December 9th was yet another school day we got to share with our hosts! I got to enjoy the sight of two libraries--the school one, in which my fellow students and I studied in while our hosts went to class, and the Qatar National Library, which a small group of friends and I headed out to visit after school. As a bookworm, this was obviously quite exciting to me; I’d heard glowing praise for the National Library, and it thoroughly lived up to my expectations (and then some!)
The drive out to the library was cramped and riddled with traffic, the seven of us all piling into one car for the duration of the drive, backpacks and all. The sight of the library itself, though, made those twenty minutes of awkward travel entirely worth it. The building was sleek, metal and glass and downright beautiful--even more so upon walking in. There were books as far as the eye could see, glossy white floors leading up to perfectly smooth shelves lined with colorful volumes of every genre imaginable--history tomes, textbooks, romance, YA Literature, classics, mysteries, even manga! I was immediately floored by how lovely it was--my inner nerd was practically squealing in delight as we walked inside.
Full of natural light, with an exhibit on Qatari heritage and history just below us, the entire place seemed to scream ideas, learning, opportunity, excitement! And with dozens of different facilities and programs within the library itself, it’s not hard to think of why. My friends managed to procure a media room to hang out in; I, of course, immediately started grabbing as many books as I could possibly read in an hour and a half and started carting them back. The next hour was spent reading and exploring. A few of our group dropped by the cafe for coffee and treats while others wandered the upper level, finding computer labs and auditoriums and areas full of beanbags just for reading. And of course, we read and read and read until it was time to leave!
The drive back to our respective houses was much calmer, full of satisfied customers and happy readers. We were each dropped off, and the rest of the night was spent relaxing and enjoying time with our host families, our day well-spent.