Photo by NYUAD Library

OSR Launches the Global Collection at the NYU Abu Dhabi Library

The Global Collection in the NYUAD Library promises a reduction of barriers through the introduction of community-recommended, linguistically diverse literature.

Nov 13, 2022

On Oct. 4, the NYU Abu Dhabi Library launched the Global Collection in collaboration with the Office of Social Responsibility. Next to the Center of Academic Technology area, a new collection of books is open to the entire NYUAD community: students, staff, faculty, researchers, as well as contracted and domestic colleagues.
This project was inspired by an initiative by Class of 2014 alumni, Jin U Bak, in which students’ used books were sold to collect funds in order to purchase English books for OSR’s Adult Education Program.“The Global Collection was inspired by that initiative that promotes sustainability but also giving back to the community,” shared Aasna Sijapati, Assistant Instructor at the OSR.
The project started this summer, when the OSR sent a survey to contracted staff asking them what languages, authors, and titles they would like to read. From the approximately 35 responses to the survey, the OSR team created a list that was sent to the Library Team. “The main goal of the collection is to provide resources to our contracted staff colleagues, books that interest them in the most commonly spoken languages within our contracted staff colleagues,” shared Beth Russell, Associate Director of Research Services and Strategy.
Abilash Kurup, Acquisitions Library Assistant, led the curation of the collection with Justin Parrott, Librarian for Acquisitions and Middle East Studies. Renji Jacob, Associate Director for Library Administration and Access Services, explained that to acquire the books, the team reached out to various vendors from known publishing houses to smaller independent distributors in different countries such as India and the Philippines. Once in the NYUAD Library, Rawan Shaaban and Yuxuan Li, Student Assistants at the OSR, collaborated with the Library Team in cataloging and organizing the books by language, which proved to be difficult as the collection included books in more than 10 languages, including Urdu, Malaysian, Punjabi, Tagalog, and more.
“The collection functions on an honorary system, which means that everyone can consult and borrow any book without limits on number for however long, based on trust that people will bring it back on good conditions,” shared Aasna Sijapati.
“The library is usually known as a place for students, and having this kind of collection fosters connection and inclusion, it’s a community building project,” said Rawan Shaaban. For Yuxuan Li, this project is important because it offers a space for contracted colleagues, the people that support us every day, to relax and enjoy reading without having to worry about the process of borrowing a book or having to buy one. The Global Collection is located inside the library, to invite contracted colleagues to engage with a space that is for them as much as it is for students, to make the library more accessible and strengthen a sense of community. “We are all one family,” said Jacob.
“We wanted to remove barriers,” added Beth Russell. The project aims to enforce the sense of community among all members of NYUAD, beyond the individual titles of contracted colleagues, faculty and staff, students, researchers, etc., by facilitating a system of equal exchange and enjoyment.
With only a month into its launching, the Global Collection has already received many visitors. “My favorite part was having a domestic worker colleague bring the kid she was looking after,” shared Aasna Sijapati.
Although the collection is primarily aimed at contracted colleagues and domestic workers, it is open to the entire NYUAD community. The OSR and Library Teams hope to grow the collection through the feedback provided by the community with a suggestion box for recommendations of books, in any language, that community members would like to find in the collection.
Scarlette Jimenez is Deputy News Editor. Email her at
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