I am ALA International Spotlight-Tharwat El Olimy

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 Tharwat El Olimy, cataloging librarian, United Arab Emirates.

I am ALA-Tharwat El Olimy

Can you tell us about yourself and your work?

I am a cataloging librarian from Egypt. working at the University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, I have over 15 years of experience as a catalog librarian. In my years of experience, I have developed various techniques for best practicing in technical services.

I completed my B.A. in library and formation science with honor degree from Helwan University, in 1999, Egypt. I focused my research on resource description, Identity management, metadata, and classification like Dewey, LC Classification, NLM classification and MeSH, LCSH.

I have focused my education, research and budding career on building, developing, and advocating for exceptional cataloging in libraries. I have an extensive experience in Resource Description and Access (RDA), So I have been nominated by ALA to deliver a workshop on RDA for non-nook materials during the 4th annual Sharjah International Book Fair/ALA Library Conference.

I gained an extensive experience in standards and familiarity with integrated library system such as Virtua, Millennium, Sierra, Koha …etc. in addition, I am an instructor and consultant in cataloging & classification for many librarians in UAE.
I was a speaker in the 25th Special Libraries Association/Arabian Gulf Chapter SLA-AGC, 2019 in Abu Dhabi contributing with Iman Dagher from UCLA library and Joyce Bell from Princeton University library, to discuss Identities Management on the Web and Linked Data.

Why is it important to be a librarian today?

I love being a librarian because I believe that knowledge needs to be organized and shared in the right way more than ever before. librarians are also working hard to archive meaningful data, support innovative in the era of information overload and chaos in the internet. Also, I love being a metadata librarian to use linked data on the web for identity management and facilitate access to right information

I am ALA - Tharwat El Olimy


Tell us three words that describe you.

Knowledgeable. Passionate. Enthusiastic.


How has ALA helped you in your career?

ALA to me is a beacon of inspiration. I often talk about local and global issues, So ALA has helped me on both the local and global level. On a local level, yearly, I have attended the ALA/Sharjah International Library Conference and delivered a workshop on the new standard in cataloging and metadata standard (RDA). On the global level I got a grant to attend IFLA WLIC in Columbus, Ohio in 2016. I have learned a lot and developed my skills from my ALA colleagues across the country. I have gained significant experience in international collaboration and developed leadership knowledge and skills, which critically contribute to my career.



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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