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BOOKENDS May 2022, Volume 5, Issue 2

FEATURE ARTICLE: Month of Reading 2022 - UAE Reads

The UAE’s annual Month of Reading has been celebrated in March every year since it was first created in 2017. The initiative was established to create an environment of reading for fun and improve literacy in the Emirates.

This year's theme was ‘UAE Reads’, with an aim to motivate the strengthening of reading habits among the various communities in the UAE.

The Month of Reading is integral to the UAE’s vision of promoting and preparing a generation of readers and to make the Emirates a knowledge hub. As part of this vision, Khalifa University Libraries, in collaboration with various departments (English Department, CTL, Student Life, Student Counselor and Literature Club), launched a creative range of activities and events to the University’s community.

These exciting activities were incorporated in a number of virtual and in-person sessions

  • One of the most successful webinars was ‘Fly with Reading’ with Ms. Alsaad Al Menhali. She has served as editor-in-chief of National Geographic (Arabic) and Majid Magazine for children. She shed light on the importance of reading, with particular focus on the field of science. The session was moderated by Ms. Maha Al Shamisi from the Student Success department.
  • The session ‘An Hour with the Author’ was presented by Dr. Brendon Cannon, Assistant Professor of International and Civil Security. He talked about his experience working as editor of the recently published book ‘Indo-Pacific Strategies: Navigating Geopolitics at the Dawn of a New Age. He detailed the challenges he overcame and the lessons that he learned from this experience. Another session was presented by the author Ms. Asma Kherbash. She discussed the importance of reading as she shared her thoughts and experiences on the topic of ‘Myths on Writing Fiction’.
  • Another popular activity amongst the students was ‘A Book that Touched Me’. These sessions were organized collaboratively with Ms. Kholoud Ribhi Elayyan from the Center of Teaching and Learning (CTL). Six students from different academic levels and disciplines presented and discussed the books that have inspired them in life-changing ways. There were three sessions and two students presented at each.
  • The ‘Reading Online for Children’ activity allowed children of the KU community and external audiences to have the opportunity to interact in engaging sessions of reading aloud and storytelling. There were three presentations delivered by children’s book authors. These all were moderated by Dr. Nooreya Alobeidli. The remarkable authors who delighted the audience were:
  • Ms. Nadia Al Najjar, a famous Emirati author, who read her book ‘خيوط الصوف الملونة
  • Ms. Khadijah Kudsi, not only a noted children's book author but a filmmaker as well. She read her book 'ماذا أستطيع أن أفعل بدراهمي
  • Ms. Asma Al Ketbi, a prominent Emirati author, read her book 'بني بطريق'/ 'Pegouins: The Bedouin Penguins'.
  • Ms. Sara Bin Saidan from the Student Life Department, in coordination with the Literature Club, organized KU Talk and two ‘Book Discussions’. The discussion sessions were very popular and welcomed by students, who especially appreciated that the meetings were in-person instead of online. The books under discussion were غرفة المسافرين and أرجوك إعتن بأمي.
  • Dr. Glenda El Gamal, Senior Lecturer from the English Department, collaborated with the libraries in recreating the highly popular activity ‘Positivity Corner – #KUReads2022’. This extremely engaging activity had more than 500 participants. The committee members (Dr. Glenda, Ms. Muna Abdulla, and Mr. Wael Samir El Sokkary) nominated nine winners from among the Instagram posts. Prizes, generously sponsored by key partners Magrudy’s and MacGraw-Hill, were presented to the winning entries.

This year's the library initiatives were a resounding success. The library is committed to celebrating the Month of Reading every year, with a goal to motivate people in the UAE of all ages to read every day, as reading is a key component of education and professional development, and enriches everyone's daily lives.



Dr. Glenda El Gamal, Senior Lecturer and Dr. Mark Wyatt, Associate Professor in the English Department in the College of Arts and Sciences, are sharing their expertise in their new edited volume to be published by Routledge. The volume provides an overview and assessment of the use of English as a medium of instruction (EMI) at different levels of education in the Arabian Peninsula with reference to UAE in particular.

