Doha Mums is this month launching a library aimed solely at children. When we spoke to Roxanne Piper-Davis, who founded the expat social group, along with four of its very active and involved members, Kerri Arlando, Alison Gilmour, Lida Larson and Kirsten Oliver, we found them all in the final throws of getting everything ready. ‘The library, which is due to open on September 24, is primarily aimed at children up to six years old, although we hope to be able to expand to older age groups in the future,’ Kirsten tells us.
Kerri adds: ‘People have actually donated books for older children as well, so for families with a child over the age of six, there are some books to choose from. At the moment, we don’t have a big enough selection to warrant opening the library to the over sixes. Hopefully that will change soon.’
In a nutshell, the concept is geared towards providing kids with somewhere they can come with their parents to choose and borrow books. Beyond that, there will also be opportunities for children to listen to stories read aloud by volunteers and to take part in organised arts and crafts. ‘The plan is for it to run in the same way as any library, in that the kids can come in and read books, listen to stories – a storytime schedule will be made available – and do arts and crafts, as well as be able to check books out so that children can enjoy them in their own space,’ Kerri explains.
Going to the library would be an important part of a majority of most of the expat children’s lives were they living back home in their respective countries, and that is what sparked the initial idea. ‘We came up with the concept because we missed taking our own children to the library,’ Kirsten tells us. ‘And we decided to set one up in Qatar with the help of Doha Mums.’
‘We were basically at a playgroup talking about how much we missed having a library to take the kids to and how it was a shame that there was nothing like it in Doha that would give our children a similar experience,’ Kerri adds. ‘So we decided to create our own.’
A majority of the library books have been donated by members of Doha Mums, but a large number of them have been sent over from the US by a mums group in Houston Texas that Roxanne was formerly a part of before moving to Qatar. The library is open to any Doha Mums members, plus their husbands and children, for an annual fee of QR100. Membership of Doha Mums is free, all you need to do to
sign up is attend one of the official Doha Mums events.
‘Many Doha Mums members have kindly brought back books from their travels and, in addition to the generous donations, we are also purchasing brand new books with money raised from the annual library membership fee. We already have over 300 books for the library, plus all of those that are still coming in following the summer holidays,’ Kerri adds.
Located in the Kumon Centre of what once was the Souk Waqif Art Gallery, the library, which will be manned by Doha Mums volunteers, will be open three times a week – every Friday plus two other weekdays. Although the actual days and times were still being finalised as we went to press, Kerri is hopeful that it will be open one weekday morning, one weekday afternoon and all day Friday.
So, whilst there may be a few things you can only do at home that you can’t do here, thanks to Doha Mums taking your kids to the library isn’t one of them. It could be a way to keep your little ones quietly engaged for hours, which in turn might just give you the perfect opportunity to get stuck into that good book you’ve been meaning to read for ages yourself.
The Doha Mums Library opens on September 24 at Kumon Centre, Souk Waqif. More info to follow at www.dohamums.com