Amidst rapid societal and technological developments worldwide, the Abdul Hameed Shoman Public Library consistently reflects on the role of public libraries. How can a public library maintain its position as a community centre and a democratic space that welcomes individuals from diverse backgrounds, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, or ideologies?

The library community represents an essential part of its composition and existence. Its job culminates in what it offers to the community, perpetually seeking to be a presence in their lives, providing access to knowledge freely, easily, and swiftly.

Recognising the necessity of connecting with communities, we understand that active community engagement needs to be our cornerstone, to enhance our library’s status and enable it to fulfill its mission.

Inclusive Approach to Community Involvement

Community involvement is ingrained in every step of the library’s efforts to stay relevant and responsive to the needs of its patrons. Community members participate in designing cultural and scientific activities, contribute to the selection of books and their subjects, and are actively involved in the design and enrichment of the library’s awards and competitions. The library’s patrons are not just visitors. They are the heart and soul of our library.

Building Meaningful Connections

The Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation is dedicated to integrating the library into our patrons’ daily lives and forging lasting connections. Going beyond conventional roles, our library prioritises strong relationships, offering personalised services and community-driven initiatives. By actively engaging with its diverse community, the library became a trusted partner in intellectual and cultural enrichment, ensuring it transcends its physical space to evolve into an essential, vibrant component of our patrons’ everyday experiences.

Geographic Expansion and Unique Initiatives

In 2018, the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation embarked on a geographical expansion by opening branches in Al-Ashrafyeh, in Al-Zarqa (outside the capital city of Amman), and recently in Al Muqabalayn. The library also partnered with the Al-Hussein Technical University (HTU), converting the library in the university into a public library.

Each branch has its own uniqueness and narrative. The Al-Ashrafyeh branch, situated in a vibrant area close to a government hospital, caters not only to the public but also to medical students, visitors, and patients. In Al-Zarqa, the library reaches a demographic of Jordanian society that lacked access to public libraries, offering books and library resources, cultural programs, and library services to a previously underserved community.

The Al Muqabalayn branch, located inside a public park, welcomes visitors of all ages, creating a unique reading environment surrounded by greenery and fresh air.

The partnership with Al-Hussein Technical University introduced a distinctive new concept in Jordan – a university library that goes beyond its role in supporting university students, offering its services to the public at large.

Tailored Initiatives and Impact

Each library branch, regardless of its uniqueness, is the result of a societal community study and partnerships with government and private entities. These branches are not mere coincidences. Their creation recongises the power and impact of partnerships in disseminating knowledge, fostering creativity, and promoting culture.

In 2023, these branches have collectively served more than 284,000 individuals across all age groups, enabling the borrowing of over 155,000 books covering various subjects. They have provided more than 150 technological training sessions and hosted numerous cultural, life-skills, and scientific events. The Abdul Hameed Shoman Public Library continuously evolving, adapting to the changing needs of its communities, and reinforcing its commitment to being a dynamic and inclusive space for all.

As the Abdul Hameed Shoman Public Library continues to expand its reach and impact through community outreach efforts, it underscores the profound importance of libraries as dynamic hubs for societal engagement and knowledge dissemination. By actively involving the community in every facet of library activities, fostering meaningful connections, and expanding geographically, our library has proven that its role goes beyond being a repository of books. It stands as a testament to the transformative power of inclusivity, partnership, and a shared commitment to making knowledge accessible to all. The Abdul Hameed Shoman Public Library exemplifies how, in an ever-changing world, the enduring significance of libraries lies not just in their collections, but in their ability to build bridges, cultivate understanding, and empower communities to thrive.

Our headquarters located in the heart of Amman, Jordan

Contributed by ­­Abdul Hameed Shoman Public Library