The  Chairs of IFLA’s North America and Middle East-North Africa Regional Divisions at the 9th ALA Sharjah conference. What a great opportunity for two regional leaders to meet on the ground!

The 9th ALA Sharjah conference 2022 took place in Abu Dhabi on 7-8 November 2022. Within a busy program, including diverse sessions delivered by participants from 6 countries, the two IFLA regional chairs led the session “Libraries and the UN SDG’s: Action Plans for MENA, North America and the World”.

With eight years until 2030 – the deadline for achieving the UN’s 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals – the Chairs of IFLA’s Regional Division Committees for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) (Dr Imad Bachir) and North America (NA) (Julius C. Jefferson Jr) discussed their action plans and how individual libraries and associations can contribute to global efforts to achieve success.

The chairs offered an overview of the work of their respective committees. They highlighted that IFLA’s regional divisions are a new structure, having been formed in 2021, as a result of the IFLA governance reform. They also noted that the divisions they chair are part of a bigger group of in six – the others are for the regions of Asia-Oceania, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr. Bachir additionally underlined the work of the MENA committee, focusing on their action plans. One member of the committee, Eman Bushulaibi, director of the Sharjah Public Library, provided an overview of the work of her sub-committee on the Library Map of the World (LMW).

Julius also shared the North American Committee’s action plans and emphasised that the needs and issues of the MENA and NA regions are very similar. Julius told us that it was a great opportunity for him to learn from the ideas of the MENA region librarians and library workers.

After the presentations there were many questions and comments that focused on how to extend contributions to the Library Map of the World, underlining the interest among participants in increasing engagement and sharing knowledge, ideas and efforts.