In association with the Executive Council of Dubai, Emirates Literature Foundation recently announced the names of the Best Librarians in the UAE.
Sonia Alnahawi from Aspen Heights British School in Abu Dhabi was awarded the first prize for her “outstanding commitment” to promoting reading for pleasure among students in the private schools’ category.
Ms Alnahawi shares details of how she motivated students at Aspen Heights British School to read over the last 18 months and what she feels makes her library so special.
“I joined the school when it opened, and this allowed me to choose every single book and create every single reading space in our library”
“There were a few different initiatives and activities that I lead at Aspen over the last year or so. I recorded three different stories for different year groups, and I wore a mask or used puppets and story sacks to enact the books in these videos. These were then shared with families through our school apps. Families, especially the children, really enjoyed these videos.
“I truly believe that today’s reader can become tomorrow’s leader”
“When our students are at school, I wanted to give them the option to read during their break times, so I placed QR codes in the break areas. The QR codes were on the floors in the corridors and various places in the outdoor yards. Students were able to scan these QR codes and read these books digitally during their break.
“I also organised various online reading events, a virtual book fair, webinars with authors, and even a workshop on reading, for parents.
“I want to make sure that our students and families understand that reading for information and reading for fun is important for everyone. I truly believe that today’s reader can become tomorrow’s leader.
“When I was in secondary school, I loved the library, and I loved reading a lot. So I dreamt of becoming a librarian in the future. I followed this dream, and now I have a Bachelors’ Degree in the Management of Libraries and a Higher Diploma in Library and Educational resources. I also have 13 years of experience working in school libraries.
“My library at Aspen is special because I have built it. I joined the school when it opened, and this allowed me to choose every single book and create every single reading space in our library. Libraries have the ability to provide a world of knowledge, and I think the world that we have created at Aspen Heights British School library is something that each one of our students benefits from.”