Abu Dhabi hosts 21st annual Special Libraries Association conference

ABU DHABI - Abu Dhabi is hosting the 21st Annual Conference of the Special Libraries Association – Arabian Gulf Chapter (SLA – AGC), a three-day conference in which librarians, educators and researchers from around the world meet to discuss the impact of the internet and its increasing influence on knowledge and information provision.

Hosted by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) and held under the theme of “The Internet and the Positive Change to Librarians and Information Professionals: Creating Real Future Impact,” delegates who are actively involved in collecting, organising and disseminating knowledge will discuss a wide range of topics related to the essential need for digital information to build a knowledge-based economy. Notable Arab and foreign researchers will present valuable papers carefully selected by the Paper Review Committee “The SLA – AGC Conference is a qualitative addition to the region’s libraries sector as it invites global experts to exchange their views on the latest developments in this vital sector that is witnessing remarkable technological advancements,” said Abdulla Majed Al Ali Director of Library Management Department at TCA Abu Dhabi.

“TCA Abu Dhabi seeks to keep pace with pioneering technologies across all libraries and publishing areas in line with our efforts to make culture and knowledge part of people’s daily interests through continuous development of public libraries,” added Al Qubaisi.

With the keynote address delivered by Dr Essa Al Bastaki, President of the University of Dubai, and Dr Sherif Kamel Shaheen, Vice Dean for Community Services and Environmental Development, Faculty of Arts, Cairo University, the SLA – AGC Conference will address forty papers over five key sessions.

Crucial topics to be tackled include digital content and smart librarians, entrepreneurship and return of investments in libraries, the unlimited services of mobile phones and cloud computing, the integrated relationships between librarians and publishers, managing the publisher-vendor-library relationships at the rapidly changing workplace, semantic web based information systems and services, the impact of technology on libraries, librarians and information literacy education, web-based applications and smart search engines, the future of the national libraries as intellectual repositories and public institutions as well as the increasing partnerships between Libraries in the Middle East and North America.

“The SLA – AGC Conference topics highlight the Association’s keen interest in keeping up with new technologies in libraries and offering a platform for dialogue, free discussion and the exchange of expertise. Modern technology has become a major source for facilitating how libraries work and presenting a framework for exchanging information via new tools that are easy to handle and update – which is the mission SLA is trying to achieve on the road to a more open and developed future,” said Rashed Abdulrahman, Elected President for SLA – AGC Conference 2015 and Director of Technical Services at the National Library Division- TCA Abu Dhabi.

Three pre-Conference workshops will be held from 14 – 16 March at the Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi, with the first workshop probing the topics of “Habits of Highly Effective Librarians” by Helen Lawrence, and “Social Media and Its Use in Promoting the Library Services” by Houeida K. Sharara. The second workshop examines the issues of “Understanding E-Resources” by Simon Inger and Tracy Gardener and “Patron-Driven Acquisition” by Rick Anderson, while the final session sheds light on “Resource Description and Access (RDA) Cataloguing” by Tharwat Al Ulaymi and “Entrepreneurial Librarian” by researchers Mary Krautter and Mary Beth Lock.

A global, non-profit organisation established in 1909 in the United States, SLA has more than 12-thousand members from 83 countries and is primarily interested in supporting its members and evolving the skills of information specialists and their strategic partners through education, motivation and initiatives that promote networking and intercommunication. The SLA – AGC chapter was founded in 1992, following the initiative of Aramco’s Medical Library employees. Several GCC professionals later signed up for SLA – AGC before the Bahraini Ministry of Information accredited the chapter, which then launched its head office in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

The SLA – AGC annually organises its conference in a different GCC country, and the chapter’s professional members undertake the tasks of management and programme supervision. The UAE had hosted the conference in 1995, 1996, 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2013.
A voting process takes place in the SLA – AGC Conference to identify the next host country and the elected president to be lead the organisational and administrative affairs for next year’s conference. The Conference is concurrent with an exhibition displaying the latest technologies in the fields of libraries, information centres and databases with the participation of 60 international exhibitors.
The SLA – AGC conference and exhibition run from 17 – 19 March 2015 at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr Hotel, Abu Dhabi.