AMMAN — With some 12,000 visitors daily, the University of Jordan (UJ) Library seeks to facilitate a distinguished learning and research experience for students and researchers across the Kingdom, according to its director.
UJ Library Director Mohannad Mubaidin told The Jordan Times in an interview that the recent amendments to the library’s regulations allowed for an increase in sources of income and a reduction in expenses.
According to the library’s 2014 sustainability report, income exceeded JD200,000 in 2014, compared with JD88,000 in 2013.This increase was accompanied by a drop in expenses from JD580,000 in 2013 to around JD540,000 in 2014.
The new rules allow for expanding private donations, empowering employees and enhancing the library’s electronic content, which now includes over 1.6 million titles.To reduce expenses and enhance independence, the library has established its own bindery, with a capacity of binding 20-30 books daily.
According to Mubaidin, the annual cost of binding books at an external library could reach JD40,000, a figure the sustainability report expects to drop by half starting this year.
Another private donation helped establish a laboratory for persons with visual disabilities, with the capacity for 15 people to study some 5,000 books, the library director said.Expansion The library’s expansion project, which is expected to be finished by the beginning of the next academic year, seeks to provide students with larger studying spaces, laboratories and services.The library is set to accommodate 700 additional students, increasing its capacity to 2,000.
Furthermore, it will include a laboratory for training students of library science.
The facility is also a venue for several cultural activities, such as a recent exhibition by the Hungarian embassy in Amman, Mubaidin said.“The Japanese embassy will showcase the culture of the Samurai in an exhibition at the library in October,” he added, noting that the university’s cultural message to its students is also embodied in highlighting national and regional historical events.
Features of the Jordanian national identity are frequently depicted at the library’s main hallway in exhibitions of newspaper clippings from the archives, according to the library director.
In addition, the library is a major reference for UJ students of 45 nationalities, mainly from China and Turkey, studying Arabic and religious studies.
Mubaidin challenged the common perception of young Jordanians as people who do not read, noting that the library’s facilities witness “great” demand for reservations for book discussions and intellectual activities from students and independent groups.
He cited a “magnificent” increase in the number of books borrowed from the library during the recent uprisings in the region, with prominent literary, political and historical books among the most borrowed books.
The library’s cultural forum also hosts frequent lectures and book discussions.
The influx of students and researchers from other educational institutes prompted the library to offer annual subscriptions for electronic content, Mubaidin said.
Some 2,000 subscribers from other universities benefit from the UJ Library’s services, he noted, adding that annual subscriptions are JD25 for a Jordanian and $150 for a foreigner.
The library, which contains some 1.75 million titles in the main building and 17 branches across the campus, is open from 8am to midnight, while the secondary libraries close at 4pm.
In a bid to surpass the traditional role of libraries, the UJ Library is planning to hold its first international conference between July 27 and 29 under the title “Social Media Shaping Electronic Publishing”, with several researchers scheduled to attend the event, according to Mubaidin.
Participants will discuss the role of social media in e-publishing, social media applications in libraries, information and e-learning centres, the role of databases in e-publishing in the context of social media, and e-publishing in Arabic.
The event’s keynote speakers include Marshall Breeding, an expert and independent consultant in the fields of libraries and publishing, and Shaher Momani, dean of the university’s science faculty, who was selected among the world’s highly cited researchers and most influential scientific minds.