Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) has launched a new initiative titled the “Reading Club” to encourage all its employees to read daily, in line with the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, who always calls for the need to invest in human capital.
The initiative is the first ever government reading club in the Middle East and the SBA has introduced the need to read and have good general knowledge as a criterion for recruitment and promotional opportunities. This makes SBA the first government body globally that has included reading as a measurable goal in recruitment.
The Reading Club falls within a series of national initiatives launched for the Year of Reading 2016 andaims to make reading a habit and lifestyle choice by giving employees at SBA’s various departments and sections 30 minutes a day, during
working hours, to read. Staff will now have two and half hours a week to promote the habit of reading among them.
The SBA announced that the first book selected to be read in March is “My Early Life” (Sard Al That), authored by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. The book will be discussed by employees later during monthly meeting.
HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA, said, “As part of our efforts to realise the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, who believes that progress and development of nations begins with nurturing minds and cultivating knowledge, we launched the "Reading Club" to encourage our staff to read. We want to help our staff to develop and expand their knowledge and understand the importance of reading in developing our selves at work and during our daily lives. Working and being involved in the daily details of one's work does not mean refrain from books and reading.”
Al Ameri said that the Reading Club will reflect positively on SBA staff and a specific book will be selected periodically with a monthly meeting being held to discuss books that were read by the staff.
"This initiative is so important because SBA is a platform for culture, literature and reading and this is why the commitment of our staff to this initiative will be taken seriously. We want our staff to become role models for people of the UAE and will take their dedication to this initiative into consideration when assessing their overall performance. Our employees have a national, moral and professional responsibility to contribute to the success of the initiative. Nations that read are nations that lead and we believe that it is only through reading we will be able to produce a generation of creative thinkers, intellectuals, inventors, writers and leaders,” he added.
Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) was launched in 2014 and is dedicated to encouraging investment in creative industries and offering a platform for the exchange of knowledge and ideas between people from different countries and cultures. It is in charge of recognizing the significant role of writers and their influence in spreading awareness of technological advancement and the availability of various sources of knowledge. SBA also aims to attract relevant bodies and figures operating in the cultural sector in general, and the publishing, printing, translation, documentation and children’s books in particular. SBA organizes many cultural projects in Sharjah such as the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), Sharjah Reading Children’s Festival (SRCF), SIBF Translation Grant, Professional Program for Publishers (PPP), which is the first free training program for Arab publishers, and the joint conference with the American Library Association (ALA).