Two librarians at Qatar National Library (QNL), a member of Qatar Foundation, recently completed a two-year course to improve their librarianship skills and knowledge through the International Network of Emerging Library Innovators-Mena programme (Ineli-Mena).
Abeer Saad al-Kuwari, research and learning director at QNL, and Amal al-Shammari, Information Services librarian at QNL, were selected through a competitive process for the opportunity to become future library and information services leaders.
Participants in the programme attended sessions in Germany and Egypt, where they worked on collaborative projects, identified issues and challenges facing public libraries in the Arab region, learned about the functioning of public libraries in developed countries and discussed the possibility of applying unified Arab standards in public libraries.
The programme also included library visits in Berlin and Hamburg, Germany.
Al-Kuwari’s group’s final project, on establishing a ‘Human Library’, was awarded second place among the programme participants.
“This was a wonderful experience that enabled both of us to establish a lasting professional network with our fellow librarians in the Mena region,” said al-Kuwari. “We also gained important librarianship skills and knowledge, which we will definitely put to use at Qatar National Library, whether in promoting literacy on a local level or helping researchers worldwide to better understand Qatar and the region.”
Throughout the programme, which is an initiative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the pair also took part in a series of training modules where they learned about building successful teams, innovation, risk and change management, conflict resolution, library advocacy, and library development.
“It’s been a pleasure to work with my colleagues over the last two years to improve our professional and leadership skills, as well as promote co-operation between libraries,” said al-Shammari. “QNL aims to be a beacon of learning not only for Qatar, but also for the wider region. An important aspect of that vision is working closely with other institutions to promote knowledge-sharing and best practices.”
Dr Sohair F Wastawy, executive director of QNL, said: “QNL is committed to continuous investment in the professional development of all our staff, and particularly our young librarians, who are embracing the opportunity to strengthen the culture of reading and learning in Qatar. By completing the rigorous Ineli-Mena programme, Abeer and Amal have demonstrated strong professional growth and made connections throughout the region that will enable QNL to continue its role as an active leader in establishing Qatar
as a knowledge hub.”
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