Despite Qatar’s high literacy rate, children here are not raised to love reading.
It’s a problem we share with the rest of the Middle East: a 2010 UN report suggests that less than 2 percent of the population in the Arab world reads even one book a year.
A group of professional mothers in Qatar is hoping to tackle this “reading crisis” through a new initiative called Maktaba, an Arabic/English children’s library that organizers hope to open next year.
According to the website:
Maktaba’s primary purpose is to support the achievement of children of all ages. We will do this by providing programs that engage the imagination, promote the love of reading and learning and support academic achievement…
There are a limited number of library services currently available in Qatar…
We represent a cross section of the Qatari community who believe that Qatar has established a sophisticated structure of governmental, non-governmental, and educational institutions that provide the basis for community development.
It now falls to individuals within the community to design projects that meet their needs. Maktaba is one such project.
Organizers are still working out the details of Maktaba, like where it will be housed (Katara is the hope) and when it will open (ideally 2012).
In the future, the library will be looking for volunteers to help with their programming and events, but their current goal is simply to get some grassroots support for the project.
So for now, helping is simple – just follow them on Twitter!