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300 library experts grace SIBF, share insightful views
BY A STAFF REPORTER November 09, 2018
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Sharjah: The fifth annual Sharjah International Book Fair/American Library Association (SIBF/ALA) Library Conference  was held in Sharjah.

The professional development event hosted 300 library experts from 18 countries who are holding discussions over three days to outline the strategic shifts that will define the next generation of library services. 

The conference is one of the main highlights of the book fair, and has held two warm-up sessions focused on the role of school librarians in bringing positive change in society, and shed light on ACRL (Association of College & Research Libraries) framework for information literacy for higher education.  

Ahmed Al Ameri, Chairman of Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) welcomed the attending delegates to the main programme of the fifth edition of the conference, which is the only ALA event organised by the association outside the US.

“It is a pleasure to welcome you all to the fifth annual SIBF/ALA Conference in Sharjah. The continued success of this conference stems from the vision of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, who places great emphasis on the promotion of education and knowledge in society. Education is a pillar of positive change, and libraries are the driving force behind it,” said Al Ameri during his welcoming address.

He added: “The book is not just a storehouse of knowledge. It is a part of our culture and history that needs to be preserved just like our monuments and architecture. Modern technologies are rapidly changing the ways in which we receive and share knowledge. The role of libraries must be changed and preserved too in the light of all the challenges that digitisation has posed before us. This library conference is a platform where we need to discuss how we can do that together and how we can do it effectively.”  

The 2018–19 ALA President, Loida Garcia-Febo’s keynote remarks, titled “Libraries - Strong Communities,” followed where she highlighted libraries as pillars of education and how they are at the intersection of supporting human rights, the efforts that need to be made to strengthen universal access to information.

“This season is fantastic. Just a few weeks ago I was at the European Union Parliament advocating for libraries, and today I am here conversing with you, library advocates, on my first visit to beautiful Sharjah.

“This is a pivotal time for libraries and the communities we serve. The global information environment is being transformed by new policies, new technologies and renewed focus on the communities served.

“This is certainly a time to re-think and re-imagine the relationship between libraries, librarians, local, and global organisations. Governments, the private sector, civil society, and national and international institutions should make an international commitment to ensure that everyone has access to, understands, and is able to use and share the information that is necessary to enrich their lives.”

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