Categories
Information Mags & Books

National Library Now Opens in the Evenings

One of the biggest complaints about the National Library is that it is only open during the day and only on weekdays when everyone is at work. But, starting this Tuesday, June 14th, the National Library will now open in the evenings from 4PM to 9PM, but only on Tuesdays.

I love the library so I hope this new influx of traffic won’t be an issue. There are a lot of important books and archives there with very little monitoring by staff or security. I’ve spent so much time there alone flipping through books and newspapers without seeing anyone so I’m personally worried some people will take advantage and steal books or rip pages out of the newspapers.

If you didn’t know about the library or want to know what’s there, check out my previous post here.

Categories
Mags & Books

The National Library is Now Open Again

Back when I visited the National Library in October you couldn’t access any of the books yourself due to COVID safety precautions, you needed to have someone fetch the books for you. But, things are back to normal now. Yesterday morning I passed by the National Library and I was allowed access to all the books and archives. I still had to book an appointment via the meta.e.gov.kw website and you also need to be vaccinated to be allowed in, but other than that things are back to normal.

The library is next to my office which means I can go back to randomly passing by in the mornings on the way to work. I usually love going through old newspapers to find gems similar to the Hardees ad above from 1988 featuring the Thunder Cats. If you want the full resolution version click here.

The library is open Sunday to Thurday from 9AM to 1PM and for more info on what’s inside, check out my old post here.

Categories
Mags & Books Personal

Visiting the National Library During the Pandemic

When I posted about the National Library last year, most of the comments were regarding their operating hours which is 9AM to 1PM because it was as if they didn’t want anyone to visit the library. Well now with the pandemic, things just got a bit more complicated.

Last week I dropped by the National Library because I needed to flip through their newspaper archive. Usually you just give the security guard at the entrance your civil ID and then go in. But, because of the pandemic, they now have an appointment system like all other government offices. So while at the security desk I created an account at meta.e.gov.kw and booked an appointment before being let in. Once inside I had to have my photo taken at another security desk for some reason, that wasn’t there last year and they took my photo with my mask on so not sure what the purpose is.

I was told that nobody was allowed to go upstairs where all the books were. Instead, I needed to wait in a small room for someone to come to me so I could tell them what I wanted so they would go get it for me. This works if you know what you want exactly, but part of the experience of going to the library is finding books on a subject that you also didn’t know about.

I must have been the first person to ask to check their newspaper archive because they didn’t know how to go about it with the new rules. I spoke to two girls first who then had to call their boss who then told them to go get another guy, who then came and left again to go get someone else who finally could help. But he needed to know exactly what year and month of the archive to get (they’re large books archived by year and month). Luckily I knew which month and year so he was able to go fetch it for me but if I didn’t, not sure what the process would have been like.

So if you were planning to visit the library during the ongoing pandemic it’s no longer a good experience. I used to love dropping in randomly every now and then to go through their books and newspapers so it sucks that I can’t do that anymore. If you want to check out my previous post on the library, click here.

Categories
Information Kuwait Mags & Books

Visiting The Kuwait National Library

Around 4 years ago I passed by The Kuwait National Library. The library wasn’t officially open then but I had a meeting with the team there and before my meeting started, I wandered around a bit and explored what I thought were all the English books they had in this very small section near the meeting room. I wasn’t that impressed.

Since then I’ve been meaning to drop by again but never did, partially because I wasn’t impressed the first time but also because their opening hours are terrible, 9AM to 1PM during weekdays.. basically when everyone is at work. But, I did manage to finally drop by the library this morning and I’ve changed my mind, I now love the place.

The national library is spread out over three floors not including the ground floor. I’m sure the way the books were divided kinda made sense, but I was just wandering around exploring and randomly looking for English books. So this is the thing I didn’t realize the first time I was there, there isn’t just one section where all the English books are located. Instead, the library is divided into different areas like Encyclopedias or books about Kuwait etc.., and in each of these areas you’ll find an English books corner.

There were a handful of people in the library when I was there (because everyone has a day job obviously), so I was able to just walk around the different floors and sections, randomly exploring without disturbing anyone. I’m not sure I managed to see all the areas but even if I did, I really do have to go back and spend a lot more time there.

