Author Archives: Heba Ismail


The International Network of Emerging Library Innovators- Middle East and North Africa (INELI-MENA) was a unique e-training leadership program funded by Global Libraries Initiatives (GL) at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and conducted by the Arab Federation for Libraries and Information (AFLI); INELI-MENA targeted 31 librarians across the MENA region.

Upon the success of the program, and with the support of AFLI; our innovators took upon themselves to build national networks in their countries in order to deliver what they learned during the training program to their colleagues. National networks were established in Egypt; Sudan, Libya; Tunisia, Palestine from 2018-2021.

As part of AFLI’s role in sustaining INELI-MENA and the national networks, AFLI thought of gathering all the innovators from both INELI-MENA and the national networks in one e-training program entitled SEEDS (Staff E-training on Emerging technology & Developed Services)

The e-training course focused on Emerging Technology and started in Jan. 14th till Mar. 6th 2023. A call was sent to all innovators, 41 applied to join the course, 29 innovators succeeded to finish the course and obtained their certificates, the other couldn’t make it due to their to wok and families’ responsibilities

The course included the following topics: introduction to emerging technologies; emerging technology in libraries, Big Data; Artificial Intelligence; Virtual Reality (VR) & Augmented Reality (AR) -participants were asked to work in teams to complete an action plan to benefit from VR & AR applications in their libraries-; Internet of Things (IOT), and concluded with feedback from the trainees which was very positive, as the skills acquired in this training have direct application to the needs of public libraries in the MENA regions.

Topics of the modules were prepared by Professor Emad Saleh, Head of Librarianship Department, Faculty of Arts, Helwan University. Thanks to INELI-MENA innovators who helped in mentoring the program with me Ruqiya Hussain Hassan (United Arab Emirates); Badiaa Rahmoni (Morocco); Doaa Abdallah & Mustafa Tuhami (Egypt).

It is worth mentioning that AFLI was the 2022 winner of the prestigious EBSCO Information Services Library Staff Development Award for implementing SEEDS program. The award is presented annually to a library organization whose application demonstrates the greatest merit for a program of staff development designed to further the goals and objectives of the library organization.

Photo of the participants from the online graduation Ceremony


AFLI – IFLA CPDWL “Innovation course grant”

Innovations are critical for public libraries. Many libraries have developed and implemented innovative programs and projects that demonstrate their enthusiasm for the ever-changing services they provide to meet the demands of today’s world. This was especially obvious during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This e-training program will be conducted in partnership between Arab Federation for Libraries and Information (AFLI) & IFLA Continuing Professional Development and workplace learning Section (CPDWL),

Course objectives:

  1. Develop outstanding future innovative librarians in public libraries worldwide, which will effect in improving the standard and services of public libraries.
  2. Connecting librarians worldwide through e-training courses.

Program Description:

Module 1: Getting Started:

This module includes four topics that will help participants to become familiar with navigating in Moodle and using Moodle tools and resources.

Module 2: Innovation

This module includes eight topics that will help participants mastering innovation and implementing innovative ideas in their public libraries.

Through the program, the participants will work in teams – through the online learning environment – to produce a new innovative service /program and implement it in their public libraries.

Eligibility Criteria

The selection of participants is determined according to the following criteria:

  1. The applicant must be a member of his/her national library association, IFLA or AFLI.
  2. Priority is given to applicants from qualifying developing countries (see list of Qualifying Countries: World Bank)
  3. The applicant must be under 40 years old.
  4. Those who enrolled in INELI and regional INELI networks programs are not eligible to apply.
  5. Applicants should work in a public library and have at least 5 years of experience working within public libraries. Receiving training in the program is linked to the participant’s continuing work in the public libraries.
  6. The applicant should have the technical abilities to participate in an online course: computer skills & high-speed internet connection are both required.
  7. The applicant must have the ability to allocate additional time outside normal working hours to fully participate in the activities of the training program.
  8. The applicant should have the ability to present innovative ideas, which would contribute to the development of services and programs provided in the library.

How to apply?

Applications should be submitted in English language through

Attach a single PDF file merging the following documents:

  • Curriculum vitae(one page max);
  • Proof of membership of national library association or IFLA or AFLI (i.e. copy of membership card, letter from the association etc.);

You must have a Google account to submit your form and attached file

Important dates:

Submission deadline is 20 February 2022.

Successful candidates will be notified by the end of March 2022.


AFLI release “Arab Libraries Dealing with the Corona Pandemic” book

The Arab Federation for Libraries and Information (AFLI) announced recently the launching of its new book entitled “Arab Libraries Dealing with the Corona Pandemic: Arab Experiences”.

