Reading Time: 3 minutes

In a prestigious ceremony held today at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature (3-13 February 2022) the winners of the School Librarian of the Year Awards were announced. The highly-prized awards are presented by the Emirates Literature Foundation, in association with The Executive Council of Dubai, to recognise those individuals who have shown exceptional commitment in promoting reading for pleasure among their students and in raising academic and literacy standards in the school.

“The School Librarian of the Year award is part of a comprehensive strategy to grow generations of educated students with a thirst for research and knowledge. The strategy does this by highlighting the value of culture and knowledge. We also look to these programmes and initiatives that encourage the love of reading among future generations to find new tools that motivate and prepare young people to keep pace with the continuous and rapid changes that we are still facing. This will eventually shape their personalities and serve their interests, thus serving the UAE’s vision”, said Shumous Majid Bin Faris, Strategic Development Advisor at the General Secretariat of Executive Council of Dubai, “Sponsoring the award for the sixth year in a row comes from our continuous support, appreciation, and desire to honour UAE school librarians and their extraordinary efforts in cultivating a spirit of reading among students, elevating education standards in schools”, she added. 

“School librarians have had a heroic task since  March 2020 in keeping children on track with their reading, enabling them to flourish in all parts of their academic studies,” said Isobel Abulhoul, OBE, CEO and trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation. “This award recognises those that have really excelled in these difficult circumstances. We are all indebted to their commitment to their role during these exceptional times and it is wonderful to be able to celebrate them and all the wonderful librarians out there who have made their students lives brighter by imparting their love of books. ”

More than 95 nominations were submitted from around the country. Finalists were assessed by a panel of judges who visited the shortlisted librarians virtually to make a final assessment. The award was judged in two categories – school librarians working in public (government) schools in the UAE and school librarians working in private schools in the UAE. 

The winners were presented with their awards by Aisha Miran, Assistant Secretary-General for Strategy Management and Governance of The Executive Council of Dubai, and Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of Emirates Literature Foundation.  

The ceremony included a celebration lunch.

The winners from public school libraries are:

  1. Fakhera Saeed Al Mansoury from Al Reyada School for Basic and Secondary Education, Abu Dhabi
  2. Fatimah Al Shehhy from Al Ibtikar Kindergaten, Fujairah
  3. Azza Mohamed from Qatr Al Nada Secondary School, Abu Dhabi

Special recognition is Khaled Qutbi Alhasan from Al Ittihad School C3, Abu Dhabi

The winners from private school libraries are:

  1. Kristine Kirby from Gems American Academy Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi
  2. Jumana Hanoun from Al Kamal American International School, Al Azra, Sharjah
  3. Jericho Diano from Summit International Schools, Abu Dhabi

The Festival programme is brimming with sessions to engage, entertain and inform, with topics encompassing fiction, history, current affairs, food, health, travel, biography, business and more.  There are opportunities to appreciate poetry, take part in creative writing workshops and generally indulge in intelligent and articulate discussion on a wide range of topics. Sessions appeal to all ages and nationalities, featuring outstanding authors, thinkers and opinion formers.

Other initiatives celebrated at the Festival includes the Voices of Future Generations, which launches its second anthology of winning stories; OUP Story Writing Competition; RGS Guildford Dubai Children’s Letter Writing Competition; Chevron Reader’s Cup; ENBD Poetry For All; Emirates LitFest Writing Prize; and the announcement of the first 10 fellows for the First Chapter: ELF Seddiqi Writers’ Fellowship.   

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature Festival is held with Founding Partners Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated authority for heritage, arts, and culture. It is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.