Sharjah / Emirates Business
Over 3,100 participants from 137 countries, including the Sharjah Libraries delegation from Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), attended the 82nd IFLA World Library and Information Congress (IFLA WLIC) — the annual flagship conference of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) — held in Columbus, Ohio, USA.
Over the course of its visit, the Sharjah Libraries delegation held a series of successful meetings with Donna Scheeder, President of IFLA, and the co-chairs of the 2016 IFLA US National Committee, paving way for potential collaboration between the two organisations.
The delegation shared its future development plans within the community and extended an invitation to IFLA to attend the upcoming Sharjah International Book Fair in November.
The delegation visited two public libraries including the Columbus Metropolitan Main Library and the Cuyahoga County Public Library, carefully learning about the strategies employed there to serve their customer base. Additional meetings were held with other participating organisations to discuss library services and strategies, and to explore avenues of international collaboration.
Sara Al Marzouqi, Manager of Sharjah Public Library remarked: “Our participation at the IFLA WLIC was a real eye-opener in terms of making our libraries in Sharjah more innovative in the ways they serve the public. Numerous conferences, meetings, library visits and brainstorming sessions have culminated in a renewed mission for Sharjah Libraries to put into place creative strategies that will encourage library usage in the emirate. The various activities and sessions we attended have given us innovative ideas that could be applied in many ways.”
Emphasising the need to be up-to-date with the most recent trends in how library services are provided internationally, and how international collaborations facilitate this process, Al Marzouqi said, “As an information specialist, it is imperative that we establish international contacts to evaluate and improve everyday practices. It is equally important to broaden our horizon by contributing to librarianship in our specific working areas at an international level.”
One of the most important international trade events for the library and information services sector, IFLA WLIC sets the international agenda for the profession and offers opportunities for networking and professional development to all delegates.
Sharjah Public Library was founded by Sheikh Sultan bin Saqr Al Qasimi in 1925 under the name ‘Al Qasimiyah Library.’ Initially established as the ruler’s personal archive, the library’s site has changed several times over the years, relocating from Al Husn (Sharjah Fort) in Bait Al Gharbi, to Sharjah City Municipality, to Africa Hall, to Sharjah Cultural Centre and then to Sharjah University City.
In May 2011, His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, inaugurated the latest incarnation of the facility at the Cultural Palace Square under the title ‘Sharjah Public Library’.