SHARJAH, As the sole representative of the Arab world at the 2023 edition of the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference and Exhibition, the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) has discussed ways to build and strengthen partnerships with global library professionals in order to stay ahead of ongoing transformations, build industry resilience and ensure sustainable growth of libraries in the Arab region and worldwide.
The world’s largest library event, held in Chicago, Illinois recently, was a meeting point for librarians, educators, authors, publishers, trustees, exhibitors, and special guests from around the world to engage and discuss the latest trends, legislations and policies that are shaping the future of libraries.
The SBA delegation was led by Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, CEO of SBA, who met with Tracie D. Hall, Executive Director of ALA, to discuss ways to enhance the synergies and collaboration between the Authority and ALA. Amongst these discussions, the most important one was on the overarching strategy for the organisation of the upcoming 10th edition of the Sharjah International Library Conference, held annually in collaboration with ALA, which will be organised on the sidelines of the 42nd edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) in November this year.
The international library conference in Sharjah is the only professional event ALA organises outside the US, which testifies to the emirate’s regional and global importance in preserving and propelling the knowledge industry, and in building bridges of constructive communication amongst library professionals around the world.
Al Ameri also met Dr. Carla Hayden, President of the American Library of Congress, to discuss cooperation opportunities and build on the strengths of Sharjah’s position as a renowned knowledge city and its conscious efforts in activating the role of libraries to achieve inclusive sustainable development, in line with the vision of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah. Dr. Hayden praised the emirate’s efforts in representing Arab and Islamic civilization in major internationnal cultural events, as well as its prominent and leading contributions in introducing the world to Arab culture.
Alongside speaking at and attending several conference discussions on topics like library-linked data strategies, entrepreneurship, creating student-ready libraries and building future skills, the SBA delegation also met representatives from leading library services companies like Candlewick Press and Living Popups to engage in key discussions on building futuristic library solutions and innovative resources for librarians to optimise their customer services.
They also met with several participating American and international publishers to explore cooperation opportunities in translation, and reviewed the latest innovations in the library industry and search engines management. The Sharjah delegation also highlighted their ongoing efforts to strengthen the presence of Arabic titles in international markets.
The delegation shed light on the emirate’s initiatives throughout the year, and highlighted to the American publishers how they can participate in SIBF 2023, and Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival. They also introduced the American side to Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone, the first of its kind in the world. For their part, the American publishers expressed their interest to participate in Sharjah Publishers Conference in Sharjah, which positioned SIBF as the ‘world’s largest book fair’ in terms of buying and selling of copyrights for two-years in a row.
Source: Emirates News Agency