Qatar National Library is at once Qatar's national library, Doha's public library, and Education City's research library. In addition to its circulating collections and expansive space for patrons, the library includes the Heritage Library, a extensive research collection meant to steward Qatar's cultural heritage through use of its rare books, manuscripts, and other primary source materials relating to Arab-Islamic civilization.
Rem Koolhaas and his firm OMA designed the building to evoke the enduring value of the book: The open floor plan is intended to resemble two pieces of paper pulled apart and folded diagonally at the corners to create a shell-shaped structure. The building has over 42,000 square meters of space including its main plaza, tiered stacks, a bridge across the library, exhibition spaces, a theater, open and closed lounges, a gaming area, and the sunken Heritage Library with travertine walls, resembling an archaeological excavation. Its glass façades allow for large amounts of natural light and a sense of sweeping spaciousness.
Planning for the library's building began in 2012, construction was completed in 2017, and it opened to the public in 2018. The library currently has more than a million books in its collection and space for thousands of patrons. It is located in Education City, Doha, a large academic campus that hosts satellite campuses of universities and other institutions from around the world. Qatar National Library is an entity of the Qatar Foundation, a non-profit organization specializing in education, research, and community development.
A Building with a Mission: Qatar National Library. Doha: Qatar National Library Press, 2018.