CHICAGO -- The ALA’s largest ever international professional development event wrapped up November 13 in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, where more than 600 librarians gathered on-site at the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) for the first two-day SIBF/ALA Library Conference. Librarians representing UAE, Syria, Afghanistan, Oman, Jordan, Qatar, Malaysia, Bahrain, India, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Nigeria and others joined together for networking and knowledge-sharing.
SIBF Director Ahmed Al-Amiri welcomed the librarians saying, “People in this region love reading and libraries should be used to promote cultural exchange. All libraries across the world need to work together and cooperate.” ALA President Courtney Young’s opening keynote on the transformation of libraries was followed by 15 concurrent sessions on a wide range of topics for all types of libraries, and a Librarians’ Lounge for networking was open before and throughout the event.
The international roster of expert presenters addressed topics including new trends and technologies, information literacy, school libraries as integral to student success, community engagement, innovative spaces and services in academic libraries, implement open-access policies, e-resources and virtual libraries, implementing RDA, rebranding and proving the value of the library, makerspaces, assessment, staff and leadership development and promoting the love of reading. (The full program and the list of presenters are at www.ala.org/sibf.)
Located for maximum visibility in the main lobby of the book fair, the Librarians’ Lounge was sponsored by several companies as well as SIBF. The conference was managed by ALA International Relations Office and ALA marketing, the Sharjah International Book Fair, and Combined Book Exhibit.
During its 10-day run, the 33rd SIBF drew 1.4 million visitors to review and buy books and other materials from 1,256 publishing houses representing 59 countries. On Nov. 11 alone, 46,000 students from 350 local schools visited the fair. 2014 marks the celebration of Sharjah as Capital of Islamic Culture. For more about SIBF, visit www.sharjahbookfair.com/.