Second edition of National Libraries Summit explores strategic measures to advance the sector at SIBF 2022
Organised by Sharjah Book Authority, two-day summit is being held in conjunction with the ongoing 41st Sharjah International Book Fair
Sharjah, November 06, 2022
The second edition of the two-day National Libraries Summit, organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) in partnership with the American Library Association (ALA), kicked off today (Sunday) bringing together an international group of librarians and experts representing various libraries in the US and countries around the world to exchange visions and expertise, and deliberate solutions to overcome challenges facing the sector.
The two-day summit is organised in collaboration with IFLA’s National Libraries Section and the Arab Federation for Libraries and Information (AFLI).
Beacons of knowledge
In his keynote speech, HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA, said: “Since the dawn of time, libraries have served as beacons of knowledge. However, when we talk about national libraries, their roles and responsibilities are doubled and central to the growth of society, and therefore, the second edition of this summit was launched to deliberate on key pillars to advance the role of national libraries and provide solutions to challenges facing them.”
The SBA Chairman added: “National libraries have been one of the key pillars of Sharjah’s cultural and developmental project, founded on the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed AlQasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. Over two days, we will discuss strategies and efforts required to ensure that national libraries achieve their goals and missions. We will deliberate on tools and mechanisms to protect copyrights in the digital age and explore partnership opportunities to develop and advance the operations of national libraries.”
Al Ameri pointed out that SBA believes in investing in public libraries because it directly impacts the creative industries around the world and enables communities to advance and forge brighter futures.
Bolster role of libraries
For her part, Liisa Savolainen, Deputy Director, National Library of Finland and Chair of IFLA National Libraries Section, said: “I’m happy to be here in this international cultural gathering. We have several programmes and goals that we want to share and explore to advance national libraries in line with the best global standards and practices.”
She added: “It is vital that we come together and unify our efforts to advance our operations and bolster the role of libraries in our communities, especially at a time of significant challenges. I’m confident this summit will be full of successful experiences we can all share together.”
Hassan Alsereihy, President, Arab Federation for Librarians and Information (AFLI), said: “This summit provides a unique opportunity to deliberate on critical issues facing the sector. We hope to build on the success of the outcomes in the inaugural edition with the increased number of participants in this edition.”
He noted that AFLI issued the Arab Standard for National Libraries in cooperation with the UAE National Library and Archives, which is considered a great milestone in the development of mechanisms and systems of national libraries.
Two sessions on Day 1
The summit included two sessions on the inaugural day. The first, under the title ‘Strategy and Staffing for Success’ brought together Ng Cher Pong, CEO, National Library Board, Singapore; Lisa Savolainen, Deputy Director, National Library of Finland and Chair of IFLA National Libraries Section.
During the session, Pong briefed participants on the National Library Board in Singapore, and the changes incorporated during the pandemic. He also touched upon how the right hiring strategies can usher change and transformation in addition to upskilling human resources in libraries.
For her part, Savolainen briefed participants on the National Library of Finland, and discussed the role of leadership, technology and agile solutions in creating the necessary change and advancement.
Following the first session, a series of networking sessions were organised. Participants shared their experiences and visions to solve the top challenges impacting national libraries, especially the post-pandemic and digital transformation challenges.
Under the title ‘Legal Deposit and Copyright in the Digital Age’, the second session brought together Sara Lammens, General Director, Royal Library of Belgium; Lars Ishammar, Deputy National Librarian, National Library of Sweden; and Dr. Mina Ramzy, Head of the Egyptian National Library, Egypt.
Panellists discussed mechanisms to safeguard intellectual and publishing rights in light of technological advancements and rise of Artificial Intelligence.