Qatar National Library's state-of-the-art building, located in the heart of Education City, is a community space for Qatar’s residents and helps facilitate the effective exchange of ideas and communal learning.
The 45,000-square-meter building encourages visitors to explore the progression of knowledge from the past to the present. It achieves a delicate balance between information availability and accessibility on the one hand, and content preservation and conservation on the other.
A Monument to Knowledge
World-renowned architect Rem Koolhaas's design resembles two pieces of paper that are pulled apart and folded diagonally at the corners to create a shell-like structure, enclosing the open-plan interior.
The main interior space is designed to allow a precise amount of daylight to enter and maintain a connection to the world outside. Daylight filters through the glass façade, providing natural light that is conducive to reading and socializing. The bookshelves themselves are an integral part of the building itself, rising out of the floor and highlighting the value of books in Qatari culture.
A blend of classical materials, such as marble for the Heritage Library, and modern materials, such as stainless steel for the other collections, combine to emphasize the progression of knowledge from the past to the present.
The 21st Century Library
Innovative technologies are seamlessly integrated throughout the building, enhancing accessibility and efficiency without detracting from the overall aesthetic. These include:
- Automated self-checkout and return stations, and a radio frequency identification (RFID) book sorter system, allow for convenient access to the Library's materials
- A people mover system transports library users throughout the shelving tiers, making the collection easily accessible for all visitors
- A wide range of computer systems, tablets, interactive screens and audiovisual equipment throughout the building
Preserving Qatar's Heritage
As the repository for some of the nation and region's most important cultural and historical items, the Library is committed to providing an environment that will preserve this information for generations to come. To achieve that, the building includes:
- Climate-controlled display cases in the Heritage Library and throughout the building to showcase the collection
- The dedicated Conservation and Preservation Laboratory that actively works to restore and protect items in the Heritage Library
- The Digitization Laboratory, which digitizes items from the Library and other collections and makes them available to scholars worldwide
A Community Space
The Library has numerous facilities for individual and group collaboration, research and study. These include:
- Assistive technology room including 16 computer stations with adjustable leveling, equipped with cutting-edge hardware and software technologies
- A dedicated area for young adults
- A 686-square-meter Children’s Library
- 4-room Innovation Station
- 2 instruction rooms
- A computer lab
- 8 group study rooms
- 28 individual study carrels
- 3 media viewing rooms
- 26 large interactive screens and 465 computers
- A 200-seat Special Events Area with lights, an LED screen, speakers and noise-dampening curtains
- A 120-seat auditorium
- A restaurant and a café