Jan 30, 2023

On Tuesday, 31 January 2023, Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (SCHS) is starting the activities of the eighth session of the Used Book Festival from February 1 to 4, 2023 in Palm Garden, on the banks of Khalid Lake in Sharjah. Public benefit associations, government and private agencies and schools, universities and diplomatic missions, and the institutions and groups of society, and its individuals are going to have distinguished participation.

On this occasion, Her Excellency Sheikha Jameela bint Muhammad Al Qasimi, President of SCHS, called on everyone to visit the festival, purchase valuable books, and establish private libraries, at very symbolic prices. She has confirmed that the main objective of the festival is not only the revenues that SCHS always allocates for the benefit of persons with disabilities, but also the cognitive, cultural and social impact that it enhances on the volunteers and the public.

She said, “The sustainability of the organization of the Al-Waraqeen Festival for Used Books by SCHS follows the example of Sharjah cultural approach that His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, established. He aims at upholding culture, encouraging reading and facilitating the acquisition of books”.

She pointed out that the organization of the eighth session of the festival coincided with the "Year of Sustainability" in the United Arab Emirates. SCHS attaches great importance to sustainability and its principles in all its services and activities. Its organization of the eighth session of the Al-Waraqeen Festival for Used Books is an evidence of this importance in SCHS approaches.

She added, “One of the goals of the Waraqeen Used Book Festival is to consolidate the concept of sustainability in reading in particular and in other fields in general among the visitors of the festival to spread culture, health and easiness. Unsustainable consumption and climate change are still among the biggest challenges facing humanity. Thus adopting the idea of sustainability as a way of life, whether through accustoming the individual to continue reading and acquiring books, and accustoming the community to donating books for others to read”.

“Through this, we achieve sustainability by preserving the habit of reading, acquiring books from different age groups, and acquiring knowledge and diverse culture. In addition to the great benefit towards preserving the environment, as the circulation and recycling of books reduces the consumption of papers, which results in the least amount of waste possible. In addition, SCHS encourages the sharing of books between friends and family”, added Her Excellency.

The President of SCHS highly appreciated the efforts of volunteers from various schools, universities, centers and public benefit associations, which worked so hard in preparing for the festival. She also welcomed the volunteers of the "Ray of Goodness Convoy" coming to participate in the festival from the Arab Republic of Egypt. She noted that the work of the volunteers as one family and their sincerity is the key to the success of the festival since its inception in 2006, and its sustainability.

About this sustainability, the President of SCHS added, "Since 2020, SCHS has responded to the requests received from the community so that the (Waraqeen Festival for Used Books) become sustainable due to its great success. Accordingly, SCHS decided to organize the “Waraqeen Fair for Used Books” on the first Saturday of every month in continuation for the cultural and cognitive role it plays towards people with disabilities and society.

In addition, she said, “The festival provides an opportunity for voluntary participation during all stages of collecting books, sorting processes, forming shift committees, supervising sales and communicating with the public. In addition, it offers valuable opportunity for visitors of all ages and population groups to acquire books and knowledge and culture”.

Sheikha Jamila explained that naming the “Al-Waraqeen” is a revival of a heritage that dates back to the Abbasid era when the profession of “Al-waraqeen" was copying, correcting and publishing books. In addition to what entails the copying process of binding, gilding and selling paper, pens and inks, meaning that those people were doing what libraries and publishing houses do in our modern era. They print, distribute and sell paper and the necessary writing tools.

SCHS President thanked the institute's partners in organizing the festival: Sharjah Municipality, Sharjah Police General Command, Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority, and Dubai Islamic Bank. Special thanks went to the main sponsors, Sharjah National Oil Corporation, Fast Building Contracting Company, and the media sponsor, Ramal International Company for Advertising and Site Global Company, and to all contributors and volunteers, whether individuals or institutions.