Apr. 3, 2019

Dr. Sohair Wastawy


Dr. Sohair Wastawy

Executive Director, Qatar National Library (QNL)

TBY talks to Dr. Sohair Wastawy, Executive Director of Qatar National Library (QNL) on the Tourism sector.


Dr. Sohair Wastawy was appointed Executive Director of Qatar National Library in 2016. She was previously the Dean of Libraries at Florida Institute of Technology in the US. She also served as the Dean of the University Libraries at Illinois State University. From 2004-2010, Dr. Wastawy provided leadership for a full range of library and cultural activities as the first chief librarian of the new Library of Alexandria in Egypt. From 1992-2004, Dr. Wastawy was the Dean of Libraries at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and was affiliated with IIT since 1988. She is a member of professional associations boards and is the recipient of many awards and honors, including a Fulbright scholarship. She is also an international consultant for library buildings and management.

How do you evaluate user experience?

We evaluate it based on user research data. Before we introduce a new service, we carry out surveys and conduct focus groups to further tailor the service and adjust it based on that feedback. This is a continuous process to ensure that our programs keep adding value. We also receive ample feedback based on our daily interactions with the library's users. Our librarians work with users to understand their specific needs and to guide them through our resources. Another similar example is for users researching science or medicine, which may not be accomplished through books alone. The latest work in such fields is often found in journals and conference proceedings, which may not be in print but in electronic resources.

How is QNL preserving Qatar's intellectual heritage?

The national library is responsible for preserving the intellectual heritage of the nation. The legal deposit is one where a copy of each book or journal published in a certain country is deposited in its national library for the purpose of preserving it for the future. A book published today about Qatar will be extremely important in 100 years, it will tell us much about the people, history, and culture of the time when it was produced. Another way intellectual heritage is preserved is through the curation of data of digitally published material. While we preserve the print and some of the digital information about Qatar, we also plan on preserving TV and radio programs. These are the elements that distinguish the mission of a national library from academic and public libraries.