400 librarians and industry professionals from 39 countries will convene at SIBF/ALA Library Conference 2020


Sharjah, November 7, 2020

Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) is curating the seventh edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair/American Library Association (ALA) Library Conference (SIBF/ALA), to be held virtually from November 10 – 12 on the Zoom platform. The event will take place on the sidelines of the ongoing Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) 2020, and see the participation of more than 400 librarians, archivists and industry professionals from 39 countries.

Themed ‘Libraries and Librarians Meeting the Challenges in the New Normal’, the conference will be a platform for experts to discuss the challenges as well as opportunities that face libraries in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak and to share best practices.


On November 10, the conference will kick off with a welcome speech by HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA, followed by an opening keynote titled ‘Meeting the Challenge in Times of Crisis’, by Julius C. Jefferson Jr., President of ALA and Acting Director of the Researcher and Reference Services at the Library of Congress.

Three-day schedule: Day 1

The virtual forum will host six sessions. The inaugural discussion titled ‘Leading Staff Responding to the Challenge: Flexibility, Creativity, Reorganisation and Wellness Care’ will see Shaikha Mohamed Almehairi, Director of the Libraries Department (LD), Abu Dhabi Department for Culture and Tourism, shine light on the challenges that libraries faced in the initial days of the pandemic, and offer insights into how the department reorganised and relaunched its programmes to meet the changing needs of community.

The second discussion, themed ‘What happens when a strategy meets a crisis?’, will be presented by Stuart Hamilton, Head of Libraries Development at the Local Government Management Agency, Ireland. It will explore the role of libraries in promoting information freedom, and share specifically the success Ireland’s libraries achieved across the country due to the concerted efforts of the local and central governments.

Day 2

On the second day, November 11, the virtual conference will resume with a presentation by Dr. Heba Mohamed Ismail, Libraries Technical Manager at Egypt’s Society for Culture. Titled ‘Staff Development in Time of COVID and Beyond: Challenges & Opportunities’, it will cover best practices in continuing professional development and new opportunities available for librarians to advance their careers.

The second session of the day is titled ‘Do’s and Don’ts for Successful Risk Management in Libraries’. Emad Saleh, Professor at Information Science Department, Helwan University, Cairo, and Vice President of the Arab Federation for Libraries & Information in Egypt, will offer actionable insights into what practices librarians can adopt to assess, interpret and manage potential risks, both quantitatively and qualitatively .

Day 3

The discussions on November 12 will begin with Amanda Gintaut, Teacher-Librarian, Dubai American Academy speaking on how to enhance communication with students, enhance collaboration with teachers through lesson planning and making the most of school resources in a session titled, ‘How to Keep Students Engaged’.

The next presentation will be led by school librarian, Saeed Khalid, Librarian, National School, Bahrain. Themed ‘Expanding School Librarians Role in Virtual Learning’, Saeed’s presentation will focus on the significant role of librarians in virtual learning, will highlight the importance of supporting and coaching teachers and students according to their needs, and introduce virtual library applications.

Registration is free for librarians, library workers, and exhibitors, and can be done at sibfala.com. The Forum presentations will be provided in English and Arabic language options. Registrants will also have access to recording of the Forum until December 31, 2020.

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