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Sunday 17 July ,2022

The National Library and Archives derives the best standards and practices for the UAE National Library From UK, Egypt and Singapore.

The National Library and Archives derives the best standards and practices for the UAE National Library From UK, Egypt and Singapore.

The National Library and Archives concluded a tour of the world’s largest, most famous and distinguished libraries in UK, Singapore and the Arab Republic of Egypt, with the aim of starting from where others ended up, and getting acquainted with and benefiting from the best adopted practices and standards for the projected UAE National Library, which is to be established and equipped as a national reference and a cultural hub and an information center that preserves the UAE heritage, and reflects its scientific and civilizational development.
The National Library and Archives’ delegation headed by His Excellency Abdulla Majid Al Ali, Acting Director General, began the tour of the UK major libraries with a visit to the Library of Birmingham, being UK’s largest public library with a prominent position among the world’s distinguished libraries. It consists of 41 floors, and annually attracts three million visitors. The delegation members were briefed on the best adopted practices, policies and strategies, and on the digital infrastructure, they greatly benefited from the advanced experiences and distinctive mechanisms and regulations.
The delegation visited the Library of Birmingham, the Children's Center and Music Library, the Business and Learning Centre, the circulation and Reference Libraries, Shakespeare’s Room and the indoor and outdoor cafes.
The Library of Birmingham is distinguished by its environment-friendly building with a distinctive exterior that matches Birmingham’s industrial characteristic feature, and associated interconnected circular halls that provide natural light and ventilation.
During that official visit to the Library of Birmingham, the National Library and Archives’ delegation met Dawn Beaumont, Head of Library Services at the Library of Birmingham, and member of Birmingham City Council.
The delegation also visited the University of Birmingham’s Library and discussed with both Professor Adam Tickell, Vice Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, and Dr. Tariq Ali, Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor, Strategic Partnerships the role of the University of Birmingham’s Library in providing information sources that benefit researchers, and support curricula, and the library’s key advanced facilities and services. The delegation members also visited the University of Birmingham’s Manuscript Center and were acquainted with the best manuscript restoration and preservation practices, and viewed the oldest manuscript from the Holy Qur’an among other rare manuscripts.
Following that visit to the University of Birmingham, the delegation visited the British Library in London, which is the national library of the United Kingdom, to benefit from its experience and provided services to its various readers, intellectuals, and visitors. The delegation members were received by the library's executive office officials who took them on a tour of the Library’s reading halls, and permanent specialized and art exhibitions. They were also briefed, in the Arabic and Islamic manuscripts section, on the various holdings’ preservation, display and search mechanisms, access regulations, as well as the digital infrastructure, the access and circulation policies and procedures, and the printed and digital book collection’s technical management processes.
The British Library’s importance stems from its distinctive management of its holdings that exceed 150 million items including publications, manuscripts, digital materials, artworks, various multimedia, periodicals, and audio recordings from all over the world, some of which date back two thousand years BC. This library annually attracts more than a million visitors which earned it, along with the American Library of Congress that impressive ranking as the two world’s largest libraries.
 At the end of the tour, the delegation praised the British Library’s rich content and significant role on both local and global levels, being the target destination of senior researchers and librarians from around the world, and expressed its optimism and aspirations that the projected UAE National Library shall immensely benefit from the distinguished British Library experience to provide research requirements and mechanisms for future generations in the UAE and the Arab region.
The delegation visited the Pitt Rivers Museum in London, which has an exclusive agreement with the National Library and Archives, under which it may allow interested researchers access to Wilfred Thesiger, also known as Mubarak bin London’s collection.
And from the United Kingdom to Egypt where the delegation visited the Library of Alexandria, Egypt’s civilizational and cultural beacon, and was received by Dr. Sherif Riad, Head of External Relations and Media Sector. The delegation members toured the library and were briefed on its administrative and organizational structure, inspected its holdings, the Manuscripts and Rare Books Museum including rare documents and collections of books, the Children’s Library, the Antiquities Museum, including antiquities from the old library site, and artifacts dating back to the Byzantine and Pharaonic civilizations, in addition to the Museum of the late President Anwar Sadat.
