The increasing demand for different genres of books in Qatar is supported by the high attendance at book fairs, increase in the number of public library membership and borrowers, figures released by Qatar Statistics Authority (QSA) confirm. The total number of Arabic and foreign books and periodicals in the seven public libraries all over Qatar increased by nine per cent from 543,843 in 2006 to 592,579 in 2010.
The seven libraries are in Doha, Al Khour, Al Shamal, Al Khansaa, Al Rayyan, Al Wakra and Sheikh Ali Al Thani Library.
The percentage of borrowers of books from the Qatar National Library (QNL), established in 1962 in Doha, has increased by 59 per cent, QSA figures show. From 9,686 QNL borrowers in 2006 the figure increased to 15,404 in 2010. The number of books borrowed in 2006 was 16,358 which advanced to 24,099 in 2010, an increase by 47.3 per cent.
Widely considered as one of the oldest national libraries in the Middle East countries, the QNL's collection of Arab and foreign books, magazines and periodicals increased by 10.1 per cent from 288,437 in 2006 to 317,589 books in 2010.
From the total book collection in 2006, 259,793 were Arabic, 27,286 were foreign and 1,358 were periodicals. These figures increased to 278,152 Arabic, 38,059 foreign and 1,378 periodicals in 2010.
Established in 1977, the Khour Library's Arab and foreign book collection increased to 45,609 in 2010 from 42,712 in 2006 and the number of its borrowers was up to 1.481 in 2010 from 193 in 2006.
Established in 1979, the Shamal Library's Arab and foreign book collection increased to 40,504 in 2010 from 33,331 in 2006 and the number of borrowers was up to 451 in 2010 from 93 in 2006.
Established in 1981 for women, the Khansaa Library's Arabic and foreign book collection increased to 65,208 in 2010 from 56,565 in 2006. Its number of borrowers almost doubled to 1,011 in 2010 from 545 in 2006.
Established in 1982 and located away from the central business district of Doha, the Rayyan Library's Arabic and foreign book collection increased to 35,032 in 2010 from 32,369 in 2006 and its number of borrowers almost four times to 1,653 in 2010 from 437 in 2006.
Established in 1985, the Wakra Library's Arabic and foreign book collection increased to 39,088 in 2010 from 33,362 in 2006 and its number of borrowers increased marginally to 603 in 2010 from 598 in 2006.
The Sheikh Ali Al Thani Library's Arabic and foreign book collection as well as periodicals was 57,067 in 2006 and 49,549 in 2010. The number of borrowers was 4,870 in 2006 and 2,780 in 2010.