8th Sharjah International Library Conference calls for harnessing modern technology to facilitate inclusive access to all knowledge seekers 

Two-day conference concluded at Expo Centre Sharjah after hosting insightful discussions
 on new approaches and trends in library management

  • Mansour Al Hassani: We look forward to seeing the conference set the tone for the beginning of a new phase of development in libraries around the world, and especially in the Arab region

For immediate release
Sharjah, November 11, 2021

With a strong educational programming agenda and a lively exploration of the possible futures for libraries that highlighted ongoing digital transformations in the library sector, the eighth edition of the Sharjah International Library Conference (SILC), concluded today at Expo Centre Sharjah with a call to harness modern technological tools to enable inclusive access to resources in varying formats for all users.

Organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) in collaboration with the American Library Association (ALA) and held on the sidelines of the 40th Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), the two-day annual conference enhanced the professional and leadership development of more than 300 library and information professionals from the region and around the world, and connected them to new ideas, expertise, resources, and opportunities to enrich the communities they serve.

Mansour Al Hassani, General Coordinator of the SILC, said: “In line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, the annual Sharjah International Library Conference aims to boost the pivotal role of libraries in furthering knowledge-based societies.”

He added: “Sharjah is the only city outside of the US, where a conference of this stature is held, and as such, it plays a pivotal role in bolstering the library ecosystem through sharing of international best practices. The educational agenda is enabling libraries in the region and beyond keep pace with the current trends in library and information services and advancing their role in supporting education and research.”

“The 8th edition of SILC discussed the emerging trends driving the future of libraries worldwide, especially with the recent shift to increasingly digital practices in accessing books and other sources of knowledge. We look forward to seeing the conference set the tone for the beginning of a new phase of development in libraries around the world, and especially in the Arab region,” he added.

The proceedings on the concluding day of the 8th edition of SILC commenced with a keynote address by Patty Wong, President of ALA and Director of Santa Monica Public Library, California, USA, who called for a flexible and adaptive approach to accelerate the shift to current realities.

Thought leaders enhance professional excellence

Over a two-day period, the annual conference discussed new trends and updates in technologies impacting libraries worldwide and facilitated opportunities to engage with thought leaders and experts in related fields.

Michael Stöpel, User Services Librarian for the American University of Paris, highlighted effective approaches to boosting cooperation in ‘Faculty-Librarian Collaborations: Integrating the Information Literacy Framework into Disciplinary Courses’, while Kadijah Ali Al-Saeed, School Librarian, Nadeen International School, Bahrain, offered unique perspectives on ‘Creating Globally Aware Students to Face the Challenges Ahead’.

Highlighting the practical experience of the Irtha Library in Saudi Arabia, Mohamed Ahmed who leads the Technical Services at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture at Ithra Library, led a discussion on ‘Public e-Library Challenges and Initiatives’ while Rebecca L. Mugridge, Dean of University Libraries, University at Albany, New York, spotlighted successful initiatives in ‘Telling the Technical Services Story: Communicating Value’.

Salma Alrezaiqi, Branch Libraries Manager, Abu Dhabi Department for Culture and Tourism, and Juma Al Dhaheri, Manager Zayed Central Library in Al Ain, Department of Culture and Tourism, discussed proactive approaches and the importance of how ‘Strategic Partnerships Move Libraries Forward’; and Julius Jefferson, Jr., Immediate Past-President, ALA, shared his views on ‘Government Libraries – Vital Resources’.

The conference concluded with a co-presentation on the procedures and tools for ‘Digitising Your Valuable Collections for the World: Creating, Teaching, and Promoting Heritage and Community Collections’. The session was led by Amed Demirhan, General Manager/Director of the Barzani National Memorial Erbil, Kurdistan Federal Region, Iraq, and Ryder Kouba, Librarian and Archivist, American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR), Amman, Jordan.


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