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Qatar’s National Library (QNL): Free digital service to get people to read more

For anyone with a penchant for reading especially during the extensive summer holidays, the QNL is offering its digital services via its online initiative, the Qatar Digital Library (QDL) to provide its registered members with access to resources like apps, audio-books, e-newspapers, e-magazines, e-books and additionally, music and video streaming accessibility -- all of this for free of cost.

QNL

News Desk |

The virtual experience of the QNL comprises of a plethora of online resources covering a diverse range of areas – academia and research, fiction and non-fiction, philosophy, religion and theology, science and innovation, business and entrepreneurship, humanities and arts, and many more types of literature – available for all age groups.

In addition to access to online reading, the digital platform also allows its registered members with the option to download academic literature, e-books, audio books, and various newspaper sources.

QNL’s Annual Report (2018)

Primarily, the focus of the digital library has been to continue the free flow of information and knowledge to its members even if they are traveling or moving places.

Booki app for younger readers also incorporates learning through interactive, read and sing along e-books and poems that adds a real-time effect to the experience.

According to the Executive Director of QNL, Dr. Sohair Wastawy, “The Library’s vision is ambitious and, in many ways, radical. Qatar has chosen to invest in libraries at a time when other nations are not, and we have a great responsibility to lead the way by providing the highest quality library services to all citizens, residents and visitors in the country.”

“I am proud to have the opportunity to lead a team of talented and enthusiastic staff, and we are all delighted to have been the first occupants of such a landmark building, an iconic structure that embodies the openness and democratic values of libraries,” she added.

A significant number of Qatari nationals and residents have registered themselves with the QDL. According to QNL’s annual report of the year 2018, an approximate figure of 350,905 members had registered themselves with the QDL since January 2018. Moreover, the report identifies that the registered members have downloaded 77,122 number of PDF files since January 2018 and over a million downloads since its inception.

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QDL- Providing a Wide Range of Online Resources

One of QDL’s online platforms is OverDrive, which is supported by most of the operating systems and devices. “OverDrive Libby app” provides access to numerous e-books and audiobooks, of all kinds, anywhere and at any time. Similarly, SpringerLink is also another popular online source for QDL’s members who are look for a wide variety of e-books from all over the world.

According to one testimonial from an avid QDL-user, Mahmood Ali, the ease to access any book at any time has made life much more convenient. In his testimonial, he says “What makes the library’s online resources unique is the fact that they are free and easily accessible.” On the wide variety of subject areas to choose from, he adds “I have downloaded the Mango Languages application and will pick up a few French words before I visit France this summer. This is practical knowledge available for free, which is why everyone should use it”

Mango Languages is one of the world’s largest online language-learning database and app that delivers lessons plans from over 70 diverse languages, including Russian, Spanish, French, Arabic, Turkish and more. Moreover, keep in view the increasing Chinese influence in international markets, the database offers courses on Business Chinese (Mandarin) language.

The increased use of the library’s ebook platforms and apps over the past year confirms that our outreach is having the needed impact, so that no matter where in the world our members are this summer.

For young readers, a parental control access to reading and downloading is offered by various award-winning book apps. The content mainly focuses on early-development and cognitive e-books such as bedtime stories in both English and Arabic languages, comics ranging from Marvel and IDW digital graphics novels. Booki app for younger readers also incorporates learning through interactive, read and sing along e-books and poems that adds a real-time effect to the experience. BookFlix, on the other hand, provides its young readers with pre-school level video storybooks, games, and related activities.

In the realms of audio-books, an online audiobook library named ‘AudioBookCloud’ has been allowed access through QDL to most of the online material available which can be listened to through a database for audio recordings

Impact of the QDL on its Members

The QDL at QNL continues to be a reliable source of information for readers and researchers with its vast variety of online material for the purpose of learning, leisure-time reading, research writing, dissertation writing and for learning languages. The manager of Electronic Resource Management and Licensing, at the library, Milan Vasiljevic states, “We are responding to our members’ needs to offer knowledge development wherever they are, and the availability of digital services in English and Arabic is essential to this.

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The increased use of the library’s ebook platforms and apps over the past year confirms that our outreach is having the needed impact, so that no matter where in the world our members are this summer, they can remain within the library’s community and be assured of access to knowledge and information.”

The facts and statistic resonate well with Milan Vasiljevic, as the outreach impact of the library continues to grow not just within the tangible boundaries of Qatar but to worldwide access through its digital initiative, Qatar’s Digital Library.

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