In line with its commitment to deliver future-ready services that meet the full range of information needs of the community, and in line with the Sharjah World Book Capital 2019 celebrations, the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), representing its subsidiary, Sharjah Public Libraries (SPL), has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the UK-based Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP).

HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority and CILIP President Professor Judith Broady-Preston signed the agreement in the presence of Nick Poole, CEO, CILIP; HE Rawdha Al Otaiba, Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of UAE in the UK; Ayub Khan MBE, Chair, working Internationally for Libraries Project; Sue Williamson, Director Libraries, Arts Council England; Marcie Hopkins, Head of International Office, The British Library.

CILIP, a UK-based library and information association, is dedicated to uniting, supporting and advocating for information professionals and librarians.

This landmark agreement, which marks CILIP’s first partnership with a library in the MENA region, will pave the way for effective strategic collaborations in several key areas that will provide mutual benefits for both the entities as well as elevate the services rendered to the library and information community in Sharjah.

Under the newly signed MoA, both the entities will work together to promote best practices in the development of library professional standards and accreditation; exchange ideas and information on related professional conferences; and contribute to the enhancement and development of their respective professional experience and knowledge.

The MoA will also foster cooperation for the advancement of knowledge and access to information as a human right in pursuance of the development agenda of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals that highlights the need to ensure ‘inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all’.

SPL and CILIP have also agreed to discuss and exchange ideas and information on creating and distributing best practice content and exploring potential publishing partnership.

Speaking on the occasion, SBA Chairman HE Ahmed Al Ameri, said: “SPL is delighted to have established a strong partnership with CILIP to fulfil our commitment of providing access to knowledge and learning opportunities and to develop the critical skill of information literacy in our community. This significant collaboration is in line with the vision of HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah, to create a competitive knowledge-based economy underpinned by literacy and access to information.”

He added: “Libraries are a leading and powerful force in developing information literacy as it provides the essential resources for children, youth and adults to facilitate meaningful learning, thereby promoting an inclusive reading culture that helps in the creation of a literate society. Through our international partnerships, Sharjah Public Libraries seeks to adopt best industry practices in the field of library science, identify current shortcomings, and address them to enhance its offerings to the communities it serves.”

“The library sector has significant opportunities to be developed and is a sector that can flourish through such partnerships and cooperation. Libraries are constantly looking to expand their information repositories in a day and age when technological advances can be leveraged beneficially to make people’s access to archives and scientific references easier. SPL has a clear vision perfectly aligned with Sharjah’s cultural project, which has been furthering opportunities for collaboration and joint action between the emirate and knowledge centres around the world,” HE Al Ameri concluded.

CILIP President Professor Judith Broady-Preston commented, “I am proud to be forging this new partnership with Sharjah Public Libraries. The global community of library and information professionals is strong and vibrant, and by learning from and supporting one another today we are ensuring that our profession will continue to be the cornerstone of communities in the future.”

Eman Bushulaibi, Director of Sharjah Public Library said: “Sharjah Public Libraries adopts a straightforward strategy in forging partnerships with different education and knowledge centres worldwide. At the heart of these collaborations lie our ambition to multiply information sources, and also continue on our mission to bring more libraries and scientific institutions as well as their valuable information archives, into our partnership folds. This significant new agreement with CILIP will strongly supplement the academic and professional journeys of readers, scholars and researchers in the UAE and Arab World. This is also a significant step forward in enhancing the knowledge and capabilities of our library professionals in the fields of archiving, indexing and management”.

Across its six branches, Sharjah Public Library supports a diverse range of learners with a broad array of authoritative content across formats as it continues to adopt global best practices to offer a range of comprehensive services for its users.

Source: National Network Communications – NNC