Hunt for UAE’s top school librarian begins

The nomination period kicked off with a full day of workshops for professional development for the librarians, held at Mohammed Bin Rashid Library in Dubai
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Dubai: Emirates Literature Foundation has announced the opening of the annual School Librarian of the Year Award, the search for UAE’s top school librarians.

In its seventh year, the award is given by The General Secretariat of Executive Council of Dubai and Emirates Literature Foundation (ELF) to librarians who have shown exceptional commitment in championing literacy in their schools and sharing their passion for books.

It will be awarded in two categories, school librarians working in public (government) schools and school librarians working in private schools.

This year’s award is now open for nominations and will close on November 16. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in February next year.

“It is our pleasure to continue supporting the School Librarians Award for the tangible impact we have witnessed over the past years in enriching the culture of reading among the students” said Shumous Bin Faris, advisor at the General Secretariat of The Executive Council of Dubai.

“Reading is the most valuable input to gain knowledge in various fields, which enhances the broadening of horizons, empowers generations and arms them with science and knowledge for the future”.

More challenging role

Isobel Abulhoul, OBE, CEO and trustee of ELF said: “With the widespread adaptation of digital technology, and the return of extracurricular [activities] after a long hiatus during the pandemic, students are struggling to make the time to read. The role of librarians in encouraging reading is more important than ever before, not just for the sake of books, but for the proven physical and mental benefits of reading, including stress relief.”

She added: “Our school librarians have risen to the challenge and are finding innovative ways to instil the love of books in pupils and creating the next generation of readers.”

Workshops at MBR Library

The nomination period has been kicked off with a full day of workshops for professional development for the librarians.

This included informational sessions with the ELF Team, a panel hosted by Dr Kristine Stewart, chair of Judges; assistant professor and Information Literacy Coordinator, Zayed University, and the winners of previous School Librarian of the Year Awards. It also had a number of breakout sessions on Wikidata.

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The workshops were held at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library in Dubai.

Ibrahim AlHashemi, member of the board of directors, said: “The Mohammed Bin Rashid Library is not just a house for books, but a space for the community to come together and celebrate their love of literature and to be inspired by the beauty of the physical space and the vast variety of genres that make up the library catalogue. We are happy to partner with the Emirates Literature Foundation on this occasion and in the future as it furthers our shared objective to nurture a love of reading”.


Nominations can be put forward by any individual, including colleagues, headteachers, parents, and students. Self-nominations are also welcome. Librarians will be assessed by a panel of judges through a sifting process and the shortlisted nominees will be visited in their school libraries. All nominees will be offered professional development opportunities.

Eligibility criteria

Librarians who are working with students up to age 18 and are full-time employees in schools in the UAE are eligible for the award. Nominations must be submitted online and can be in either Arabic or English. Shortlisted nominees from both public and private schools will be judged on the library’s role within the school and wider community in line with the criteria given on the website of ELF Dubai.