Sharjah:Sharjah International Airport passengers left for various parts of the world last Thursday, carrying free books they chose on a variety of topics. These books were brought in as part of the ‘Travel with a Book’ event organised by Sharjah-based Knowledge without Borders (KwB) initiative for airport passengers and employees, which accented the usual scenes at this busy airport with a string of memorable cultural happenings.
The endless cups of coffee bought at the airport were made more rewarding for purchasers with KwB’s 'A Coffee and a Book' twist, which entailed receiving a free book upon making a coffee purchase. The proceeds from coffees sold as part of this event will go entirely to The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), a Sharjah-based global humanitarian charity dedicated to helping refugees and people in need worldwide.
The day that marked a special celebration of knowledge and reading at the Sharjah Airport wasn’t limited to the distribution of 250 books in Arabic and English in genres of literature, self-development, religion, history and education to passengers. KwB also updated the airport’s staff library with 150 books, in addition to rolling in the Knowledge Cart – a mobile library featuring a variety of books in different languages to cater to travellers from varied nationalities and encourage them to spend their time waiting for flights more fruitfully by reading.
Additionally, the existing KwB library at the airport has been refreshed with brand new titles.
This latest activation is a continuation of a series of programmes and activities designed and implemented by KwB across Sharjah’s and the UAE’s schools, hospitals, and other public spaces, to promote the habit of reading in people across age groups, develop a stronger understanding among public about the importance of continued knowledge consumption through reading, and finally, enabling better access to books through the establishment and upgradation of libraries in public offices as well as people’s homes.
Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of KwB, said: “Our foremost objective is to create a generation of avid readers. We aim to do so through a comprehensive plan that nurtures the community’s reading habit, especially in public spaces where they spend a great deal of time. We believe that the culture of reading provides a sound basis for lifelong learning, and nurturing minds with knowledge is central to the nation-building process. It is also vital to enhance the mental, intellectual and cultural assets of our people.”
She added: “The projects and initiatives organised by KwB are in line with the cultural policies upheld by various local bodies in the emirate, which seek to enhance Sharjah’s cultural status both at the regional and international levels. The emirate’s continued efforts have successfully established a strong bond between our community and reading; endeavors that have attained especially meaningful results during the yearlong Sharjah World Book Capital 2019 celebrations.”
For her part, Alia Obaid Al Shamsi, Director of Marketing and Customer Relations at Sharjah Airport Authority, said: "We were happy to collaborate with KwB to launch the ‘Travel with a Book’ event at the airport, which promoted Sharjah’s stature as the global capital of the book and encouraged our passengers to read. We hope this unique activity deepens the love of reading in people’s hearts, and is our contribution to Sharjah’s yearlong World Book Capital 2019 celebrations.”
Al Shamsi added: The event was part of the authority's 2020 strategy, which includes many cultural initiatives for our passengers and our staff, geared towards enhancing the level of services provided by the airport.”
Since its inception, KwB has distributed over 2 million books through its many initiatives, and also set up free home libraries in more than 42,000 Emirati households in Sharjah.
KwB was launched by HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah and is led by Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Head of the KwB Organising Committee.
By further cementing Sharjah's status as the region’s cultural capital through its extensive educational programmes and school and library activities, KwB aims to highlight the importance of reading for childhood development and broaden cultural understanding in the community.