Blog Posts

With more than one million print books in our collections, along with hundreds of thousands of ebooks, it can be hard to figure out where to begin. In this section, we’ll regularly take a deeper dive into the Library’s collections to learn a bit more, including exploring history through the items in our Heritage Library. We’ll also feature other topics that explore various aspects of our Library. All of the items linked below are either available for members to check out or viewable online. Enjoy!

Many literary and historical texts from the Persian and Ottoman periods, such as Shahnameh, Eskandar-nāma, Nizami Ganjavi and others, have miniatures depicting the Holy Kaaba. This miniature is from a Persian manuscript, most likely the classic poem “Laila and the Madman,” by Nizami, about the famous love story of Qays ibn al-Mulawwa  and Laila. In the poem, Qays is advised by his father to ask God to spare him from suffering by circling the Kaaba and eagerly holding the Kaaba’s door ring.

This is one of the most important charts in Qatar’s cartographic history. It marks the re-emergence of the Qatar peninsula on commercially made maps after a 227-year absence. The Qatar place names of Zubarah (“Zebarra”), Khor Hassan (“Koor Hufsan”) and Ras Rakan (“Ras Reccan”) can be found on the chart.


This is an autographed letter from T.E. Lawrence to Robin Buxton addressing issues related to the funding of the 1926 subscriber’s edition of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Buxton was Lawrence’s financial adviser and helped him through the process of publishing The Seven Pillars.

Alfred Julien Beneyton (d. 1948)


This photo album was compiled by French engineer Alfred Julien Beneyton, who accomplished two survey missions in Yemen, the first between 1909 and 1910 and the second in 1911. Beneyton, a member of the French Geographical Society, was tasked with assessing the prospects for the construction of a narrow-gauge railway, which would run from Al-Hudaydah on the coast to inland Sana’a.

In the last three decades, Qatar has witnessed deep and comprehensive social and economic transformation and wide-ranging development in various fields, most obviously in nationwide urban growth.  The country’s infrastructure has been substantially upgraded, from cultural institutions such as museums, libraries and universities to critical facilities like hospitals, industrial areas, airports, ports and stadiums.

Persian manuscript poem dated 1914, from our Heritage Library collection


Ramadan is a time for reflection about Islam and what it means to be Muslim. Though some answers can only be found from within, you can enhance your understanding of Islam, its history and its practices through the Library’s online collection of ebooks and audiobooks. We have numerous items in both Arabic and English that can help you on your journey this Ramadan, which you can access through the Online Resources page on our website.

Some of our top recommendations are:

Since 1994, 3 May has been celebrated as the United Nation’s World Press Freedom Day, to celebrate the principles of press freedom, protect and grow press freedom throughout the world, and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Ramadan is the holiest month in Islam, marking the revelation of the Quar’an to the Prophet Muhammad. In the month of  Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and other specific activities during the daylight hours. This self-denial comes with an important purpose: through deprivation, observers achieve a higher level of mindfulness and consciousness about God, re-examine their habits, and gain empathy for others who have less.

This brass astrolabe (Diameter 13 cm) was made in approximately the 13th century CE in the Andalusian city of Valencia, modern-day Spain. Astrolabes were, in essence, early computers, used to tell time, perform surveying, locate the direction of Mecca—in short, to determine one’s location in time and space. They used a series of interlocking brass plates, which, when aligned according to the engraved symbols, gave astronomical readings.