Qatar National Library hosted a group of five specialists in the field of heritage conservation from the Kingdom of Jordan from 24 to 26 June in its role as the IFLA Regional Center for Preservation and Conservation for Arab Countries and the Middle East.
The participants represented Jordan’s Ministry of Culture, the National Library of Jordan, the Documentation and Manuscript Center at the University of Jordan, and the Royal Jordanian Hashemite Documentation Center.
The three-day capacity building program was organized by UNESCO Office in Amman, UNESCO Office in Doha and the IFLA Regional Preservation and Conservation Center at the Library. It comprised workshops, tours of the Library facilities and digitization center, and lectures from the Library’s specialists, where participants were able to learn about the methods and procedures for the preservation and conservation of manuscripts and heritage items.
A series of lectures addressed risk management and assessment in libraries, while other topics included the theoretical and practical preservation methods for long-term digitized materials to make them available to researchers. Attendees also learned about the technology used to set up the Qatar Digital Library and how it helps in achieving the objectives of the Library in the preservation of digital heritage.
Ahmad Khraisat, Director of the Department of Technical Services at the Documentation and Manuscript Center at the University of Jordan, said: “This is my first visit to Qatar and its national library, a pearl in the desert. I was impressed by the facilities and the international experience of the staff, and especially with their dedication to collecting manuscripts related to the history of the Arab and Islamic world.”
Hanan Daghmash, Director of Heritage Authority at the Ministry of Culture, Jordan, said: "During the workshop, we acquired many rich experiences through a tour of the Library facilities, the preservation and conservation center, and digitization center. The workshop provided us with the unique experience of cooperating with a range of entities, including UNESCO Amman, UNESCO Doha and the Library."
Nawal Alaqeel, Director of Documentation and Documents Department at the National Library of Jordan, said: “The purpose of our visit has been to learn more about Qatar’s efforts in the field of digitization, as well as preserving and conserving heritage collections, and it has been a wonderful learning experience. I am very happy to be visiting this unique cultural edifice.”
The Library is undertaking several projects to support the preservation of documentary heritage in the Arab region. An 18-month long project in collaboration with UNESCO focuses on identifying documentary heritage in Arab countries and offers support in capacity building and professional development to specialists working in this field.
Stephane Ipert, Preservation and Conservation Manager at the Library, said: “We were delighted to host experts from Jordan in our role as the IFLA Regional Preservation and Conservation Center, which is part of our efforts to preserve the heritage of Qatar and the region. The Library’s world-class in-house resources allow us to extend these opportunities to raise awareness of the best practices in maintaining rare books, documents and manuscripts.”
Ikhlas Aal Khawaldh, National Program Officer at UNESCO Office in Jordan, said: “As part of UNESCO's goals of preserving documentary heritage, including digital heritage, we were thrilled at the opportunity to learn more about the practices at Qatar National Library. The program has served to hone the skills of the five specialists from Jordan on the best methods of conserving and preserving documentary heritage.”