The 48th Metropolitan Libraries (MetLib) Conference, hosted by Qatar National Library (QNL), opened at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) in Doha.
Under the overarching theme of ‘Pearls In The Desert: Unleashing Potential’, QNL, a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), welcomed international delegates to the conference, which is being held for the first time in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
The opening ceremony was attended by Mr Fahad Al Qahtani, President of Community Development at Qatar Foundation. Additionally, international dignitaries including Mr Kamel Al Abdul Jalil, General Manager of the National Library of Kuwait, Dr Mansoor Sarhan, Director of Bahrain’s National Library at the Isa Cultural Centre, and Professor Rem Koolhaas, world-renowned architect and the designer of QNL’s iconic building, were also in attendance.
MetLib 2016 Qatar aims to explore vital topics related to librarianship through a series of insightful presentations and discussions. Areas of focus include furthering innovation in library services, enhancing community learning, developing the future through children and teen services, and the importance of building partnerships for the continued development of the information services sector. The conference features 17 expert presentations by seasoned library and information services professionals from Qatar, Europe, USA and Asia.
In her opening remarks, QNL’s Project Director, Dr Claudia Lux, said:
We are honoured that Qatar National Library has been chosen to host MetLib 2016 Qatar. It presents an extraordinary opportunity for the region’s information service industry and its progress towards nurturing innovation and creativity. This conference serves as an important platform for public and metropolitan libraries from around the world to exchange ideas, share knowledge and address key challenges facing the industry today.’
Dr Lux continued:
The library and information services industry is undergoing tremendous change, and with change comes opportunities. Libraries should start providing professional development opportunities for their staff to fully unlock their potential towards better serving and developing their communities.’
In addition to numerous informative sessions and presentations over the next few days, delegates will visit local libraries and various institutions to learn more about the astonishing progress that Qatar’s information services sector has made. Attendees will also visit iconic cultural and heritage destinations including Al Zubarah, the Museum of Islamic Art ,Souq Waqif and Al Khor Dhow Harbor.
Engineer Saadi Al Said, Director of Administration and Planning at QNL, said: “Qatar National Library hosting MetLib 2016 Qatar is a true indication of Qatar and the wider region’s desire and ability to become a key contributor to the global information services industry. MetLib 2016 Qatar is fully aligned with the nation’s commitment to develop a state-of-the-art library sector that offers innovative services to the local population.”
Al Said concluded:
For the first time in the history of MetLib, we are honoured to welcome colleagues and representatives from libraries in the Gulf region, namely from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait.’
Senior representatives from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), which represents the global voice of the library and information services professions, are also attending the conference.
Mr Corrado Di Tillo, Standing Committee Chair of the Metropolitan Libraries Section in IFLA, said:
Qatar National Library has demonstrated an exceptional delivery of information services and is on its way to becoming a knowledge hub in Qatar and the region. In the conference’s 48 _year history, this is the first time that it is being hosted in the MENA region, where cultural heritage and astonishing futuristic innovation co-exist. MetLib 2016 Qatar marks a very special year for the conference and IFLA, as it expands its global representation, ushering in a new era for libraries in the Middle East.’
As part of the opening ceremony, a well-attended panel discussion highlighting the role of libraries in unleashing potential was held. The session was moderated by Dr Lux and featured seasoned experts, including Dr Hend Al Muftah, Vice President of Administration and Finance at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies and Chairperson of the Establishment Committee for the Library and Information Association of Qatar, Dr Siobhan Reardon, President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia, Dr Theo Kemperman, Director and Board Chair of Rotterdam Public Library, the Netherlands, Professor Rem Koolhaas and Mr Corrado Di Tillo.
Through hosting MetLib 2016 Qatar conference, Qatar National Library supports Qatar Foundation’s aim of unlocking human potential for the benefit of Qatar and the world by fostering a progressive society in line with the nation’s priorities.
Learn more about Qatar National Library online at qnl.qa.
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