Sharjah: Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), opened the 23rd edition of the Sharjah Prize for Library Literature Forum on Wednesday, at the main branch of the Sharjah Public Library (SPL) in the emirate’s Cultural Square.
The SBA Chairperson honoured the winners of the award, which ran under the theme ‘Teaching, Learning, and Libraries: Strategies for Integration, Empowerment, and Exemplary Practices’ and received 30 submissions from 8 countries.
Prior to the opening of the forum, Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi toured the library, lauding the diversity and richness of the collections that feature in its exhaustive sections to cater to readers of different age groups and cultures. The Chairperson was also briefed on SPL’s smart services to offer better and wider community access to enhance learning and research outcomes for students and academics in Sharjah.
New award structure and categories
In her keynote speech, Eman Bushulaibi, Director of SPL, noted that the award aims to promote research and studies in libraries, archival sciences, and information, adding that it raises awareness of the importance of libraries and their role in advancing cultural and research activities.
The director announced a new structure for the award starting next year, which will include two new categories, namely, ‘Best Arab Library and Information Institution’ and ‘Best Project and Practice in a Specialised Field’.
She also revealed that ‘Transition Towards the Green Knowledge Environment’, has been chosen as the theme for the next edition of the award, which will take place in 2024.
Honouring award winners
The forum’s opening ceremony concluded with awarding winners of the Sharjah Library Prize. The first place went to Prof. Dr. Mahmoud Sharif Ahmed Zakaria for his research titled ‘Incorporating Concepts Related to Information Institutions in National Educational Policies: The UAE Education Policy as a Model’.
AI and innovation
Dr. Nahla Mohamed Moussa was announced the 2nd place winner for her research titled ‘Learning Resources in the Academic Library: Roles and Challenges of Artificial Intelligence Components in UAE’s Higher Education Institutions’.
The third place went to Dr. Emad Issa Saleh and Dr. Amani Mohamed El-Sayed for their research titled ‘Makerspaces in Arabic School Libraries and Their Role in Supporting the Educational Process: An Exploratory Study’.
Challenges and solutions
On day 1, Eman Bushulaibi, Director of SPL, moderated an engaging session titled ‘Institutional Publishing: Challenges and Solutions’ that brought together distinguished speakers, including Rashid Mohammed Al Kous, Executive Director of the Emirates Publishers Association; Hamad Al Hamiri, Director Research and Knowledge Services at UAE National Library and Archives; and Mini Bounama, Director of Content and Publishing at the Sharjah Institute for Heritage.
During the session, the speakers addressed various institutional efforts in specialised publishing processes and their contributions to enriching the knowledge sector in relevant fields. They also discussed the relationship between these efforts and the library sector, focusing on two main topics: publishing in government institutions and the role of libraries in enhancing publishing processes and knowledge production.
During the session, the speakers discussed solutions for overcoming publishing challenges while safeguarding the rights of all parties involved. They also presented various institutional efforts in specialised publishing and their contributions to enriching the knowledge sector in relevant fields. They also explored their ties with the library sector through two main axes: Publishing in government institutions and the role of libraries in advancing publishing and knowledge production.
The second session titled ‘Teaching, Learning and the Educational Role of Libraries’ was moderated by Dr. Imad Abdul Aziz Jaballah, Professional Programs and Awards Officer at SPL. It featured presentations by Dr. Mohamed Alzyoodi, Professor at the Mohamed Bin Zayed University for Humanities, and Ayman Othman Al Barout, Secretary-General of the Arab Parliament for the Child.
The speakers highlighted successful experiences in utilising libraries and learning resource centres to advance the processes of education and learning, focusing on cooperative education. The session explored best practices and experiences in this field and the practical implementation of learning resources in education, drawing inspiration from the award’s theme related to teaching, learning, and libraries.