Complex Made Simple

Latest library trends explored at SIBF and American Library Association Conference

Librarians discuss big data, digital literacy and mobile library concepts and latest tools and techniques at second SIBF/ALA conference

The second edition of the joint conference between Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) and American Library Association (ALA) will be held at Expo Centre from November 10 – 12.

The three day event will host 330 librarians from 18 countries with expert speakers delving into topics of importance for professionals in public, academic and government libraries.

The preconference programme kicks off with a workshop for librarians to learn RDA: Resource Description and Access, conducted by Magda El-Sherbini, Professor and Head of the Collection Description and Access Department, Ohio State University Libraries, Columbus on November 10. Participants will learn how to utilize RDA to describe library materials. The workshop will also focus on cataloging Arabic language materials.

ALA President, Sari Feldman, Executive Director, Cuyahoga County Public Library System (CCPL) will deliver the opening keynote address discussing the topic “Libraries Transform” on November 11 at 10.15 am, preceded by a welcome address from Ahmed Al Ameri, Chairman, Sharjah Book Authority. Experts from libraries across the globe will discuss concepts such as Big Data, Mobile Library, libraries as a cultural hub, linked data practices, digital literacy and LIS development in the region at different sessions during the conference.

Robert H. McDonald, Associate Dean for Library Technologies and the Deputy Director of the Data to Insight Center at Indiana University will speak about the ‘Academic Libraries and Big Data’, where he outlines capabilities that libraries must build in order to support appropriate collection development around research data needs and services. M.O Raghunathan, Head Librarian, The Westminister School, Dubai, will speak on the topic ‘School Libraries as Window to the World’ at a concurrent lecture.

Meanwhile, Ghaleb Masoud, Library Director, Abdul Hameed Shoman Public Library, Amman, Jordan will speak on the topic ‘Library as Cultural Hub and Family Destination and will discuss how literary activities and book clubs can convert libraries into a family destination and make a difference.

The second session will have a panel discussion on ‘ Academic Libraries’ Role in Improving an Institution’s Research Impact’ featuring a panel that includes Mohamed BaEssa, Research Repository Manager, J.K Vijayakumar, Library Collection & Information Services Manager and Daryl Grenz Research Repository Coordinator.

At concurrent lectures Sherry Gick, Library & Instructional Technology Specialist, Rossville Consolidated Schools, Indiana will speak on ‘Connected and Relevant – Teacher Librarians’. She will discuss how librarians can connect to students beyond the walls of a school library. While former Dean of Library at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi and University Librarian Emerita at American University, Washington DC, Patricia A Wand will speak on the topic ‘Can Cold, Hard Data Help us Advocate for Libraries?’ which presents convincing evidence of a link between the number of information centres and scores on the Human Development Index.

Courtney Greene McDonald, Head of the Discovery & Research Services, Indiana University-Bloomington Libraries will speak on efforts needed to create and maintain meaningful mobile library experiences for varied communities. Dr. Hesham Mohamed, Senior Librarian and Emerging Technology Specialist, Queens Library, New York, NY will speak on how public libraries can work with schools and utilise mobile applications to help children with their homework.

Also a panel discussion will discuss the trends of selection and acquisition of Middle Eastern Islamic Study materials with panelists Rashed Abdulrahman Ali, Collection Development and Technical Services Manager at Tourism and Culture Authority-Abu Dhabi, National Library; David Hirsch, Librarian for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, University of California-Los Angeles and Mohamed Ghali Mubarak, Senior Librarian, Faculty of Islamic Studies, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Qatar Foundation, Doha.

On Thursday 12 November, James Neal of University Librarian Emeritus, Colombia University and winner of prestigious awards such as ACRL ‘Academic Librarian of the Year’ and ALA’s Lippincott Award for “distinguished service to the profession of librarianship’ will deliver the keynote address called ‘You can’t Count the Apples in the seeds: Assuring the Vitality and the Relevance of the Academic Library’.

This is followed by concurrent lectures, first by Magda El-Serbini, Head of the Ohio State University Libraries, Collection Description and Access Department, Columbus Ohio, called ‘Linked Data Practices to Improve Resource Discoverability’. The second lecture by Kathy Burnette, Media Center Director at The Stanley Clark School, South Bend, Indiana is called ‘School Librarians = Digital Literacy Teachers’. Burnette will focus on how to teach students to become information literate in a world flooded with many types of information. The third lecture will be delivered by Daphne Flanagan, American University of Sharjah (AUS) Librarian and Alanna Ross, AUS Associate University Librarian for Public Services.

The fifth session of the conference will feature Ed Sanchez, Head, Library Information Technology, Raynor Memorial Libraries Marquette University, Wisconsin, who will discuss how to use Google Analytics, and other tools, to better understand user behavior across library resources. A concurrent lecture delivered by Dr. Salwa Elmeawad, Senior Librarian II and Technology Staff Trainer, Queens Public Library, New York will focus on ‘Technological Advancement and the Need for Corresponding Staff Training’. Also Yakrit Patel, Scientist, Information and Library Network Centre, Infocity, Gujarat, India will deliver a presentation called ‘Management Solutions for Consortium-based Access to E-Resources: The INFED Story from India’.

In the afternoon two panel discussions featuring experts from Middle East and UAE will focus on Library Information System (LIS) development and school library reading initiatives. LIS education in the MENA region remains an important topic for the development of the library profession. Experts at the first panel will discuss the importance of LIS education across MENA, the role of accreditation and quality assurance, and the role of National Libraries. Speakers include Dr. Jassim Mohammed Jirjess, Department Head of LIS, American University in the Emirates, Dubai; Dr. Janet Martin, Moderator, Higher Colleges of Technology, Abu Dhabi; Dr. Lokman Meho, Director University Libraries, American University Beirut, Lebanon; Shaikha Al Muhairi, Head, Cultural Resources Centre Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority; Dr. Frederick Nesta, Senior Lecturer, LIS, University College London – Ar-Ravyan, Qatar and Dr. Sajjad Rehman, Chairman, LIS Department, Kuwait University.

As school libraries are critical to foster the love of reading, the second panel and final programme of the SIBF/ALA joint conference will discuss a number of successful initiatives by various schools. Mohammad Al AHasan of Emirates National School, Al Ain Campus, will talk about the ‘Reading Buddies Program’ and Michelle Wardrip, Head Librarian of The English Modern School, Doha will talk about a successful initiative, the ‘Battle of the Books’. Also Wadha Al Daani of Al Ain Educational Zone, Mohammad Bin Khalid Generations School, will discuss ways to promote reading in the presentation, ‘From assessment to celebration, strategies to promote reading in a primary school in Al Ain’.

There will be a special stand for librarians to explore new products and services as well as library exhibits. There is also a relaxing Librarians’ Lounge open to librarians and educators throughout the Sharjah International Book Fair.