School Librarians
Six librarians from the public and private schools in the UAE after receiving the Librarian of the Year Awards in Dubai

Dubai: Six librarians from the public and private sector schools in the UAE have been honoured with the School Librarian of the Year Awards by the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.

The winners were presented with the annual awards organised in association with the Executive Council of Dubai on Wednesday.

Fakhera Saeed Al Mansoury from Al Reyada School for Basic and Secondary Education, Abu Dhabi, Fatimah Al Shehhy from Al Ibtikar Kindergaten, Fujairah and Azza Mohamed from Qatr Al Nada Secondary School, Abu Dhabi won the first three awards for best librarians in the public schools.

Meanwhile, Khaled Qutbi Alhasan from Al Ittihad School C3, Abu Dhabi was honoured with a special recognition.

The winners from the private school libraries are Kristine Kirby from Gems American Academy Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, Jumana Hanoun from Al Kamal American International School, Al Azra, Sharjah and Jericho Diano from Summit International Schools, Abu Dhabi.

Highly-prized awards

The highly-prized awards are presented to recognise those individuals who have shown exceptional commitment in promoting reading for pleasure among their students and in raising academic and literacy standards in the school.

The winners were presented with their awards by Aisha Miran, Assistant Secretary General for Strategy Management and Governance of the Executive Council of Dubai, and Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and trustee of Emirates Literature Foundation.

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“The School Librarian of the Year award is part of a comprehensive strategy to grow generations of educated students with a thirst for research and knowledge,” said Shumous Majid Bin Faris, strategic development advisor at the General Secretariat of Executive Council of Dubai.

“The strategy does this by highlighting the value of culture and knowledge. We also look to these programmes and initiatives that encourage the love of reading among future generations to find new tools that motivates and prepares young people to keep pace with the continuous and rapid changes that we are still facing. This will eventually shape their personalities and serve their interests, thus serving the UAE’s vision,” she said. “Sponsoring the award for the sixth year in a row comes from our continuous support, appreciation, and desire to honour UAE school librarians and their extraordinary efforts in cultivating a spirit of reading among students, elevating education standards in schools”, she added.

Heroic task amid pandemic

Speaking on the occasion, Abulhoul said: “School librarians have had a heroic task since March 2020 in keeping children on track with their reading, enabling them to flourish in all parts of their academic studies.”

“This Award recognises those that have really excelled in these difficult circumstances. We are all indebted to their commitment to their role during these exceptional times and it is wonderful to be able to celebrate them and all the wonderful librarians out there who have made their students’ lives brighter by imparting their love of books.”

More than 95 nominations were submitted from around the country. Finalists were assessed by a panel of judges who visited the shortlisted librarians virtually to make a final assessment. The ceremony included a celebration lunch.