Last week, the American Library Association (ALA) Washington Office hosted librarians from Lebanon who are visiting the United States to learn about library practices and futures. Our visitors, May El Okaily Ep Riad Hassan (Baakleen National Library) and Carole Sahyoun (Library of the Municipality of Zahleh), are participants in the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. Through short-term visits to the U.S., foreign leaders in a variety of fields experience our country firsthand and cultivate professional relationships.
The visitors’ agenda was wide-ranging with particular interest in digital content and technology. Topics included ebooks, online databases, webinars, digitization, maker spaces, 3D printing, and libraries as publishers. Also discussed were library advocacy and various aspects about ALA.
Adam Eisgrau, Carrie Russell, Charlie Wapner, and I represented ALA. Hosting visitors from abroad is a regular responsibility of the Office, and we’ve met with librarians from many other countries around the world.