a local boy’s school.
Possible features for the public libraries included:
- Establishing a special area for small children with toys and books;
- Providing internet and computer access for visitors; and
- Including a community hall for discussions and debates.
The CMC is also working to involve the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Heritage and local residents to discuss the best ways to establish the libraries.
One suggestion would be to operate out of rented villas while purpose-built facilities are constructed, the Peninsula added.
According to a 2012 report by the Childhood Cultural Center, more than 30 percent of Qatari children say they don’t have time to read, while 26 percent complain about not having access to books of their interest.
Local educators have long pointed to a lack of public libraries as a major reason that Qatar does not boast a reading culture.
The opening of the building itself, which is a Qatar Foundation project, has been delayed multiple times, with the most recent estimated completion date scheduled for this year.
In the meantime, residents can register with the library to access a vast collection of online resources, including free music libraries, magazine subscriptions and audio books, as well as bestsellers, classical works, and documentaries.