Dates with Books, Happy Kids, and Startups - Library Programs at Albukhary International University

Nurul Izzati Sabri
April 19, 2023

This article studies the wondrous world of library programs with real-world examples of how to do them right. It is a collaboration between GR Tech and Nurul Izzati Sabri, a seasoned librarian who tirelessly serves at Albukhary International University in Malaysia.

From engaging events like Blind Date with a Book, to fostering educational programs and spearheading community outreach, libraries have evolved into centers of community engagement, catering to diverse interests and needs. Keep reading to explore the kaleidoscopic world of library programs and discover the myriad of opportunities they offer.

Libraries as a Repository: A Look at the Types of Library Resources That Are Repoed

Libraries have been revered throughout history for their unyielding commitment to preserving knowledge. Here are some of the many ways in which libraries fulfill their indispensable role as storehouses of information:

1. Repository of the organization

In certain circles, libraries are regarded as an important repository for organizational assets. This is especially true for organizations seeking a secure and efficient means of storing their valuable intellectual property, such as historical archives, legal contracts, and scholarly research papers.Libraries excel in their ability to centralize and systematize such information, thereby facilitating seamless access and navigation for the benefit of the organization at large.

Tools like DSpace and EPrints are popular open-source solutions used by libraries to create open access digital repositories.

2. Publication

As a hub of academic excellence, libraries are often privileged to publish the works of scholars and students affiliated with renowned universities. These institutions leverage libraries as an ideal platform for storing and disseminating their academic publications, both in digital and physical form.In some cases, libraries may house a dedicated room or palace to accommodate the voluminous theses and papers of these accomplished academics. This, in turn, ensures that the fruits of their labor are preserved for posterity and readily accessible to inquiring minds.

Library Facilities: Enhancing Knowledge Sharing Services

photograph of a library space at Albukhary International University

The vital task of knowledge sharing lies at the heart of any educational institution, and it is no secret that libraries play a crucial role in this process. Here are three salient ways in which libraries fulfill this crucial mandate:

1. Knowledge sharing

Libraries serve as a veritable cauldron for the sharing of knowledge, experiences, and information. These sanctuaries of learning provide a safe, nurturing, and collaborative environment for study groups, meetings, and informal conversations, thereby fostering an atmosphere of fruitful exchange among users.For instance, at AIU, our library's level 1 serves as an oasis of leisure where students can unwind and share knowledge, all while engaging in lively conversation.

2. Literacy programs

Libraries are well-known for their literacy programs, which serve as invaluable tools for users who want to learn new skills. These programs feature library associates who share their diverse experiences, host talks, and offer training on a gamut of tools like Grammarly and Mendeley.At AIU, for example, new students are treated to an information literacy program comprising four modules that span a range of topics, including search and evaluation of information, use of Mendeley, APA 7th edition citation, and plagiarism checkers.

3. Teaching and learning

Libraries are a rich storehouse of teaching and learning aids, providing access to a plethora of modules for teachers seeking to enhance their teaching skills. By helping teachers find and access these materials, libraries play an instrumental role in augmenting the learning experience for students, while enabling teachers to improve their capabilities.

4. Programs for librarians

Training programs are also beneficial for aspiring librarians, for example: learning Koha. As a popular library software, Koha is used by thousands of librarians, and any aspiring librarian will benefit from a program that teaches them the ropes of using Koha.If you're an considering a career as a librarian, and can't find a good source to learn Koha, you can check our comprehensive Koha guide to get started.

Exploring Library Programs for User Engagement

Phtograph of Staff from Albukhary International University (AIU) at primary school in Baling & Sik
My team at a primary school in Baling and Sik, where we decorate classrooms for primary school kids.

Libraries have now become bastions of knowledge that offer several events that cater to various themes such as Ramadan, International Day, and Independence Day, to name a few. For the AIU library, for instance, we focus on primary schools in the Baling and Sik regions and organize activities like book donation, storytelling, art contests, and repainting their school library as they supplement their educational initiatives. For example, for an orphan house, we go and create activities with the orphanage.

Activities follow the niche of the organization. For example, if the niche area is a social business, organizations may conduct activities related to social business where they can find a balance between profit and contributing socially. These versatile venues stand as a testament to their ingenuity in creating events that pique the interests of their diverse communities.

Not judging a book by its cover

photograph of a blind date with a book program
Photo of our blind date with a book event

The phrase "don't judge a book by it's cover" is a popular one. And it holds true till even today. Readers are more attracted to book covers than we know, and often pick books after looking at book covers. At AIU, we organise a program that eliminates this bias.

We organize Blind Date with a Book program by covering good books to hide their covers, and leave thoughtful notes on each books to attract readers. This removes any bias people may have because of a book's cover, and also adds an element of surprise for readers who slowly unwrap and discover what they're about to read.

Other Facilities

A picture of desktop computers at the AIU library

Libraries offer many types of library programs that extend beyond their traditional function, comprising an impressive array of amenities. These programs include but are not limited to internet access, discussion rooms, study halls, galleries, and printing and photocopying services. In addition, libraries have transformed into dynamic spaces where patrons can congregate to explore their interests and acquire new skills, encompassing traditional crafts and cutting-edge technology.

Supporting Entrepreneurship

Photograph of a dedicated space that champions the innovative ventures of its enterprising students at Albukhary International University
A dedicated space that champions the innovative ventures of enterprising students at Albukhary International University

Libraries now play an active role in supporting local entrepreneurship–which many people don`t know. They offer a plethora of business-oriented services that include developing comprehensive business plans and providing marketing support to budding entrepreneurs. Take, for instance, the AIU library, where we go the extra mile by providing a dedicated space that champions the innovative ventures of its enterprising students. There aren`t many libraries around that do something similar.

But there's more! Libraries are also diversifying their offerings to appeal to modern consumers. In fact, some libraries are now home to trendy coffee shops, such as the Kedah Digital Library, which has rented out a space to the renowned Old Town White Coffee. These modern amenities not only add to the convenience of patrons but also infuse a vibrant energy that draws in a diverse range of visitors.

Clearly, libraries have evolved from the stodgy, old-fashioned institutions of yesteryear to contemporary spaces that foster community engagement, innovation, and commerce.

Parting Thoughts

Libraries are hubs of community engagement, offering a wide range of services and resources that benefit their patrons in many ways. From community programs for kids to help with homework to support for local businesses, libraries offer something for everyone--and if you're lucky enough to live in a community with a library like this, then there's more to love!

a call to action for librarians or library managers to book a consultation with GR Tech's Library Technology experts

Table of Contents

Hire the best software experts for your project.

Contact Us

About the Author

This article is part of a collaborative series between GR Techand industry leaders, aimed at bringing new ideas andinsights to our readers.

Nurul Izzati Sabri

project manager

A Library Science graduate from Universiti Teknologi MARA, Nurul has been actively working in the library field since 2015, garnering extensive experience as a librarian. Nurul is passionate about providing top-tier clientele services to library users by organizing user education programs that are both informative and beneficial.