In spite of an intensely challenging 2020 and start of 2021, the KU Libraries succeeded in launching the Month of Reading in March 2021. The entire month focused on the country’s intellectual output and cultural wealth, by providing the tools needed to fulfill those goals. The hope is to make reading a part of every person’s daily routine. The KU Libraries organized several activities and events to support this year's Month of Reading theme, “My Family Reads”, which focused in importance of parents’ role of encouraging children to read.
A variety of members of our KU community were actively involved in the programs that ran throughout the month. The “Fly with Reading” program invited participants to meet and engage with a few of the UAE’s most prominent literary figures. While promoting the value and significance of reading, Isobel Abulhoul, CEO & Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation, encouraged reading for pleasure as a way to understand the world, past, present, and future.
Khalifa University received praise from Nicholas Cochrane-Dyet, Chairman of the British Business Group in Abu Dhabi and the author of the book Early Days in the Emirates for achieving its high academic rankings and making great strides of progress, considering the young age of the nation. In discussing his book about the UAE’s past, he encouraged young people to find inspiration in the great accomplishments of their forefathers.
Children and young adults were also invited to participate in the Month of Reading. Dr. Nooreya Alobeidli, Student Counselor at Khalifa University, read her book اليعسوب القوي. Noura Al Khoori read her book فربوع, and author Norhan Noor read her book The Kite. Children of KU staff and faculty were invited to listen, ask questions and share their thoughts and reactions to what they heard.
The Libraries in collaboration with Dr. Glenda El Gamal, Senior Lecturer from the English Department, College of Arts and Sciences and Ms. Kholoud Elayyan from the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) organized the “Positivity Corner,” a month-long interactive competition where students shared photos and gave reviews of their favorite books or literary quotes using the Instagram hashtag #KU4reading. The event was a big success with more than 500 posts. The committee selected 8 winners from among the entries with prizes from McGraw-Hill and Magrudy's.
A few more memorable events included the Literature Club’s "Book Discussion" on ٢٧ خرافة شعبية عن القراءة. In “An Hour with the Author”, Dr. Glenda El Gamal interviewed Dr. Athol Yates about his books on UAE history and his research methodology. In his lecture “How I Became a Writer”, Ahmed Al Madloum, a KU alumnus, talked about his experience and his writings. During “A Book that Touched Me” session, Aisha Abushibs, a KU Alumna, discussed one of her favorite books “The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down” by Haemin Sunim, and how it inspired her. In the session of “Library Olympics,” participants enjoyed answering questions about libraries and literary history.
We cannot forget to mention the latest development, Newsletter on the Month of Reading by the KU Literature Club, a truly priceless source of information about libraries in the UAE, reading tips and books recommendations.
A final point of pride this year was the initiative of the Masters students of IICS603 Social Science Research Methods with Dr. Athol Yates and Dr. Li-Chen Sim of the Institute of International & Civil Security. They organized the “A Survey of the Reading Habits” to assess the KU community’s reading goals and interests. They received more than 220 responses that revealed some interesting trends. The most notable, can be seen in the graphics here:
The success of the Month of Reading 2021 was especially impactful both in spite of and as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. We truly believe there would have been no better way to manage without embracing the beauty of reading. KU Libraries and the entire KU community were able to come together to share a common love of the written word while supporting the government’s initiative to enhance the UAE’s cultural wealth and development of knowledge.
The library has hosted numerous events during the course of the Spring semester. Some highlights of the presentations were:
When you go to Google Scholar to search for an article, you will see in green print below the search bar the few simple, yet powerful words: “Stand on the shoulders of giants”. The giants are those scholars and scientists in the past who have conducted the research and developed the theories which have changed the way we think and operate in our world. It is their research and theories that underpin our advances in technology, medicine, engineering, education, and thinking. Fortunately for us, access to these giants is made easier through the databases of journal articles and libraries of books that Khalifa University has provided us. As an English lecturer at KU, an early career researcher, and as a PhD student, I have taken full advantage of the Khalifa University library’s resources. I use ‘One Search’ to find a chapter of an e-Book, I contact Interlibrary Loan to request a seminal book (published decades ago) from the British Library, I make online requests to have a book sent from the SAN Campus to the Main Campus, and I use “library links” on Google Scholar to find the latest journal articles. As both teacher and researcher, I go through the same steps of finding sources as you, the student, does.
