Posted on May 06, 2016

The 48th Metropolitan Libraries Conference (MetLib), hosted by Qatar National Library (QNL), drew to a close recently following six days of dialogue, networking and presentations by delegates from internationally renowned libraries. Held under the overarching theme of “Pearls in the Desert: Unleashing Potential,” the gathering was the first MetLib conference to be held in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.

For the first time, it welcomed representatives from GCC countries, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait. During MetLib 2016 Qatar, QNL and the National Library of Kuwait signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), providing a framework for co-operation between the two institutions in the areas of culture and information. The MoU outlines the transfer of expertise through the exchange of books, visits, collaborative seminars and workshops. 

Kamel al-Abduljaleel, general manager of the National Library of Kuwait, said: “We hold high aspirations that this agreement will advance the library and information services sector in both countries.” Saadi al-Said, director of administration and planning at QNL, said: “Our partnership with the National Library of Kuwait is representative of our collaborative efforts with other institutions in the region.” In addition to placing emphasis on regional collaboration, the need for investment in staff and community development to advance innovation in libraries was highlighted by the Library and Information Association in Qatar (LIA-Q).

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Samia al-Shiba, founding member of LIA-Q and head of Digitisation at QNL, and Abeer al-Kuwari, founding member of LIA-Q and in-charge of QNL’s branch affairs, conducted a presentation titled “The Library and Information Association in Qatar: Roles, Challenges and Future Aspirations.” The LIA-Q comprises representatives from local libraries and aims to disseminate information on the latest trends and developments in the information services sector and its specialisations. 

Throughout the conference, delegates were given the opportunity to engage in knowledge-sharing through a series of informative sessions and discussions on topics such as staff development, innovation in child and teen services, and community learning. In addition to numerous sessions and presentations, delegates visited local libraries and various institutions to learn more about the progress that Qatar’s information services sector has made. Attendees also visited iconic cultural and heritage destinations, including Al Zubarah, Souq Waqif and the Al Khor dhow harbour.  

Addressing delegates in her closing remarks, Dr Claudia Lux, QNL’s project director, said: “Hosting this conference for the first time in the Mena region will no doubt have a positive impact on the development of Qatar and the region’s information services sector.”

source: Gulf Times

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