After a very successful inaugural event last year, National Library leaders from around the world will gather together at the 2nd National Libraries Summit on 6-7 November in conjunction with the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) to discuss crucial issues to better serve their countries.

This year’s Summit theme is Transformation, which follows from last year’s theme of Visibility, Engagement, Impact, and Collaboration. This year more leaders from 30 countries from Middle East North Africa, Africa, Asia, Europe and North America are expected to attend.

Summit will look at transformation in four main areas. The first is creating successful transformation through strategy, staffing and training. Ng Cher Pong, CEO National Library Board of Singapore, will look at designing strategy to achieve transformation, and Liisa Savolainen, Deputy Director, National Library of Finland and Chair of IFLA National Libraries Section, focuses on the importance of having the right staff with the right skill sets and training to adjust and adapt and lead new services and projects.

A second major global issue that was identified at the 1st Summit was how legal deposit and copyright adjustments need to be made in the digital age. Nevin Mohamed Moussa, Head of the National Library & Archives and colleagues from other regions will present on this critical access topic, not only for national libraries but all libraries.

How do national libraries interact to increase collaborative collection development going forward, and what lessons can be learned about collecting materials from the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region and when a National Library is damaged or destroyed due to natural or man-made disasters? Richard Davies, Head of Collections Programmes at The British Library and colleagues at BNL and the Qatar National Library will share their collaborative work on the Qatar Digital Library and how it can serve as a model for others.

Dr. Mansour bin Abdullah Al-Zamil, Director of the King Fahd National Library in Saudia Arabia, will provide insight into collecting resources across the MENA region to help national libraries around the world who are actively seeking to add more resources from the MENA region to their collections. And Iaguba Djallo, Director Public Library and National Historical Archives, Bissau, Guinea-Bissau provides insight into rebuilding the collection of the National Library after it was destroyed in a civil war.

National libraries are not immune from attacks on their systems by hackers; they therefore need to be transforming to meet the risks posed that could shut down access to their services and collections. Tomas Foltyn, Director General, National Library of the Czech Republic, speaks from recent personal experience about the lessons learned and efforts created to fortify against future challenges.

The National Library and Archives of the United Arab Emirates is generously sponsoring this year’s Summit and will provide an update on services and initiatives. Other national libraries will interact with each other through sharing best practices. In addition, the Summit provides national library leaders with a unique opportunity to visit hundreds of publishers and see new resources of interest at the Sharjah International Book Fair.

Michael Dowling is Director International Relations and Chapter Relations Offices, American Library Association