However, the Google Scholar quote not only asks us to identify, research, and cite the giants in our respective fields, it challenges us to stand on their shoulders - to build higher, to reach further, to expand on the research that already exists which the giants have produced. We, in effect, are the new giants, which build on the foundation of knowledge with our own research. This foundation could consist of a small block that helps us better understand one way to make online learning more effective, or a much larger structure that shapes our lives in new ways through teaching us how to live more sustainably. It does not matter that the giants we stand on are old and established (big giants), or young and emerging (smaller giants). The important meaning from the Google Scholar quote is that we use the previously existing research in the past to identify a problem, improve a practice or a theoretical understanding (Maxwell, 2012), and add to the body of knowledge that is out there. This could entail finding a cheaper way to build a well for groundwater in a remote village in India, or achieving a better understanding of the long term effects of Covid-19.
But, these giants we stand on are not infallible. Not only do we need to expand on their concepts and build on their theories, but these very theories need to be tested and their arguments need to be challenged. We use previous literature to provide a framework for understanding something; as Yin (2003) argues, it is the blueprint that guides our research. However, critically approaching previous research and theories opens up possibilities to develop or generate new knowledge. Maxwell (2012) argues that researchers need to think of literature not only as “an authority to be deferred to” but as a potentially “fallible source of ideas” where there is potential to frame issues in different ways (p. 41). Our scholarly giants have become giants because they took risks and tried to think about things in different ways. We stand on their shoulders and learn from them, but we also need to have the courage to challenge accepted ideas and try to think in different ways. This can help us truly stand on their shoulders and reach higher.
One specialized role that academic librarians fill is that of medical librarian. Beyond performing the regular functions of a librarian, medical librarians also work with specialized medical resources, helping to inform the medical field and others about topics ranging from academic research to patient care to healthier outcomes.
In academia, medical librarians perform a wide range of roles. They teach students, faculty, and practitioners how to use a range of databases and resources, including research-oriented databases like PubMed, more clinically-focused tools such as UpToDate, and patient-oriented websites like MedlinePlus. They add to this with instruction on evidence-based practice (or related concepts like evidence-based medicine), with an eye on developing critical-thinking skills in students and future medical providers. Medical librarians often play key roles in high-level research; for example, they play an important role in conducting systematic reviews providing complex search strings and organizing research. They also develop collections, provide reference desk service, and serve on university committees.
Medical librarians can also be found in hospitals, where they play a more immediate role in improving patient outcomes. They join medical rounds in hospital departments like the intensive care unit where they can quickly supply research to inform critical clinical information needs. They also help hospital departments develop practice guidelines, train new staff on resource use, and maintain a medical-focused library collection of print and electronic resources.
Because of the wide-ranging roles they play, medical librarians develop skills in technology, instruction, and outreach. They also obtain specialized qualifications within the field. But in the end, it all comes down to trying to offer quality services to provide healthier outcomes for people (and sometimes animals). With an ever-increasing amount of medical knowledge, sometimes published in less-credible sources such as predatory journals, medical librarians can play an important role in providing high-quality knowledge in medical education and information management.
If you have questions about medical librarianship or would like assistance from Khalifa University’s medical librarian, please feel free to reach out to us at Library Services firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the KU Medical library homepage.
EAB Navigate is a customized student success management system. This technology is tailored to optimize student engagement at KU by simplifying and enhancing interaction between students, campus resources staff, faculty, and academic leaders. The system facilitates student centered communication by:
Schedule appointments for advising, counseling, tutoring as well as with other campus resources staff quickly and easily
Tips to help you stay on track throughout the semester
Connect to the right office so you can quickly resolve holds
Find out more career information about your major or you can match your interests and career goals with the right major.
Faculty, Staff, and Students can access EAB Navigate system through the KU portal under Applications à Student Management: EAB Navigate
Students can also download the Navigate Student mobile application using the links below:
For more information on EAB Navigate, you may contact Student Success on StudentSuccess@ku.ac.ae