Qatar announces plan for new national library

High-tech building will digitize 500,000 records in partnership with British Library

An artist's impression of the new Qatar National Library.

An artist's impression of the new Qatar National Library.

Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development has announced plans to build a new national library.

The QNL project, announced by chairperson Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, will be designed by world famous architect Rem Koolhaas.

The new national library will officially open in late 2014 and "will instantly become one of the most important and iconic landmarks in Qatar and the region", a statement said.

QNL will partner with British Library to digitize 500,000 records relating to Qatar.

An 'eHub' will make millions of electronic books and documents accessible at the touch of a fingertip and the archive will be accessible remotely through a mobile phone or other handheld devices.

The launch of the project coincides with the 50th anniversary of Dar-al-Kutub, the Gulf region's first national library, which opened in Doha in 1962.

As a national resource, the library will preserve the rich archival heritage of Qatar and the cultural legacy of the Arab World accumulated over the past centuries.

It will provide a bridge to the nation's future as a knowledge economy, in line with Qatar National Vision 2030, the statement added.

As a founding partner of the World Digital Library, QNL will provide innovative facilities for exploring interaction to promote new ways of learning.

It will operate a Qatar Reference Service and provide access to over 60 online databases and websites and will have over 300 public computers, wi-fi and multi-media production studios.

Dr Claudia Lux, QNL project director, said: "The Qatar National Library of tomorrow will be created to be a place between home and work, where all Qataris can meet friends, enjoy moments with their families and spend leisure and creative time in their personal journey in search of knowledge and cultural experiences.

"However, this journey will begin soon as a strong digital library and a virtual reference desk are key services the Qatar National Library will provide before the new building officially opens."

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