The new Doha Mums library hopes to fill a vacuum
Finding good books of any genre in Doha can be difficult or expensive but the recent expansion of Doha Mums Library, a private collection of books, makes it easier to access high quality children’s books.
Getting the books and space ready for use has been a group effort. In May, Roxanne Davis, founder of Doha Mums, had 250 pounds of books sitting in her hallway waiting to get from Houston to Doha. When the original plans for shipment fell through, she used her ingenuity and connections. A mail brigade transported the books to Doha. Members who were flying through the United States took 5 pounds here and 5 pounds there. One member even took close to 100 pounds by herself. “It’s truly been a monumental group effort to get the books to Doha. Crazy, but it worked,” says Roxanne.
Since the Library first opened in September 2010, it has moved four times. This new location is a permanent spot in one of the Al Jazi compounds near Landmark Mall. The space is three times larger than the previous one and Doha Mums will have 24-hour access, allowing them to control the opening hours to suit demand.
The library space was professionally designed by an architect, kitted out with QR27,000 worth of furniture, and most importantly, is stocked with more than 4,000 books. From fixing furniture to the wall, to affixing stickers in each of the books, a crew of volunteers have worked many months and hundreds of hours to get the library ready.
Roxanne Davis says, “It has a professional set up. Places for kids to sit and do projects. Places for mums to sit and read. Toddler books are low on the shelves so they can reach them easily. We had a professional librarian who helped guide us with the cataloging system.”
The system is completely computerised. “Checking out books is super fast and totally modern.” An online catalogue is available to the public. It enables searches for specific titles or for topic searches, such as “Ramadan” or “cats”.
Due to restrictions placed on public libraries, this private collection of books is only accessible to members of Doha Mums. After you become a member of Doha Mums, you can opt to become a library member for an additional QR100. The fees go directly to buying more books, library supplies and activities.
The largest section is for toddlers to 8-year-olds. The section for pre-teens is also rather substantial and some parenting books are available on autism, ADHD, Asperger’s, sensory processing and behavioural issues. Foreign language titles, mainly Spanish, Arabic and French, are also available. Five books can be checked out per child for up to one month.
The volunteers hope to finish the monumental task of cataloging this week, allowing partial access to members just in time for Eid vacation next week.