Doha, Qatar, 2 May 2016: The 48th Metropolitan Libraries Conference (MetLib), hosted by Qatar National Library (QNL), drew to a close last Thursday, the 28th of April 2016, following six days of dialogue, networking and insightful presentations delivered by delegates from internationally renowned libraries.


Held under the overarching theme of ‘Pearls in the Desert: Unleashing Potential’, the gathering was the first MetLib conference to be held in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. And, for the first time, it welcomed representatives from GCC countries, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait.


During MetLib 2016 Qatar, QNL and the National Library of Kuwait signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), providing a framework for cooperation between the two institutions in areas of culture and information. The MoU outlines the transfer of expertise through the exchange of books, visits, collaborative seminars and workshops.


Mr Kamel Al-Abduljaleel, General Manager of the National Library of Kuwait, said: “This agreement represents the foundation upon which we can begin to systematically and jointly exchange expertise and technical advice, cooperate in the area of staff training and in the area of children and teen culture, as well as exchange expertise to encourage mutual visits of specialists in IT, e-archiving, e-catalogues and information resources.”


Al-Abduljaleel added: “Signing and implementing the MoU will complement the process of cultural cooperation between Qatar and Kuwait. We hold high aspirations that this agreement will advance the library and information services sector in both countries.”


Engineer Saadi Al Said, Director of Administration and Planning at QNL, said: “Hosting MetLib 2016 Qatar has provided Qatar National Library with unique networking opportunities, while providing a platform for international libraries to share their best practices. Our partnership with the National Library of Kuwait is representative of our collaborative efforts with other institutions in the region.”

In addition to placing emphasis on regional collaboration, the need for investment in staff and community development to advance innovation in libraries was highlighted by the Library and Information Association in Qatar (LIA-Q).  Samia Al Shiba, Founding member of the Library and Information Association in Qatar and Head of Digitisation at QNL, and Abeer Al Kuwari, Founding member of the Library and Information Association in Qatar and in charge of QNL’s Branch Affairs, conducted a presentation titled ‘The Library and Information Association in Qatar: Roles, Challenges and Future Aspirations’. The LIA-Q comprises representatives from local libraries, and aims to disseminate information on the latest trends and developments in the information services sector and its specialisations.

Throughout the conference, delegates were given the opportunity to engage in knowledge sharing through a series of informative sessions and meaningful discussions on topics including staff development, innovation in child and teen services, and community learning.

In addition to numerous informative sessions and presentations over the past few days, delegates visited local libraries and various institutions to learn more about the astonishing progress that Qatar’s information services sector has made. Attendees also visited iconic cultural and heritage destinations including Al Zubarah, Souq Waqif and Al Khor Dhow Harbor. 

Addressing delegates in her closing remarks, Dr Claudia Lux, QNL’s Project Director, said: “As MetLib 2016 Qatar draws to a close, we would like to express our gratitude to the delegates for their insightful presentations. Hosting this conference for the first time in the MENA region will no doubt have a positive impact on the development of Qatar and the region’s information services sector, and we hope to see future IFLA conferences hosted in the region.”

QNL is a member of Qatar Foundation (QF) and, through its hosting of MetLib 2016 Qatar, supported QF’s mission to foster a culture of knowledge acquisition and lifelong learning for the benefit of Qatar and the wider region.

For more information on upcoming events, please visit: qnl.qa/news-events/all-news