The “Reading Guide” service, launched by the Ministry of Culture starting from the first days of the exhibition, was greatly appreciated by the audience, especially by first-time readers who tried this service to help them choose topics and ideas and develop the habit of reading, through a specialized team formed by the “Teach for Qatar” organization, and a librarian from Qatar National Library and the Ministry of Culture. A number of those who used this service commended the efforts of the Ministry of Culture in spreading the culture of reading and making all members of society accustomed to reading.
Ms. Dalal Al-Sharafi, an official in charge of the “Reading Guide” program, said in a press statement on the sidelines of the contribution to the success of the exhibition: “It is the first service provided at the level of book fairs, which was launched under the guidance and supervision of His Excellency Sheikh Abdul Rahman bin Hamad Al-Thani, Minister of Culture, and it targets reading beginners in all age categories. The guides, who are present throughout the exhibition, offer guidance in the form of a consultation session that does not exceed 10 minutes, during which the reading guide hands over to the beneficiary a questionnaire through which he learns about his cultural background, interests, and purpose of reading. He learns about his intellectual orientation and areas of interests through several of the questions raised in the questionnaire, such as whether he has ever read a book, the reasons that prompted him to read, or the reasons that prevented him from reading and completing a book, for example. Ms. Al-Sharafi explained that the role of the guide is to endeavor to change stereotypes about reading, as there must be comprehensiveness in the reading process, because everyone practices reading on a daily basis, but we require guidance: “What do we read and how do we read?” adding: “Our aim is to make the beneficiary leave the consultation session knowing the purpose of reading and the field that suits him, and knowing how to evaluate the book and how to choose the appropriate one; thus, the guided person can acquire the tools to evaluate a given book. This can be achieved through the tour that we take with the beneficiary inside the exhibition based on his choice of the publishing house. Accordingly, we apply the skills that I have talked about. Each age group has a reading guide who offers his services.”
Meanwhile, Ms. Al-Sharafi stressed that the “Reading Guide” does not direct the beneficiary towards a specific type of reading; rather, he illuminates the way for novice readers, emphasizing that the goal of the Ministry of Culture in offering this service, which runs from 3 PM to 9 PM, is to convey this idea to society through public educational and cultural institutions, and the aim of cooperation with some parties was to encourage them to provide this service on a voluntary basis.