My favorite sections were probably the books on Kuwait section as well as the newspaper archives section. If you check my instagram story I shared some videos of that section. The newspaper archive section had these massive books of different Kuwaiti newspapers from the 60s, 70s, 80s etc.. and you just flip through them, every page of the book is a page from a newspaper. They’re so good and there were so many of them so I really want to go back and flip through more of those books.

There was also this very cool section with shelves that opened and moved with a touch of a button, there was a section where employees were busy digitizing books using these super cool laser scanners (pictured above), and there was even a rare books section.

I really love old books, especially ones related to Kuwait so I really did enjoy just sitting on the floor and flipping through random books. You can’t take the books out of the library, but that’s really not an issue for me and if anything, I prefer it since the books will always be there to check.

Their opening hours are terrible and that really is my biggest issue with the place. I really want you all to pass by and check the library out, but I also know that the majority of you have jobs and aren’t going to want to take a day off just to explore a library. But if you can, then they’re open from Sunday to Thursday, 9AM to 1PM. The library is located right next to the Sadu House and the National Museum [Google Maps]. Everyone can access the library, and it’s free. You just need to give them your Civil ID card at the door.

If you follow me on instagram (@mark248am) then check out my story today, I’ll also have it as a highlight for a few days in case you read this post late.

The National Library of Kuwait’s website is nlk.gov.kw

Categories
50s to 90s Mags & Books

The National Library Bookshop

bookshop

I hadn’t heard of this bookshop until my friend took me to it recently. It’s supposedly one of the oldest bookshops in Kuwait and it’s called “المكتبة الوطنية” which translates to The National Library. They sell Arabic books and comics, mostly new but they also have a bunch of really old stuff.

hardees

While flipping through one of the old comics I found the Hardees advert above. My very first memory of Hardees is that kids meal box, I think I was around 6 years old and I remember getting it from the now demolished Hardees near my house in Salem Mubarek Street.

If you’re interested in checking out this old bookshop it’s located in Souk Mubarkia, here is the location on [Google Maps]

Categories
Information Kuwait Mags & Books

The Kuwait National Library

library1

Yesterday I had a meeting at the Kuwait National Library and to kill time before the meeting I wandered off into the small English books section and started checking out the books. I was pretty surprised that the majority of the English books were really old but then I found the advertising section and I knew I hit jackpot.

Right away I noticed, these weren’t just any ordinary advertising books, these were vintage advertising books from the 40s and the 50s! These are the books Don Draper would have on his bookshelf on the TV show Mad Men. I found an empty shelf and started collecting the books I liked and lining them up next to each other. In the end these were my favorite books that I found:

library2

How to Build Modern Furniture (1957)
Five Hundred Years of Printing (1959)
The Watch Repairer’s Manual (1949)
Advertising – a guide for business man and student (1947)
Advertising and Psychology (1954)
The Technique of Advertising (1940)
Successful Television and Radio Advertising (1959)
Advertising (1953)
International Handbook of Advertising (1964)
Colour in Advertising (1956)

I thought they were all very fascinating so once my meeting was done I headed to the main office to sign up for a library card so I could check them out. Thats where I got an even bigger surprise, turns out the library isn’t open yet and is actually opening in two weeks and even once it’s open they won’t allow anyone to check out the books, you can only read them in the library.

I left the library in love with it but at the same time a bit confused.

If they’re not open yet, why are all the English books so old?
Where did they even get these books from?
and WTF?

library3

But then it hit me, this is the perfect library. Other than the fact that old books are fascinating, by having all these old books, its as if the library has been around for 50 years instead of just opening now. You’re also not going to find these books on the Kindle so thats another reason to visit the library. Smart move. Once the library is open in two weeks I would definitely recommend you pass by. The library is pretty big and I’m not sure if there was another larger English section but even if there wasn’t, the small section is interesting enough to check out.

The library is located right next to the National Museum on the Gulf Road and here it is on [Google Maps]

PS: If anyone from the library is reading this, please PLEASE remove the horrible window sticker on your building and install a proper sign instead.]

Categories
Art Sneak Peek

Sneak Peek: Kuwait National Museum

In May 1960, an international competition was held for the architectural project for the Kuwait National Museum which would be located in the cultural district of the 1952 Master Plan of Kuwait. The competition was won by French architect Michel Écochard and the museum was finally opened in 1983 where it stayed open up until the 1990 invasion. The museum was badly damaged during the war and most of the buildings remained closed (some photos of the destruction here). There were talks at one point of demolishing the museum and building a new one but thankfully in 2014, it was decided to save the existing museum by restoring it.

