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Saturday, March 6, 2021

Report: CMC proposes setting up public libraries in Qatar neighborhoods

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

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.

Reading culture

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.

Qatar National Library rendering
Qatar National Library rendering

However, this is changing with the advent of programs like Maktaba, an Arabic/English children’s library, and the upcoming launch of the Qatar National Library.

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.

Thoughts?

34 COMMENTS

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DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
5 years ago

Brilliant idea. This should have been done a long time ago, but better late than never.

I’m curious to see what sorts of books and titles with which the stock the libraries . . .

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
5 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

They will be finely selected, of course.

Ibrahim Ali
Ibrahim Ali
5 years ago

In the age of the information, libraries are not needed, everything is accessible through the internet.

AEC
AEC
5 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim Ali

Either this statement is sarcasm or it indicates exactly why libraries are needed. Far far less than 0.01% of the content on the internet is indexed by Google so even if “everything is accessible through the internet” you are very probably going to struggle to find or access it. Most major western research institutions and public library systems have long stocked millions of physical items but now also pay millions of dollars/euro a year to provide access to vital electronic content in text, video, audio and other formats. Libraries are the gateways to enormous volumes of subscription electronic content for the communities they serve. You can see a good example of this starting here in Qatar by looking at the Online Resources provided by QNL under “Find Answers” here > http://www.qnl.qa/.

Physical libraries are also facing increasing foot traffic all around the developed world and provide a vast range of services that only a few years ago were not even dreamt of. A number of public libraries around the world are heavily involved in promoting literacy and also often provide new born babies with their first book for free. If you want to promote a culture of literacy that is a prerequisite for a dynamic modern society then libraries are an integral part of achieving this. I commend Qatar’s efforts in this area. It is a real investment for a sustainable future.

sadam
sadam
5 years ago
Reply to  AEC

I agree not everything is on the Internet, Sure you can get basic information off the web but that’s just about it.

Observant One
Observant One
5 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim Ali

Ahh no it is not…Wikipedia is not peer reviewed and authoritative researched facts. It is the down hill slide of human development and intelligence if we think that all we need is the internet. I just finished my Masters and trust me without access to the University Library and my Government Library I would have never ever found the authoritative peer reviewed information needed. I am hoping you are being sarcastic Ibrahim….

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

It’s a bit late it’s not 1985. Most read through kindles, iPads and the like these days. Please get with the 21st century. Maybe the schools will bring back slate and chalk for lessons.

Michkey
Michkey
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

It’s better late than never. Libraries and schools and universities are always better investment than malls and resorts. According to you, metro, and museums are 100 years too late! Stop whining at everything and appreciate the fact that the only elected body in Qatar is finally up to some good.

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

“Please get with the 21st century”? It says the establishment of libraries, not book depositories, or book based libraries, your perception of libraries may need some catching up to do. They’re a place that provides access to information, not necessarily books. Also, provides a space for the community and engagement. Great idea, I hope it’s not implemented as you assumed.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

Don’t get me wrong i like books but it won’t appeal to the kids of today. A few maybe but times have moved on

sadam
sadam
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

what makes you so sure kids nowadays don’t like books,

AEC
AEC
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

If you take your kids there from when they’re born I suspect they’ll see the merits. Works elsewhere.

AEC
AEC
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

And you want those kids with ereaders and ipads to have to pay for that content or let the library?

Observant One
Observant One
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

They are not just about books, there about research, knowledge development, social capital building, social inclusion, developing a culture and life long search for truth and knowledge in children etc…

peter
peter
5 years ago

it is a recycled story. gulf times and qatar tribune carried it two weeks ago. but doha news is blind and biased. they carried filipino school story from qatar tribune but did not give them any credit. how biased and absurd!

Pete
Pete
5 years ago
Reply to  peter

The story 2 weeks ago (maybe even older than 2 weeks) was about the possible closure and was carried on DN. This is an updated story.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago
Reply to  peter

The AIS story we wrote after the head of the PTA got in touch with us. Not sure what it has to do with the Trib…

Simon
Simon
5 years ago

Neighbourhood libraries – good, if a little late (as noted above).

The National Library, however, will be nothing whatsoever to do with reading – that is simply another Qatar vanity project.

Calpurnia
Calpurnia
5 years ago

Great! Kids need books, pens and paper, more than computer & ipad. Do you know that Silicon Valley executives send their children to Tech-free schools?

jarvis
jarvis
5 years ago

they already exist and they have been around for a really long time

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  jarvis

Oh really? You seem to be the only person in Qatar to know about them.

AEC
AEC
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

I’ve seen one. They’re pretty rough.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  AEC

Where are they and who goes to them?

AEC
AEC
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Used to be one on Al Shagab Street in Rayyan. I was the only person there at the time – and I didn’t stay long – so I’m not sure who else goes there.

sadam
sadam
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

As a child I’ve seen one near the the old Souq Nabina, going to Mugalina.

Observant One
Observant One
5 years ago

Excellent. Well done.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago

The idea would work if you can get decent coffee and food there (not sublet it to Costa to make you pay 18 riyals for a latte and 25 riyals for a sandwich) and make sure it has computers, Internet, and daily international newspapers. It has also to be open very early morning (around 5 for example) and stay late at night.

Paul
Paul
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

It’s a library, not a sandwich bar with free Wi-Fi.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  Paul

Nah. Boring libraries with a ton of books is a thing of the past. Food, wifi, internet, computers, tablets and those modern gadgets are needed to make it attractive.

Simon
Simon
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Let’s add a wet bar, music, dancing, and call it Qube! (Some freakin’ library, LOL!!)

Simon
Simon
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

So not a library at all, then. As I said – just another Qatar Vanity Project.

Paul
Paul
5 years ago

Thumbs up! (But hopefully it doesn’t become a VIP area as well with coffee stands, valet parking, security in every corner telling you how and where to walk.)

Simon
Simon
5 years ago
Reply to  Paul

Place your bets, Paul. On the balance of probability / based on experience, what do you anticipate that it will be???

Maybe like the local shops – LC pulls up in inconvenient place, pomps horn, little man comes out, LC driver demands (what?) ’50 Shades of Grey, and be quick about it’.

Yep, that’s how libraries work in ‘advanced nations’.

Nuremburg
Nuremburg
5 years ago

The main problem with the existing libraries is the lack of English books. Same goes for the book fairs. Do they not realize that there are more English speakers here than Arabic speakers? I hope these new proposed libraries will not have the same issue or else you can bet that they’ll attract virtually no visitors.

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