King’s Academy, November 14, 2016 – In the fall term, the HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Library established a new co-curricular activity called Friends of the Library. Students meet once a week to train to become professional users of the library and to act as ‘library ambassadors.’
“It started as a casual gathering of like-minded students who, over the past couple of years, have really been involved in the library. So we thought, why not make it official,” said Library Director Huda Abbas.
The students receive extensive training from the school’s librarians on how to use the library’s databases and systems and how to navigate its digital collections and online services. This enables them to train other students to do the same. They also learn vital research skills, such as how to find the information they need, how to document their research and how to include citations – all useful skills for future college coursework.
Friends of the Library has also formed a book club and selected three titles – one in English and two in Arabic – to read and discuss. The group also worked on creative projects such as designing a group logo, making bookmarks and designing bulletin boards and displays according to specific themes.
In addition, Friends of the Library conducted community service activities in cooperation with the Round Square office and The Children’s Library in Madaba that included reading sessions and introducing library and information skills to the local community. The group invited children from Madaba schools to the library where they gave them a tour of the collections and held reading sessions in both Arabic and English.
Friends of the Library is also helping to re-gift books and other resources to the local community, which serves to enrich or establish collections at places such as the King Hussein Medical Center, where the school started a library last year.
“Students have asked us if they can participate in the activities, even though they didn’t sign up for the co-curricular, because they are interested in what we are doing,” said Abbas. “This experience has really had a positive effect on our library staff as well; they are happy to be more involved with students and help them discover the library’s full potential.”