The Bibliotheca Alexandrina's interest in the people of determination resulted in the establishment of the Taha Hussein Library, which caters to people with visual impairments to provide them with programs that transfer written formats to audio ones. The Library of Alexandria bears witness to the greatness and richness of the Egyptian civilization, history and culture. The Library of Alexandria is one of the most important research centers throughout history. The delegation praised the Bibliotheca Alexandrina - which stands out as a cultural beacon that promotes knowledge and preserves human civilization, in the era of information revolution and communication technologies, and a major Egyptian civilizational project that brings to mind the old library's ancient and distinctive role and experience in preserving and enriching human culture.
Parallelly, another delegation from the National Library and Archives visited Singapore and met Ms. Julia Chee, Director of the National Archives of Singapore and Ms. Jennifer Quang, Deputy Director of the National Library, who briefed the delegation on the library and archive strategies, facilities and services, advanced practices, preservation, access, circulation regulations, that can be employed in the UAE National Library.
It is noteworthy that the Singapore National Library was established in 1845 to support the educational field. It includes a unique digitized cultural wealth from various world countries and cultures including photos, books, manuscripts, maps, audio recordings and films among others. The library, since its establishment, has uninterruptedly met its users’ needs and requirements with a distinguished book circulation system which does not require users to return the borrowed books to the same library from which they borrowed but to their nearest library, or automatically through e-devices especially developed for such purposes in several areas and regions in Singapore.
In the context of this tour, His Excellency Abdulla Majid Al Ali, Acting Director General of the National Library and Archives, said: The vital contemporary role played by the National Library in archiving and preserving the intellectual heritage of the nation establishes it as a book haven, a readers and researchers’ hub, as we witnessed during our visits to the world largest libraries to get acquainted with their adopted best practices and latest standards. The National Library and Archives takes great pride in its holdings of various historical documents and records documenting the memory of the nation, vast and various paper and electronic book collections, and specialized libraries characterized by distinguished and valuable holdings and content - looks forward to establishing a green, environment- friendly National Library with sophisticated, modern, advanced and smart facilities and infrastructure that provide comfortable reading spaces, as well as take into account and cater to users’ needs of facilitated circulation.
His Excellency added: In the United Arab Emirates, we are highly aware of the importance of reading for the dissemination of knowledge, development of societies, and establishing civilizations. Thus, we intend to establish a National Library that matches the world’s largest libraries in its allowing access to information, its design and designated vital and comfortable reading areas, that meet the needs and requirements of its various customers and users. Accordingly, we toured three different countries, namely: the United Kingdom, Egypt, and Singapore - in order to get acquainted with their Libraries’ adopted latest practices and highest standards; to assert the National Library’s great and diverse role.
H.E. added: During the NLA delegation’s visit to the British Library, we focused on its leading experience in its rare sources, references, and distinguished services’ provision mechanisms to customers and users to employ and benefit from such experience in establishing the projected UAE National Library in Abu Dhabi that combines the authenticity of Emirati origin and modernity of employed techniques, means, and systems to provide its customers easy access to its knowledge sources with the aim of disseminating sustainable national, Arab and international knowledge and culture in a pleasurable, comfortable and inspiring atmosphere, while maintaining the National Library’s main and leading functions and characteristics on a local level, and performing its role in the planning, supervision, and control of intellectual production, besides performing its national bibliography duties.
His Excellency also said: The Singapore Library’s great significance reflects its long history and successful experience in its sources and references circulation, digital infrastructure, and relentless endeavors to fully digitize its holdings in various library fields, accordingly, we aim to benefit from such great experience.
His Excellency the Acting Director General of the National Library and Archives concluded that successful experiences can only result from benefiting from others’ experiences, i.e. starting from where others ended up towards a future with rapid development, advancement and progress rather than inventing the wheel from scratch. Similarly, the UAE adopts that strategy as it sets its strategic plans for the next fifty years.