The book considers EMI from both sociolinguistic and pedagogical perspectives and explores practical implications in relation to the key themes in teaching EMI in the Arabian Gulf, in both school and tertiary contexts. Like some other parts of the world such as Asia and Europe, EMI policies have been adopted at all levels of education in the Gulf countries. However, EMI in this region has not yet received book-length treatment. This book is the first volume to provide an in-depth exploration of EMI at different levels of education. Generating insights into the local take-up of EMI and providing implications for a contextually responsive policy implementation promises to be the main attraction of the proposed book. The book “English as a Medium of Instruction on the Arabian Peninsula’ is published by Routledge and copies will be available in the Khalifa University Libraries.

LIBRARIAN CORNER: Lifelong Learning

The current stage of development of electronic information and intelligence is forcing the university to change its traditional teaching methods. Scientific research has become the most important means of lifelong learning in the university teaching process. Consequently, the role of the library has grown; it is a vital pillar for students to obtain information sources.  This role is not limited to the library, but also to the librarian who strives to work outside it. The role of librarian in the educational process is to develop information awareness skills for teachers and students. Relatedly, lifelong learning is the "continuous, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit" of knowledge for personal or professional reasons. It not only promotes social inclusion, active citizenship and personal development, but also self-sustainability, competitiveness, and employability.

The knowledge-based economy depends on the use of ideas and not structural capabilities. It depends on the use of technology and not on the transformation of raw materials or the exploitation of cheap labor. It is an economy in which knowledge is created, acquired, transformed, and used more effectively with individuals, enterprises, organizations, and societies to support and encourage economic and social growth (The World Bank, 2003).

Academic libraries support the objectives of higher education institutions by directly reflecting curriculum content and supporting broader learning, research and thought exploration activities. The professional work of academic librarians includes supporting clear curriculum objectives through activities such as the provision and maintenance of printed and online materials, group/individual education, workshop, and classrooms. However, their work also includes many activities that support informal and informal self-learning opportunities for students and faculty, often for other members of the community.

Lifelong learning results from the integration of formal and informal education, in order to create the ability to enhance the quality of life. Learning happens at all times and in all places. It is a lifelong process, and involves learning from families, communities, schools, religious institutions, workplaces, and more. Achieving inclusive and quality education for all points out that education is the strongest means of achieving sustainable development. Meeting this goal requires that all girls and boys complete free primary and secondary education by 2030. It aims to provide equal access to affordable vocational training, eliminate differences in access to education on the basis of sex or wealth, insuring universal access to high-quality education. (Sustainable Development Goals, 2022).

Therefore, the provision of lifelong learning is the most important investment in education, income and education. It is an investment in the creation of generations of learners. It is the energizing force that generates the interaction energy between the educational sciences and the educational materials, and direct participation in the educational process has changed the status of the librarian from a passive viewer to an active participant in the events of teaching and learning.


Sustainable Development Goals. (2022). Sustainable Development Goal 4 . Retrieved from

The World Bank. (2003). Lifelong Learning in the Global Knowledge Economy: Challenges for Developing Countries. Washington: The World Bank.

BOOK REVIEW: Ikigai - The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia

Reviewed by Muna Abdulla

Reading the ‘Ikigai’ book  will take you to a whole new different level. The book introduces the concept of Ikigai in a very interesting way to the world and gives the tools so you can find your own Ikigai. It’s a book worth reading!

‘Ikigai’ is a Japanese concept and the secret to living a long, happy, and purposeful life. It focuses on finding meaning in life. In addition, while reading this book, you will learn about the Japanese culture and their lifestyles.

The authors identified the factors behind longevity. They’ve interviewed a community of Japanese people in Okinawa who are known to be the longest-lived people on Earth. Those residents who are 100 years of age and more have many things in common, but finding Ikigai is the most important to them, and gives their life meaning and purpose. 

The book highlights the supercentenarians of Okinawa’s stories, healthy habits of eating, work, movement exercises, and beliefs these make use of every single day, as well as the ways they live that they believe have allowed them to live such a happy and long lives.

The authors conclude with 10 rules of Ikigai from these long-living residents. It could be hard for us to adopt all these rules, however, some are very easy to implement.

