Libro Futuro

“Library for the community” and librarians in Oman. Mario Coffa interviews Saif Abdulla Al-Jabri

Intervista in italiano

Saif Abdulla Al-Jabri is Director of the Information Center, College of Economics and Political Science, Sultan Qaboos University and lecturer in the Department of Information Studies, College of Arts and Social Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University.

Saif, can you briefly tell us about your work and what you do?

I manage and supervise the work in the College of Economics and Political Science Library, where besides supervising the day to day work in the different department in the library I manage the financial and the human force work.

What does it mean to be a librarian in your beautiful country, Oman? Is the profession formally recognized?

Librarianship is formally recognized in Oman and we have a specialized department at the Sultan Qaboos university called Information Studies Department. (formally it was called Library and Information Science Department) We also Have a national association Called the Omani Library an Information Association. I am a founded member of this association and I was the Vic-president for two terms.

The COVID 19 pandemic has affected the whole world. How did you deal with this terrible experience in Oman? Has digital contributed to compensate for the forced closures of the structures?

Fortunately, libraries in Sultan Qaboos University has a strong digital infrastructure, which started long before the pandemic. When COVID19 hitted the world and access to library building were stopped, our students and researchers have a stable access to our library collection. Of course there was restrictions on physical collection circulation, but I think we did a great job by updating and improving our digital collections.

What relationship do libraries have with local communities in Oman?

Libraries in Oman have a wonderful relation with their surrounding communities. For example, we at SQU Libraries extend our services to community. Researchers are granted free access to SQU libraries; all they have to do is open a membership card. Moreover, in my library we have started, a program called “Library for the Community” this program started in few years back and it was funded by local company and directed to schools pupils grads 5-19. The program was very successful and attracted schools from different parts of Oman for the last 4 years. Unfortunately, the program was suspended during the COVID pandemic, but hopefully it will resume after the pandemic is over.

What would you recommend to a young student who would one day want to be a librarian? 

Being a librarian is being the door keeper for the Humanity Knowledge, so you have to know how to use this key beside guarding it. Besides optioning librarianship education, one have to obtain may skills and experiences to be a good librarian.





Mario Coffa
Mario Coffa
Mario Coffa archivista e bibliotecario, laureato in Conservazione dei Beni Culturali presso l’Università degli Studi di Perugia (2005) e diplomato in Archivistica e Paleografia presso la Scuola di Archivistica dell’Archivio Segreto Vaticano (2010). Dal 2010 Lavora per CAeB (Cooperativa Archivistica e Bibliotecaria) presso le biblioteche dell’Università di Perugia come bibliotecario e come archivista presso l'Archivio Storico del Comune di Gubbio. Si occupa di Biblioteche Digitali e formazione in ambito di biblioteconomia digitale. Nel 2014 membro del Comitato Esecutivo Regionale dell’Associazione Italiana Biblioteche (AIB) sezione Umbria, membro del gruppo AIB sul portfolio professionale e nel triennio 2017-2020 Presidente eletto di AIB Umbria. Dal 2020 membro dell'Osservatorio Formazione dell'Associazione Italiana Biblioteche. Autore di diversi articoli e interviste per Insula Europea sul tema degli archivi, delle biblioteche e del digital lending.


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