ABU DHABI, 5th September, 2018 (WAM) — After a successful two months of engaging reading activities and events, the Around the World Summer Programme came to a close on 31st August 2018. Established by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, DCT Abu Dhabi, and National Library, the programme featured 195 workshops across six libraries, and welcomed a record 16,750 visitors from all nationalities and backgrounds.
The programme was introduced across Abu Dhabi libraries, including Al Wathba Library, Al Marfa Library, Mazyad Library, Al Bahia Library and Khalifa Park Library, and Al Ain’s Zayed Central Library, to encourage children and teenagers to adopt better reading habits during their summer break. The programme also hosted a variety of interactive workshops covering arts, crafts, language, storytelling and innovative creation, which opened a host of opportunities for youngsters to be creative.
The programme also introduced the Summer Reading Challenge to challenge youngsters to read 30 books from across the world. The challenge was successfully completed by 150 members aged between 6 to 16 years old. Meanwhile, the programme’s Young Librarian initiative successfully welcomed 192 children aged 8-14 for a behind-the-scenes look into the inner workings of a library and support the staff.
Each library across the emirate hosted weekly cultural themes to celebrate a country or region, educating visitors about the nuances of language and culture through activities, workshops and a list of international books. Participants were also able to meet renowned Arab authors during the weekly programmes, including Maitha Al Kayyat, Sahar Najaa Mahfouz, Sara Al Hammadi, Mariam Saqr Al Qasimi, Badria Al Shamsi, and Nadia Al Najjar, Daphne and Gerald Mercer, Sarah Sillisand Khadijah Kudsi amongst others.
Abdullah Majed Al Ali, Acting Executive Director of the National Library Sector, DCT Abu Dhabi, said, “The success of the Around the World Summer Programme has been an inspiring insight into the strong and positive reaction to reading habits in the UAE. It has been an instrumental tool in extending active dialogues by the National Library with young learners and the wider audience, moving one step closer to helping support and nurture the younger generation. In addition, this programme has been key in facilitating a diverse and engaging environment enriched with experiences, cultures and civilizations of many countries.”
Established in 1981, the National Library sector, as part of DCT Abu Dhabi, is one of the UAE’s largest knowledge repositories and a vital resource for intellectuals, scholars and scientists. The National Library is responsible for the establishment of regional, community, children’s and mobile libraries. It also acts as a publisher, translates the world’s major literary works and promotes talented Emirati writers and researchers by publishing their books and academic works. The National Library also collects, preserves and displays ancient Arab and Islamic manuscripts, covering a variety of topics from literature and religion to science and the arts.