  1. Stay active; don’t retire: the elderly of Okinawa don’t believe in retiring instead of working and doing what they love as long as their health allows them.
  2. Don’t hurry, take it slow: they refuse to hurry and enjoy what they do stress-free. It helps them to focus and control their decisions with mindfulness.
  3. Don’t fill your stomach: the Okinawan people eat less as they follow a specific diet and eat lots of vegetables and fruits. They apply the 80 percent rule of filling the belly in order to stay healthy and longer. Japanese follow ‘Hara Hachi bun me’ to remind them before or towards the meal to not overeat. It’s kind of a mantra of calorie restriction. They have practiced it in Japan for hundreds of years.
  4. Connect and surround yourself with good friends: they believe in connecting with friends and people they love and that it is the best medicine that brings happiness to them and is a secret to living longer.
  5. Get in shape for your next birthday: they stay active and fit through some popular form of exercise such as Radio Taiso, Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong, and Shiatsu.
  6. Smile: they advise you to open your heart to people with a nice smile on your face and a cheerful attitude, which helps to make friends.
  7. Reconnect with nature: they enjoy the wonders of nature. Japanese people revive the body and mind by spending a moment of peace, using the five senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. It’s a mindfulness practice they do to reconnect with nature.
  8. Give thanks: “everything that brightens your day and makes you feel lucky to be alive, spend a moment every day to thanksgiving, and you will watch your stockpile of happiness grow.”
  9. Live in the moment: it’s important to live the present moment without thinking or regretting the past or fearing the future.
  10. Follow your Ikigai:  it’s all about your passion and talent inside you that gives meaning to the day. Follow it and if you cannot find your Ikigai, then discover it!

This short review cannot do justice to the content of the book as it is rich in inspirational lessons and thoughts. It’s a self-help book and a highly recommended read, because of the importance of the subject it covers.

TECHNOLOGY BYTES - Library Management Systems

Perhaps even more important than owning an object is knowing where it is so that it can be accessed and used. If an item cannot be found, then it is no different than not owning that item.  This is just as true for information as it is for other objects. A book that cannot be found is of no use to an owner, just as a car is useless if it cannot be found because you forgot where you parked it. Once a library collection grows beyond a few hundred items, it becomes necessary to keep track of the items with some sort of organized system. Ancient libraries, which were much smaller than modern libraries, frequently relied on the memory of the librarians for finding material.

The earliest recorded example of an organizational system was the Pinakes (Greek for "Tables") used at the Library of Alexandria. This work was a simple list of authors and their works, and may have been only 120 scrolls long. (A prominent historian of the ancient world has estimated all the printed works up to the 3rd Century BC would have fit on fewer than 50,000 scrolls.)

After the creation of the printing press, the number of works multiplied over and over again, and keeping up with the metadata (authors, titles, location, subjects, etc.) about these works became beyond the ability of any individual. Into the early 19th Century, most libraries had no way of tracking what material they owned.

Libraries initially tried to print books that listed their holdings, but as collections grew, these books were frequently out of date before they were even printed. By the mid-19th Century, librarians began to use the innovative "technology" of card catalogs. A card catalog involved small printed cards that fit into drawers, with multiple cards for each book in the collection, including separate cards for a books author, title, and subjects. Because the cards were individual and resortable and independently updateable (unlike a printed book), it was easy to add new cards to a catalog. But even these systems sometimes involved lags of months between the acquisition of a book and its cards being including in the catalog.

The 1980s saw the introduction of the computerized card catalog. These systems allowed much faster searching and faster updating of records, as well as allowing libraries to share information with each other. The development of these computer systems led to the creation of our current use of technology, where specialized software packages for Library Management Systems (LMS) are used by nearly every library in the world, large or small. These systems provide tools for librarians to catalog, categorize, and manage all functions of the library collection. It is these systems that librarians use to help you find a book on the subject you are researching, check the book out to you, and send you notices to remind you to return the book. The systems help librarians perform inventory on the collection to look for missing items. They help librarians purchase new materials. And they provide a map to find the items within the collection. Without these systems, libraries would be useless collections of knowledge that could never be found when needed.


  • You can suggest print and electronic books that will enhance the library's collection and support the curricular/program and research needs of the KU community.
  • There is a library guide for more information on requesting books.  
  • You can recommend titles using Acquisitions email, online form, library catalog, and new titles notifications (faculty liaison only).
  • You can reach out to Acquisitions and Collection Development Librarian Alia Al-Harrasi for questions or requests.
  • You can reach out to Medical Librarian Jason Fetty for questions or requests related to CMHS collection.


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