The restoration project is now complete and the museum is currently in the process of getting ready to reopen. I got invited to a sneak peek of the museum, something that I’ve been wanting for years. I was lucky enough to visit the museum back in the 80s, and although I don’t remember much of it, I do appreciate the fact that they decided to restore the landmark building instead of demolishing it as is the case most of the time.

The Kuwait National Museum is part of the Qibla Cultural District (Google Maps) which includes the Sadu House, the National Library, and Al-Qibla School for Girls Education. The main museum complex comprises of four buildings each housing a different part of Kuwait’s history:

Building 1 – Archeology of Kuwait
Building 2 – Ethnographic History of Kuwait
Building 3 – Ancient East
Building 4 – Ancient East

Buildings 1 and 2 are already open while buildings 3 and 4 are the ones heavily damaged during the war and the ones I got to tour. Buildings 3 and 4 are the largest buildings and will cover art in the Ancient East starting in the 3rd millennium BC going through Arabia before Islam, then the beginning of Islam, followed by the full chronology of Islamic Art.

All four buildings are connected by closed bridges. This means once you enter a building you can navigate the whole museum without stepping outside making it very convenient during the hot summer months.

Minor changes were made to the structure of the buildings, large semi-opaque windows were installed to bring in more daylight, and some minor new stairs and walkways were added due to updated fire safety requirements. All the work looked very tasteful and well-executed although I do wish they had kept the original pink brick facade.

There is also a planetarium outside the museum which you’ve most likely seen driving by on the Gulf Road since it’s the building closest to the road and its round spherical shape is hard to miss.

The planetarium is also in the final stages of renovation and will be reopening soon.

As I mentioned early on in the post, buildings3 and 4 of the museum are currently in the process of getting ready to reopen. They’re expecting that would happen in two years’ time, around 2024. In the meantime, buildings 1 and 2 are open and you can visit those now, here is my previous post about them. Link

Categories
Kuwait Mags & Books

Kuwait Launches Digital Library

When I visited the Kuwait National Library back in March I noticed they had a room where they were scanning books on Kuwait in. I was told they would be launching a digital library soon called “Memory of Kuwait” and last week they did just that.

This platform was launched by an initiative of the National Library of Kuwait with a goal to connect the past with the present. It includes books, periodicals, manuscripts and other collections that document the stages of Kuwait through history.

This interactive digital platform utilizes advanced technologies in line with Kuwait National Library vision. Embracing new technologies in order to serve public visitors and to give them access to the library’s most important historical collections.

The library has so far scanned or digitized over 1,000 items like books, videos, newspapers and more and they’re all available to view right now on their website. But, I found the website really clunky and slow to use.

The videos I tried to watch were in the incorrect size format so they were squished while with the books or magazines I could only view a limited amount of pages. I keep getting a popup saying that I have limited access but there isn’t any information on how I can get more access! I can see a sign in button, but I can’t find the signup page so the whole thing feels like a bit of a mess.

I love the idea of a digital library especially when the main library is only open from 9AM to 1PM on weekdays. But I really really don’t like the software they’re using to navigate all these books, its too slow to be of any practical use. But, if you want to try it out yourself, here is the link.

Categories
Design

The Sadu Brick Road

The road right next to Sadu House that leads towards the National Museum and the National Library is being replaced with a Sadu brick road. No idea who came up with this idea but I love it!

Categories
50s to 90s News

Step Back in Time with Al Qabas

Al Qabas newspaper launched a new service recently called Al Qabas Premium where they’ve digitized all their issues going back to 1972 and made them available online.

This is such a cool thing and I’m so surprised they did this. Previously the only way I could access their archive is by going to the National Library and having to flip through large and heavy books, so this is way more convenient.

Al Qabas Premium isn’t free, it costs $60 a year but you can sign up to a monthly package ($6) if you want as well. They do have some free content available and I just found the picture on top of Cinema Salmiya dating back to 1972 as part of their free content. But, $6 is pretty reasonable so I’ll be signing up to their monthly package.

Al Qabas Premium is in Arabic and if you want to check it out then click here.

Thanks Omar!

