For immediate release | October 27, 2020

Announcing the 2020 Sharjah Virtual International Forum

CHICAGO — The Sharjah International Book Fair and the American Library Association are excited to announce the first Sharjah Virtual International Forum, Nov. 10-12, 2020. As many other conferences have been canceled or moved to an online platform due to the global rise of cases and travel restrictions, the 7th Sharjah International Library Conference is being postponed until May 2021 and will be held in conjunction with the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival.

Libraries and librarians are needed more than ever to support their communities across the globe struggling to manage and move forward in the time of COVID 19 and beyond. The pandemic has challenged library directors, managers, and staff to manage crises, create new services, and develop and enhance skill sets while maintaining health and well-being.

Registration is free for librarians, library workers, and exhibitors who register for the Forum, which will be available in English and Arabic. The Forum and the recording will be available through December 2020.

The theme remains “Libraries and Librarians Meeting the Challenges in New Normal.” Each day, there will be two hours of presentations from librarians from different types of libraries on how they have pivoted or what transformation needs are taking place now and for beyond the pandemic. On Nov. 10, ALA President Julius C. Jefferson Jr. will keynote the first day of the live-streamed Forum. President Jefferson’s presentation will be “Meeting the Challenge in Times of Crisis.”

Additional presentations include:

  • “Leading Staff Responding to the Challenge: Flexibility, Creativity, Reorganization and Wellness Care”- Shaikha Al Muhairi, director of the Libraries Department, Abu Dhabi Department for Culture and Tourism, UAE
  • “What happens when a strategy meets a crisis?” -Stuart Hamilton, head of libraries development at the Local Government Management Agency, Ireland
  • "Staff Development in Time of Covid and Beyond: Challenges & Opportunities" - Heba Mohamed Ismail, libraries technical manager at Egypt's Society for Culture & Development and secretary of IFLA Continuing professional Development and Workplace Learning Section (CPDWL)
  • “Do's and Don'ts for Successful Risk Management in Libraries" - Emad Saleh, professor, Information Science Deptartment, Helwan University, Cairo, Egypt, vice president of the Arab Federation for Libraries & Information, and former director of Egyptian National Library
  • “How to Keep Students Engaged” - Amanda Gintaut, teacher-librarian, GEMS Dubai American Academy, UAE
  • “Expanding School Librarians Role in Virtual Learning” - Saeed Khalid, librarian, Ibn Khuldoon National School, Bahrain

All publishers, distributors, and library service providers who want to reach a global library audience, are also welcomed to register free of charge to showcase their books, catalogs and online services. Both librarians and exhibitors will have the opportunity to message each other and to set up virtual meetings.


The Sharjah International Library Conference and the Sharjah Virtual International Library Forum are collaborations between the American Library Association (ALA), the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), and the Combined Book Exhibit.


Delin Guerra

Program Officer

International Relations Office