Saturday, 25 September 2021 05:56 GMT

Qatar National Library highlights role of libraries in heritage preservation


(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Doha: Qatar National Library (QNL), in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Islamic World Organization for Education, Science and Culture (ISESCO), recently held a discussion on“The Role of Libraries in Preserving Islamic Cultural Heritage”. 

Inaugurated by H E Dr. Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kawari, Minister of State, Qatar and President of QNL, the webinar was organised as part of the Doha Capital of Culture in the Islamic World 2021 celebrations. 

The session's speakers included  Dr. Muhammad Zain Al Abidin, Director of Culture and Communication Sector at ICESCO; Abeer Saad Al Kuwari, Director of Research and Learning Services at the Library; Maxim Nasra, Book Conservation Specialist at the Library; Susan Levy, Director of the Library of the Museum of Islamic Art; and Mahmoud Zaki, Manuscripts Specialist at the Library. 

The virtual event was moderated by Maryam Al Mutawa, Head of Collections Access Section at the Heritage Library. Dr. Al Kawari said,“In its role as the guardian of cultural regional heritage, the Qatar National Library has been actively participating in the celebrations of the Doha Capital of Culture in the Islamic World 2021 in Doha, owing to its portfolio of rare manuscripts and maps that provide members with extensive heritage knowledge. The Library has surpassed its traditional role of preserving heritage, to adopt advanced technologies and digital solutions to preserve Islamic heritage for future generations. We have embraced digitisation to maintain the connection to our roots and ancestors, making our digitised materials an essential source of knowledge known to Muslims for ages. 

Since the Library believes that the preservation of the Arab and Islamic heritage is the most important pillar of its mission, it has worked hard to build bridges of communication with international libraries, archives and cultural institutions. We have obtained digital copies of documents, manuscripts and materials that represent the golden age of the Islamic civilization. These items have also been published in the Qatar Digital Library portal, as a result of a long-standing relationship between the Library, Qatar Foundation and the British Library.”

Dr. Muhammad Zain Al Abidin, Director ISESCO added,“Over the past few centuries, public and private libraries have played a critical role in preserving and sharing Islamic heritage items of all kinds, despite the challenges of natural disasters and wars. As a result, our communities are more knowledgeable today and closely connected to their roots and culture. In our role as a global Islamic organization, we will continue to support libraries in preserving and sharing cultural heritage in the coming years.”

Libraries are one of the most prominent features of educational prosperity among Arabs and Muslims. Personal and public libraries have spread throughout the Islamic world. 

Islamic history has seen eras in which scholarship and authorship thrived in all arts and fields, and large libraries were visited by travellers from all over the world due to their fame and collections of rare books. 

The symposium helped shed light on the importance of preserving Islamic cultural heritage and discussed the current role of libraries in preserving Islamic cultural heritage.

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