Update: Here is a video they just published about Al Qabas Premium

Categories
Kuwait Mags & Books

Center for Research and Studies on Kuwait

Last Thursday I was at the National Library looking for a specific book related to the Iraq invasion when I found a book called “Kuwaiti Resistance as Revealed by Iraqi Documents“. From the cover, it didn’t look like much but after flipping a few pages I was hooked. I knew I wanted that book so I went online to buy one from Amazon or eBay when I noticed the book was published by the Center for Research and Studies on Kuwait. The center was located next to my office so after work I decided to head to their small bookshop to see if they had it. They did, in fact, they had the book in English, Arabic, and French and for just KD3!

I’ve been meaning to post about the place for some time now ever since I found out they had a book shop. It was a small shop with just their publications so didn’t think it would be an interesting post but then on Thursday I also found out they had a library with a lot of interesting books and it was open to the public!

The Center for Research and Studies on Kuwait was established in 1992 with a number of objectives but mainly to collect various documents and studies relating to the Iraqi aggression against Kuwait. The book I purchased is one of many books the center has published on the invasion but they also have a wide range of books on Kuwait (history, environment, wildlife, etc).

The center has a library which although not as big as the National Library at least is open in the afternoon so people with jobs can pass by after work. The library is mostly filled with Arabic books but they did have a pretty decently sized section filled with English books as well as an archive of researches and presentations including proposals on the Kuwait Water Front Project (the Gulf Road basically) and original plans for the Kuwait Radion Television Centre which I had never seen before. They also had an archive of LIFE magazine issues dating from 1956 to 1963, two copies of the Saba Shiber book The Kuwait Urbanization and another book by Saba I didn’t know existed called Recent Arab City Growth (also dating back to the 60s and there is a copy on eBay for $375 so someone, please buy it right now because I can’t afford to buy all the rare books on Kuwait by myself).

If you’re looking to buy some books or spend some time in a library flipping through old books on Kuwait this is the place. Like I said it’s nowhere near as big as the Nationa Library but at least they have better opening hours. The center is open from 8AM to 1:30PM and then again from 5PM to 7:30PM. Here is their location on Google Maps.

Categories
50s to 90s Mags & Books

James Brown Newspaper Clippings – 1978

While at the National Library recently, I found a few newspaper clippings related to James Brown when he visited Kuwait back in 1978. I was hoping to find more coverage in the papers but I searched through 1 month worth of AlQabas newspapers and only found a few ads and one article. I’m gonna go back and try to look for more in other newspapers but for now, I’m gonna share the ones I found. One is on top and the rest are below. If only the library didn’t have the most impractical opening hours…

Categories
Events

UK Culture Week

cultureweek

The UK Week of Culture is going to take place in Kuwait starting from tomorrow. They’ll be holding a bunch of public events over the next week which I’ve listed below so make sure you check them out:

Zoe Rahman Trio – Monday November 9 – Al Shaheed Park
Tom Warner – Tuesday November 10 – National Library of Kuwait
Heliosphere – Wednesday November 11 – Marina Crescent
Paper Cinema – Thursday November 12 – Salmiya Theater
Gandini Workshop – Friday November 13 – Avenues
Gandini – Saturday November 14 – Salmiya Theater

For more information click [Here]

Note: All these events are free to attend.

Categories
Events

Meet Farouq Abdul-Aziz from the popular 80s KTV show Cine Club

farouq

For those of you who grew up in Kuwait during the 80s you’ll most likely remember the show Cine Club which used to take place once a week. The show was hosted by Farouq Abdul-Aziz who would choose a film that week to play and discuss it with the viewers.

Well you can now relive the 80s because tomorrow Farouq in currently back in Kuwait and will be hosting a movie night at the National Library of Kuwait. Farouq will be playing the film ‘Nightcrawler’ (a really great film btw) and then hold a discussion afterwards. It’s so random from the fact that he’s doing this, to the venue location to the film of choice.

For details click [Here]

Categories
Events

Event: Japanese Pop Culture Festival

A Japanese Pop Culture Festival will be held at the National Library of Kuwait on September 12 and 13 in corporation with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and the Japanese Embassy. The Festival will include various events, among them will be a Shadowloo Showdown qualifier, Anime drawing contest, figure drawing contest and a cosplay contest.

Date: Thursday September 12 and Friday September 13, 2013
Time: 6PM
Location: National Library of Kuwait

Shadowloo Showdown includes the following games: Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition ver. 2012, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, King of Fighters XIII. To sign up to it or for more information on this festival visit this [Link]

via 360dewan