On November 7, Qatar National Library (QNL) finally opened its doors to the public. Almost four years after I moved to Doha to start working for this amazing project, this is a huge step forward and means a lot to everybody involved! Being four weeks into the soft opening now, it is great to see thousands of people from all over Qatar visiting the library, exploring our collection and services, borrowing books and using the space.
The soft opening can be seen as an experimental phase before the grand opening in April 2018. At the moment, several departments are still finalizing procedures or receive pending parts of the collection and equipment, for example. At the same time, services can now be tested in a live environment which allows for further adjustments based on user feedback.
Of course, operating the library for the public goes along with quite a few changes in the workflow. In my team (Public Services), morning and evening shifts have been introduced both on weekdays and weekends in order to cover the Reference Desk during opening hours. With the new building in place, we can concentrate more on organizing programs and using our own facilities rather than those of other institutions around Doha. Ultimately, this gives us much more flexibility and the capacity to host more programs than before. These are just two of many examples of how the opening of the library practically impacts the daily work. It will be interesting to see how day-to-day working routines will evolve in the coming months.
I leave you with more pictures of this stunning building below which is particularly worth visiting during night time (the pictures have all been taken closely before the opening, hence no users around). For more information about QNL, have a look at the official website or its social media channels. I also recommend checking out this blog post which gives a closer look at many areas within the building.