The book was issued on the occasion of the “Arab Library Day 2021” to gather the efforts of libraries and institutions that show how the Arab libraries interact & provide their services to the beneficiaries to ensure the continuation of their services during the pandemic, and to document the repercussions and lessons learned during this period.

The book is available in Arabic language on  AFLI website at:

The book discusses the following topics:

  1. Arab libraries and their experiences during the Corona pandemic: case studies; how the library dealt with the pandemic, plans, lessons learned, services, future plans.
  2. Arab libraries and future plans to deal with unexpected crises
  3. Crisis management and activating its role in Arab libraries and information institutions.
  4. The technical and physical infrastructure of Arab libraries of all kinds and their readiness to serve their beneficiaries in light of unexpected crises
  5. Library and information specialists and how to perform their tasks in light of the pandemic: reality and challenges

Cover of the book

This book aims to clarify:

  • The Arab contribution to documenting the efforts of Arab libraries of all kinds, as well as their professionals, in dealing with the unprecedented Corona pandemic.
  • Uncovering the ways and mechanisms of participation/contribution of various Arab libraries with this pandemic and its unusual repercussions.
  • Shedding light on the methodologies for adapting Arab libraries to this circumstance.
  • Standing on the contribution of Arab libraries to raising awareness of ways to prevent infection and the spread of the epidemic.
  • Shedding light on the most important types of information services and activities provided by Arab libraries during the pandemic since its inception until today.
  • Show the readiness of Arab libraries, with their technical infrastructure, and their material and human capabilities, for such unprecedented crisis.
  • To identify how Arab libraries have responded to the changes required to deal with this pandemic.

It is worth mentioning that the contributors of the book are:

Algeria (Algeria National Library; Faculty of economic and business sciences, management Library at Batna University; Public library “Mohamed Hammouda bin Saei” in Batna state);

Egypt (Bibliotheca Alexandrina; Misr Public Library; Egypt’s Society for Culture and Development);

Iraq (Iraq National Library and Archive);

Jordan (Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation library).

Oman (Main Library at Sultan Qaboos University; Learning Resource Center at Saeed Bin Jubair primary School).

Palestine (Library of Dar Al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture Library; Nablus Municipality Public Libraries).

Saudi Arabia (King Saud University Libraries; Deanship of Library Affairs at King Abdulaziz University).

Sudan (The Sudanese National Library).

United Arab Emirates (Sharjah Public Libraries).

The book also demonstrated a model for the YouTube channel dedicated to librarians and its impact on society.

The book concluded the experiments presented with the lessons learned and a guideline for opening libraries after the COVID- 19 pandemic.

Participants announced for the Regional AFLI Project for professionals’ excellence in university libraries

The Arab Federation for Libraries and Information (AFLI) announced earlier this month participants accepted in the training program entitled “AFLI Regional project for professionals’ excellence in university libraries”.

The program seeks to achieve the following outcomes:

  1. Developing skills of library specialists from university libraries in the Arab countries.
  2. Increasing awareness of the importance and role of university libraries in education and scientific research.
  3. Implementing joint or cooperative projects aimed at serving and developing university libraries.
  4. Involving civil society in implementing the sustainable development goals and promoting them through project implementation.

Sixty-two participants from 13 Arab countries were selected according to the criteria announced at AFLI website earlier this year (Egypt; Sudan; Libya; Tunisia; Algeria; Morocco; Palestine; Jordan Lebanon; Saudi Arabia; Iraq; Oman and Yemen).

The Regional AFLI Program for professionals’ excellence in university libraries will be held from mid-June until October 2021. Librarians will be trained on Data management; Change Management; Libraries and Development: (USDs) using Moodle -the open source e-learning system- to provide the participants with the educational modules.

Number of lectures, workshops and webinars will be conducted during the specific period on knowledge management; modern forms of scholarly communication; open access; performance indicators; AFLI unified standard for university libraries; recent trends in services; modern technologies in libraries.

It is worth mentioning that the regional program will be conducting in partnership with the Bahrain Library and Information Association; Tunisian Federation of University Libraries; Associations of Algerian libraries and information; Saudi Libraries and Information Association; Sudanese Association of Libraries and Information ; Iraqi Association for Information, Libraries and Documentation Specialists; Omani Library Association; Library and Information Association in Qatar; The Palestinian Library and Information Association; Library & Information Association of Kuwait; Libya Library Association;  Egyptian Library Association; The General Authority for Book, Publishing and Distribution in the Republic of Yemen; The Deanship of Library Affairs at Jazan University; and the Saudi Digital Library (SDL).



SILL: leadership training program for Public librarians

Strengthening Innovative Library Leaders (SILL) is a freely foundational leadership training curriculum designed to build leadership and innovation skills for anyone who works in a public library. The training was developed at the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs in partnership with librarians around the world from Armenia, Bhutan, Haiti, India, Myanmar, Namibia, and Nepal[1]. The project is funded by the Global Libraries Program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation[2].

