Sharjah International Library Conference Transforms to Virtual Forum for November

It is critical that libraries and librarians continue to connect and share during these unprecedented times. Libraries and librarians are needed more than ever to support their communities across the globe struggling to manage and move forward in the time of COVID 19 and beyond. The pandemic has challenged library directors, managers, and staff to manage crisis, create new services, and develop and enhance skill sets while maintaining health and well-being.

Though the situation in the United Arab Emirates is good, due to the global rise of cases and travel restrictions the 7th Sharjah International Library Conference is being postponed until May 2021, and will be held in conjunction with the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival.

The organizers are pivoting to host the Sharjah Virtual Library Forum, November 10-12 which is free to all librarians, library workers and exhibitors around the world who register. The theme remains “Libraries and Librarians Meeting the Challenges in New Normal.” The Forum will be available in English and Arabic.

On November 10th, ALA President Julius C. Jefferson Jr., Acting Director of the Researcher and Reference Services at the Library of Congress will keynote the first day of the live-streamed Forum. President Jefferson’s presentation will be “Meeting the Challenge in Times of Crisis”

Each day, there will be two hours of presentations from librarians from different types of libraries on how they have pivoted or how transformation needs to be taking place now and for beyond the pandemic.

Planned presentations include:
“Leading Staff Responding to the Challenge: Flexibility, Creativity, Reorganization and Wellness Care”- Shaikha Al Muhairi, Director of the Libraries Department, Abu Dhabi Department for Culture and Tourism, UAE

“What happens when a strategy meets a crisis?” - Stuart Hamilton, Head of Libraries Development at the Local Government Management Agency, Ireland

"Staff Development in Time of Covid and Beyond: Challenges & Opportunities" - Heba Mohamed Ismail, Libraries Technical Manager at Egypt's Society for Culture & Development and Secretary of IFLA Continuing professional Development and workplace learning Section (CPDWL)

“Do's and Don'ts for Successful Risk Management in Libraries" - Emad Saleh, Professor, Information Science Dept., Helwan University, Cairo, Egypt. Vice president of the Arab Federation for Libraries & Information. Former director of Egyptian National Library

“How to Keep Students Engaged” - Amanda Gintaut, Teacher-Librarian, GEMS Dubai American Academy, UAE “Expanding School Librarians Role in Virtual Learning” - Saeed Khalid, Librarian, Ibn Khuldoon National School, Bahrain All publishers, distributors, and library service providers who want to reach a global library audience, are also welcomed to register free of charge to showcase their books, catalogs and online services. Both librarians and exhibitors will have the opportunity to message each other and to set up virtual meetings.

Registration is free for librarians, library workers, and exhibitors for the Sharjah Virtual International Library Forum through December 2020. Librarians and exhibitors can register at

The Sharjah International Library Conference and the Sharjah Virtual International Library Forum are collaborations between the American Library Association (ALA), the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) and the Combined Book Exhibit.

For information about library registration, contact ALA at [email protected]

For information about exhibiting virtually, contact Janet Fritsch, [email protected] or Jon Malinowski, [email protected]


  • What a great conference. It was really inspiring. Memorable experience!
  • Great interaction with librarians from other countries, and quality sessions with brilliant ideas to make our library much more valuable and offer better services.
  • It's a spectacular achievement for SIBF to become partners and I am sure that will help in enhancing librarians’ skills in the Arab countries.
  • It was an opportunity to meet other librarians. Good networking opportunities!
  • The best part was the practices shared by librarians from their [own] libraries.
  • It united all LIBRARIANS together. "The welcoming environment and speaker's in-depth knowledge on the topics."
  • "Everything was good I have got many new things which are very useful in my library, and also I improve my skills as a librarian. I shared the ideas with the teachers as well."
  • "I attended the conference since its inception in 2014 till now and I am always keen to attend the annual conference because it is a specialized scientific demonstration, it brings together librarians from all over the world and we always benefit from it by knowing everything new that happens at any library in the world."
  • "The research presented in the conference was good and varied."
  • "My first great experience at this conference."

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