The Materials Library at VCUarts Qatar was established in 2010 as a creative resource that provides inspiration, knowledge, instruction, and consultation to the School’s community and the wider public. It is the only academic materials library in the Arab Gulf Region. The unique facility houses a circulating collection of thousands of diverse material samples from around the world, including catalogs and printed literature. Visitors are encouraged to physically interact with and browse the curated collection in order to understand and experience the tactile properties of materials.
The Materials Library promotes material research, exploration, and experimentation to stimulate creativity and critical thinking in the art and design fields. It aims to expose students to a wide range of materials, collected and curated for their respective disciplines, in order to enhance their knowledge and literacy in materials, processes, and fabrication methods. In doing so, the Materials Library encourages its users to rethink common practices and explore alternative and unusual avenues in material applications.
The Collection Space houses an inspiring collection of thousands of material samples from around the world that users can browse, interact with, and borrow.
Browse 10,000+ material samples through Material ConneXion’s online database.
Workspace is an open, collaborative space that hosts classes, talks, and workshops where users can explore materials and work on their creative projects and research.
The Tinker Lab complements the Workspace activities by providing a range of tools and equipment that support material experimentation and promote material literacy.
Sample Request Form
We welcome you to suggest material samples for our collection by submitting a form. Please submit separate form entries for each item. All requests will be considered, and selection will be made based on relevance to the collection and its alignment with our acquisition criteria.
The Materials Library’s primary source of funding is through VCUarts Qatar’s operating budget. The Materials Library is committed to the effective stewardship of resources allocated for collections, resources, activities, and space.
The Materials Library facilitates the identification of materials for undergraduate and graduate coursework, thesis projects, and faculty research. Students or faculty who want to purchase materials for their projects or research may consult with the Materials Library Curators. However, procurement should be arranged through the respective department.
The world of materials is immeasurably vast and diverse. The Materials Library collection attempts to demonstrate and capture this vastness with a selection that varies in type, scale, and application.
Below are various formats that constitute the Materials Library collection.
Individual Materials Samples
Constituting the majority of the collection, these are individual material samples that are not part of a set.
The scale of the sample and its weight should be manageable and reasonable whenever possible, with exceptions.
Any chemical formulas need to be reviewed by VCUarts Qatar’s Facilities & Safety Department.
These are material samples that are presented in a consolidated set by the supplier.
Preferred sample sets are ones where individual samples can be easily removed and returned to their original location within the set.
Material sample panels provided by Material ConneXion.
A searchable, online database of over 10,000 materials.
Book titles that are relevant to various material topics, and subjects that aim to enhance material literacy and research.
Catalogs or printed literature by manufacturers and suppliers for material or product lines that correspond with an existing sample in the collection or act as an additional reference to support research and inquiries.
Journals that showcase materials and their application in art and design through multiple perspectives. They are critical and discuss overarching concepts and topics relevant to the various disciplines at VCUarts Qatar.
This format specifically denotes finished products within the physical collection that exhibit material application or demonstrate a particular fabrication process.
This format attempts to highlight unique applications.
Unfinished products or samples that exhibit a material at any stage of its fabrication process.
The Materials Library collects student or faculty work that exhibit unique or creative material exploration, research, and application.
Works are displayed at exhibition opportunities and venues as part of the Materials Library collection.
Items in this collection are incredibly unique and innovative, difficult to acquire, hold a high price point, or are a delicate, traditional craft.
These items are not circulated, with exceptions requested through the curators.
In order to maintain and preserve the relevance and value of the collection, the Materials Library team follows a collection analysis plan to regularly evaluate and assess its contents. This crucial aspect of collection management allows for the collection to grow and change to reflect the current or anticipated needs of VCUarts Qatar’s students and faculty. Systematic evaluation of the collection by means of use and user studies, circulation and reference data, and other methods ensures that the resource continues to be of maximum benefit to its users. Evaluation methods ensure that the collections are balanced and robust.
Acquisition refers to the process of determining which new materials to acquire, or maintain in the existing collection. De-selection is the removal of materials from the collection because they are outdated, in poor condition, and no longer serve instruction and research programs. If de-selected items are in good condition, they are donated to students and faculty whenever possible. The following criteria guide the acquisition and de-selection of items in the Materials Library:
Selection Acquisition Criteria:
The material is relevant to a VCUarts Qatar discipline
The material is commercially available. Exceptions exist where items are discontinued but are valuable to the collection.
Vendors and vendor information are accessible (local or international)
Material information, description, and specifications are available, where possible
Book titles that are relevant to various material topics and subjects that aim to enhance material literacy and research
Material samples that are liquid and chemical must be accompanied by a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and approved with the Facilities & Safety department prior to the acquisition
Acquired items must align with the collection formats and categorization, with an exception for items that are unique or represent an innovative material or process
Recommendations and requests from Materials Library users are encouraged but must align with established acquisition criteria
Materials in the collection for a long period of time, 3+ years, with no evidence of recent usage (circulation or reference) are to be removed. Exceptions are made to unique items that hold historical, scholarly, or archival value.
Duplicates of a material sample must be withdrawn, only maintaining a representative selection, except for items that are in high demand or at an established risk of loss
Materials in poor physical condition should be withdrawn for repairs if possible, or disposal. Withdrawn materials in good condition are to be donated to students and faculty where possible.
Print materials may be de-selected if they are damaged, obsolete, or superseded by updated editions.
The Materials Library staff are committed to making informed and timely resource selection decisions based on the curricular, academic, and research needs of VCUarts Qatar students and faculty. Below are some of the methods used to acquire items into the collection:
In-depth research of international, regional, and local manufacturers, vendors, and suppliers.
Frequent visits to local material supply stores and vendors to source materials.
Conferences, Trade Shows, Design Weeks, etc
Attending industry events and collecting material samples, catalogs, and business cards for future reference, and acquisition orders.
Workshops, Exhibitions, Instruction
Acquiring outcomes (tangible and digital) of workshops, class projects, and any outreach activities instigated by the Materials Library.
Constituting a large portion of the collection, the Materials Library accepts donated or free samples from vendors, suppliers, and users of the Library as long as the samples abide with the selection criteria and are approved by the curators. The curators must be consulted prior to any donation.
In the traditional sense of a library, students and faculty can borrow, renew, or request books and material samples from the Materials Library collection. Students and faculty from other universities within Education City may also check out material samples through the Interlibrary Loan (ILL) system. Community members of VCUarts Qatar Libraries may borrow material samples using their Community Borrower card.
Length of Loan (Days)
Lost/Damaged Item Fee (USD)
Number of Renewals
Max Number of Loans
Borrowed materials must be returned by their due date. If material samples are overdue by more than the designated length of the loan, they will automatically be considered Missing/Lost and borrowing privileges will be suspended until the overdue items are returned.
Borrowed materials cannot be returned altered, manipulated, or modified. Students and faculty are accountable for any replacement costs associated with lost or damaged items. The replacement fee represents the cost to re-purchase and re-process a replacement of the same material where applicable. For certain items, the fee may be increased according to value as determined by the Materials Library.
The Materials Library is located in Room 101 on the Ground Floor at VCUarts Qatar, adjacent to the main entrance of the building. Please ask Security for assistance if you have trouble finding the location.
The Materials Library is accessible on-site at the following times:
Summer, Fall, and Spring Semesters
Sunday – Thursday: 10 am – 5 pm
Closed Friday and Saturday, and during national holidays and Eid
Tours, official or group visits (dignitaries, companies, schools, etc.), and consultations are by scheduled appointment in advance. Additional hours may be scheduled in advance by contacting the Materials Curator or Assistant Materials Curator for special appointments.