I am ALA INTERNATIONAL SPOTLIGHT is one of several new initiatives by ALA President 2018-2019 Loida Garcia-Febo to expand ALA’s global presence. By highlighting and recognizing talented international members from different regions around the world, ALA is truly a global association with a strong mission in supporting library workers and advocates. Each month, I am ALA INTERNATIONAL SPOTLIGHT will feature a new international member who will share how ALA has supported their work and how they see the profession today. This month, we feature Ahmad Ali Shah, Associate University Librarian, University of Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan.
Can you tell us about yourself and your work?
Hailing from a remote mountainous village of Gilgit-Baltistan (A disputed region). according to UN resolutions. Speaking a dying & isolated language Brushaski which is not spoken anywhere in the world, in addition to it I can speak 2 other local dialects Shina and Khowar and can also speak Urdu and English. I managed to get university education despite many barriers (financial and societal). Got my B.Sc with Chemistry, Biology & MLIS from University of Karachi. Started my career as a reference librarian at a medical library in Karachi Pakistan and worked as librarian in School, Business, Academic and medical libraries for almost 13 years, in 2017 I moved to Kyrgyzstan to join University of Asia as a campus librarian. after a year I became associate university librarian and got an opportunity to participate in the Mortenson Associate's Program 2019 at University of Illinois which gave me an unforgettable opportunity to visit prominent academic, university and public librarian of Chicago, Springfield, Ohio etc. Now I am aiming at even more exciting opportunities through professional association and my University which is a newly founded unique university with 3 planned campuses in 3 different countries under one chartered signed by UN and 3 Central Asian States.
Why is it important to be a librarian today?
Having and knowing that "you have" is two different things. librarian is a person who know how information is created, managed and preserved and how to access it, analyze it and make it available to the right person at a right time. recall Ranganathan's Rules. Yes we have abundance of information on internet and can access with IT tools but still curating information and making academician's & researcher's lives easy by mediating between user and information is very important in today's world and thus Librarian becomes an important person. as it is said that "Google can bring you 1000s of answer but librarian brings the right one".
Tell us three words that describe you.
Ambitious, kind, optimist
How has ALA helped you in your career?
I am a frequent reader of ALA resources and it helped me a lot in my professional understanding of librarianship, I go through again and again the standards for libraries in higher education to keep the track of my work whether I am in a right direction. the membership of ALA enables me to connect with lot of professionals with different backgrounds and I take it as my strength. I also register my staff for ALA certificate trainings on cataloging and metadata it enables my staff to improve their skill ultimately benefits me as well as a team member.
Are you an ALA international member? We want to recognize ALA’s international members; they are important to us. To be considered for the ALA International Member Spotlight, please fill out this short questionnaire.
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