Group of people outside University of Birmingham library
UAE delegation outside the University of Birmingham Library with Director of Library Services Diane Job

A high-level UAE delegation selected Birmingham and London to visit and learn about the best UK libraries, archive activities and related best practices, as the UAE continues with its drive to build a knowledge-based economy.

The UAE is currently investing heavily in platforms to reinforce its position as the region’s capital for culture and creativity, and an incubator for intellectual and literary projects in the Arab world. As part of this it is transforming its National Library and Archives.

As well as visiting the campus Library to understand its operational processes, delegates toured the Cadbury Research Library, the unique Mingana Collection of Arabic manuscripts, and viewed the world-renowned Birmingham Qur’an. Delegates also toured Birmingham City Council’s iconic Library of Birmingham, where they met Professor Ewan Fernie, from the University’s Shakespeare Institute who hosted them in the Library’s Shakespeare Room where they learned about the Everything to Everybody project.

The Library of Birmingham is home to the city’s vast archive of regional, national and Shakespeare-related materials. The Shakespeare material features in Everything to Everybody – a community engagement partnership with Birmingham City Council. This connects Birmingham citizens to the archive. They also visited The Exchange, the University of Birmingham’s city centre community engagement hub.

We have a wealth of expertise at the University of Birmingham in providing facilities that support and broaden the sharing of knowledge. I am delighted to welcome our distinguished guests from the National Library and Archives of UAE, so that we can support the UAE’s vision for developing its libraries and archives as well as other cultural assets and activities."

Professor Adam Tickell, University of Birmingham Vice-Chancellor and Principal

H.E Abdulla Majid Al Ali, Acting Director General of the National Library and Archives of UAE, commented: “The National Archives and Library aspire to establish an Emirati national library that will be a national reference and a cultural and information centre that preserves the heritage of the United Arab Emirates and highlights its scientific and civilized development, similar to the major global libraries that incubate human heritage. In it, one of our priorities was to visit major libraries in the United Kingdom because of their global standing.”

Vice Chancellor and Principal Professor Adam Tickell welcomed both delegations to the University of Birmingham, commenting: “We have a wealth of expertise at the University of Birmingham in providing facilities that support and broaden the sharing of knowledge. I am delighted to welcome our distinguished guests from the National Library and Archives of UAE, so that we can support the UAE’s vision for developing its libraries and archives as well as other cultural assets and activities.

“The UAE is an increasingly popular destination for students from around the world and is home to internationally renowned institutions. The University of Birmingham’s new Dubai campus is positioned to support the UAE’s drive to transform into a global educational hub and draw the world’s top students.”

Birmingham’s University Library is one of the largest academic libraries in the UK with an outstanding research collection of 2.7 million books and scholarly periodicals, more than 16,000 electronic resources and over 4.7 million manuscripts. The collections are located primarily in the Main Library, which opened in September 2016 and was described as heralding a new generation of libraries in UK higher education.

Director of Library Services Diane Job commented: “I was delighted to guide our distinguished guests around the University’s Main Library and the Cadbury Research Library which is home to our special collections. The University’s libraries are an important academic and research resource in the UK. Our staff provide specialist support, including information literacy and academic skills teaching, so that students and staff can find and use information effectively.”