11 07, 2019

James Brown Newspaper Clippings – 1978

2019-07-11T11:20:43+03:00Jul 11, 2019|10 Comments

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…

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17 06, 2019

Kuwait Launches Digital Library

2019-06-17T08:50:38+03:00Jun 17, 2019|2 Comments

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.

23 04, 2019

Better Books!

2019-04-23T09:18:45+03:00Apr 23, 2019|8 Comments

The Better Books bookshop has been around for a very long time but I never got the chance to pass by the place until just a few days ago. Recently a friend of mine started volunteering there and when I looked up the bookshop on Google Maps, I realized it was actually walking distance from my apartment. So, I decided to pass by the bookshop and check it out.

Better Books have over 10,000 used books (and some new ones) ranging from children’s books to cookbooks, novels, self-help books, you name it. The place is small but also really cozy with different seating areas and is stacked with books everywhere. They also have a cool buyback policy. When you buy a used book from Better Books and you’re done with it, you can sell it back to them for half the price. If you also have books you don’t need they’ll also take them off you and give you store credit for them.

Better Books are located in Salmiya and you can find them on Google Maps. They’re open daily from 4PM to 9PM on weekdays and 10:30AM to 8PM on weekends. They don’t have an Instagram account or website, but they’re on Facebook.

27 03, 2019

Visiting The Kuwait National Library

2019-03-28T07:58:31+03:00Mar 27, 2019|23 Comments

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

25 11, 2018

Kuwait Books Ban Overturned

2018-11-25T10:42:57+03:00Nov 25, 2018|22 Comments

Over 4,300 books have been banned so far in Kuwait since 2014 with 700 of them being banned just this year alone. Random books like the Little Mermaid were banned as well as books written by local authors. The book bans were so absurd that New York Times last month published an article about it which you can read [Here]

Over the weekend, local designer Mohammad Sharaf installed a book graveyard next to Kuwait’s Annual Book Fair to protest the banning of the books. The book graveyard got removed by the authorities quickly but the pictures went viral sparking a conversation on the subject again.

Now Alqabas newspaper is reporting that the appeals court have overturned the Ministry of Information’s book ban stating we live in a different time where the world is a much more open place. This is obviously great news so I really hope its true. I’m hoping this ruling could possibly encourage someone to open up a large bookstore in Kuwait. The book fair was incredibly packed when I visited it with people buying books so there definitely is a market.

18 11, 2018

Kuwait’s 43rd International Book Fair

2018-11-18T09:47:25+03:00Nov 18, 2018|19 Comments

bookfair

The 43rd International Book Fair launched last week during the big storm and is going to be on until the 24th of this month at the Mishref Fairgrounds. I dropped by on Friday and it was extremely packed, like I’ve never seen the fairgrounds that packed in my life.

This is the largest book fair that takes place in Kuwait and its spread out across three halls. Around three aisles in one of the halls are dedicated to just English books but the rest is all in Arabic. For more information on the fair, click [Here]

2 10, 2018

From Orwell to ‘Little Mermaid,’ Kuwait Steps Up Book Banning

2018-10-02T12:14:32+03:00Oct 2, 2018|36 Comments

Yesterday the New York Times published an article relating to Kuwait, but like most of the times we make the news, it wasn’t for a good thing. The New York Times had an article on the increase of book bannings that have gotten so extreme, we’re actually banning books that are not banned in Saudi Arabia. If that’s not absurd I don’t know what is.

Some of the books that were banned were written by local authors, so it’s not just foreign books that are being affected by this recent banning. Over 4,300 books have been banned so far since 2014 with 700 of them being banned just this year alone. Check out the New York Times article with more details on this [Here]

7 02, 2018

Sharks & Rays of the Arabian/Persian Gulf

2018-02-07T09:03:05+03:00Feb 7, 2018|2 Comments

A couple of months back I attended a “Marine Mammals of Kuwait” seminar which focused mostly on dolphins and whales. It was kinda upsetting because it turns out we don’t have that much data on the whales and dolphins located in our waters. We don’t even have a proper database that archives sightings and we have too many local organizations that don’t seem to work or share data together. I actually had a huge rant I wrote right after attending the seminar but decided against posting it because I’m trying not to let shit like this get to me.

Sharks & Rays of the Arabian/Persian Gulf is a book I found out about after attending the seminar. I was sharing my frustration with a friend of mine and she told me about a Kuwaiti biologist who had a deep interest in sharks, so much so that she published this book that documents the sharks and rays in our waters. The book was only available on Amazon or The Palms dive center, so I didn’t end up picking it up until a few days ago when I found out that the book was now available at the Scientific Center gift shop.

The book costs KD10 with 60% of the income going to support sharks and rays research around the Arabian Peninsula. So if you care just a little bit, then you should really pick up a copy of this book.