SILL was developed to be used by trainers with different levels of training experience and familiarity with the topic. It is also designed to be easily adapted to the local library context and translated into different languages.

The training is divided into 4 interactive modules focusing on Leadership, Innovation, Planning, and Communication, The learning modules are:

1. Leadership Styles for Librarians

This module will define the concept of “leadership” and introduce Goleman’s 6 styles of leadership.

2. Library Leaders as Innovators

This module will introduce library innovation trends, approaches, and strategies.

  3. Library Leaders with a Plan

This module will outline how to create realistic goals and plans

4. Library Leaders as Communicators

Participants will learn about the 4 communication styles and identify the style they use most often. They will also practice communicating with different styles in a work setting.


Photo from SILL website

In addition, the training components emphasis on less formal lecture and more focus on group activities and discussions, the components include:

Icebreakers; leaning activities; minis lectures; problem-solving activities; individual handouts and team summaries

In order to start training you should begin by reading the “Getting Started with SILL” guide, which contains all of the information you will need.

This is indeed one of the amazing resources that really deserve to be highlighted and worth seeing as it offers free training program on leadership for all librarians





AFLI held its first virtual forum on the role of libraries in supporting E-learning and distance education

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has gone through the crisis and witnessed many developments, which made remote work and distance learning a reality that pushed many universities, educational institutions, libraries to develop their capabilities to support the e-learning and distance education processes.

Based on the belief of the Arab Federation for Libraries and Information (AFLI) regarding this subject, AFLI held its first virtual forum entitled “The role of libraries in supporting e-learning and distance education” from 23-23 Jul. 2020

The forum focused on the following themes:

  1. Mechanisms and components of enhancing the role of libraries in e-learning and distance education
  2. Library services and innovative practices supporting e-learning and distance education
  3. Integration of library systems, e-learning management systems, and distance education platforms.
  4. Libraries, virtual learning groups, and cooperative learning platforms.
  5. Experiences and case studies for distance education in libraries and information field.
  6. Libraries’ policies and strategies to support national strategies for e-learning and distance education.
  7. Measuring the impact and the return on investment of library services in supporting e-learning and distance education

IFLA President Christine Mackenzie during her speech

After welcoming the Library professionals and academic from different Library Sector by Prof. Hassan Alsereihy, President of the Arab Federation for Libraries & Information, IFLA President Christine Mackenzie gave the opening speech entitled “IFLA: Adjusting to a New Normal”, where she spoke about IFLA strategy & IFLA Governance review, she also focused on IFLA program and initiatives especially during the pandemic.

During his speech, Michael Dowling, Director of International Relations at the American Library Association provided a presentation entitled ” ALA: Responding to Help Libraries in a Time of Crises and Opportunity” where he gave an overview of how the American Library Association has and is responding to help in this time of crisis, but also a time of opportunity.


It’s worth mentioning that more than 32 speakers presented their research during the virtual forum, from different Arab countries like Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait and Egypt.

This summary below shows the success of AFLI virtual forum


Forum statistics


Day one

Day two

No. of attendees



Facebook (Live Broadcast)



Twitter (accounts followed the events)



Turn the page and start advocating for your library

In 2011, I was one of the librarians who enrolled in e-training course entitled: Turning the page 2.0. It was originally developed in 2007 by the Public Library Association (PLA) in the USA in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Turning the page is one of the great courses in advocacy, which I highly recommend if you intend to conduct a training on advocacy at your library.

Turning the Page: Supporting Libraries, Strengthening Communities! Is an advocacy training for librarians and public libraries. The training curriculum -as mentioned in the website- was designed for the public library community – librarians, library directors, library staff, and partners – to help effectively advocate for funding, policies, and other support that will allow libraries to continue to meet the needs of their communities.

The curriculum contains 15 training sessions’; the website identified five sessions as “core” sessions based on your needs, – rather, than the full 15- that are essential to any training.

  1. Introduction
  2. Value of the Public Library (Core)
  3. Defining Advocacy (Core)
  4. Developing Your Advocacy Goal (Core)
  5. Identifying Target Audiences (Core)
  6. Using Library Perception Information and Impact Data
  7. Creating Library Advocacy Messages (Core)
  8. Creating a Library Story
  9. Telling Your Library Story
  10. Effective Presentations
  11. Media Planning and Outreach
  12. Social Media and Advocacy
  13. Making a Library Funding or Policy Request
  14. Building and Sustaining Library Partnerships
  15. Putting Advocacy Plans into Practice

Although the curriculum and the other resources on this website are, free to use and to share, but you are requested to review the licensing agreement and to attribute the curriculum before using. To find more about this course please visit: