Today, the Libraries Authority launched its strategy for developing the library sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with libraries and their development, and transforming them from just an information container into comprehensive cultural platforms, which embrace activities and events that attract members of society, in addition to its primary role related to developing reading habits, enriching knowledge, and raising the level of information awareness.
The role of libraries
In a press conference held at the King Fahd National Library in Riyadh, the Chief Executive Officer of the Libraries Authority, Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Asim, explained that the strategy of the Libraries Authority was designed to achieve the main role of libraries and the expected social and economic impact of them.
And that “the strategy included multiple initiatives that serve the sector, partners and the general community, believing in the pivotal role that libraries will play in achieving the goals of the Ministry of Culture, which are based on the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, as cultural, developmental, participatory platforms in an attractive environment, working on capacity development, and ensuring continuous education.” Business development, innovation, invention and workforce development, and ensuring international knowledge exchange and cooperation.
In building its strategy, the authority relied on a number of inputs, represented in reviewing more than 110 relevant local, regional and international documents, engaging a large number of internal and external stakeholders, through interviews, workshops and focus groups, and working with local and specialized experts, and a number of experts. In addition to analyzing the challenges of the current situation, reaching a definition of the sector, the tasks and functions of the authority, through which it emerged with an ambitious vision, mission and values, strategic pillars, goals and initiatives, and key performance indicators.
The strategy of the Libraries Authority defined a vision for the library sector represented in “an information society participating in building a knowledge economy and achieving sustainable development goals.” Its mission states: “Empowering the library sector community in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to contribute to economic, educational, social and cultural growth.” While the authority has defined five values: interaction, passion, distinction, trust and creativity.
The strategy of the Library Authority is based on three strategic pillars that will contribute to the growth of the library sector in general and improve performance, including: developing the library sector through planning, developing standards and regulations, studies and statistics, financing and investment, and staff development. While the second pillar was to enhance community participation, to increase the level of information awareness in the Kingdom, by facilitating access to library services, and carrying out awareness and promotion activities to increase community interest in library services. The third pillar dealt with developing administrative and operational efficiency, in order to develop the authority’s capabilities to lead the sector, by ensuring a positive work environment, developing the capabilities of the authority’s employees, and effectively engaging local and international stakeholders.
The strategy came out with 9 main objectives, coupled with the three main pillars, of which four are for the first pillar, which are: supporting the digital transformation of library services, developing sector efficiency, encouraging innovation and investment, and developing a system of financing sources. The second pillar has three objectives: improving access to library services, raising the level of information awareness and promoting literacy habits, and revitalizing libraries as centers of education, culture and community development. And two objectives for the third pillar, namely: providing an attractive work environment, building advanced internal capabilities, and activating local, regional and international partnerships.
The strategy concluded with 35 various initiatives, which it will work on according to specific phases, aiming to create a growing movement in the library sector at multiple levels. The initiatives are: the initiative to design and build a public digital library, the children’s digital library initiative, the public library automation initiative, the initiative to build an electronic platform for private libraries, the initiative to develop standards and guidelines for libraries, to propose regulations and regulations, and the initiative to build databases for the library sector in the Kingdom, and to participate in a key role in Developing national plans, and establishing a center for studies and research.
The tertiary sector
The Authority’s initiatives included an initiative to empower the third sector, in addition to an initiative to design and build a digital platform for marketing investment opportunities, an initiative for business models for public-private partnerships, an initiative to stimulate innovation in the library sector, an initiative to attract sponsorships and franchises, an initiative to design and build plans to generate sustainable revenues, and an initiative for models Endowments and endowments.
In addition to the initiative to provide library services in gathering places, the initiative to provide mobile library services, implement the unified card network, design and implement a set of interactive shows for children and young people, develop techniques for interactive reading experiences, implement information games targeting children and young people, and organize national competitions targeting young people. Designing workshops to enhance information awareness, participating in preparing and leading development activities with partner agencies, in addition to developing public libraries, organizing and launching the “National Day for Saudi Libraries”, designing a set of presentations that are based on participation, targeting youth and children, and implementing a set of presentations. Family interaction, empowering library friends, developing social activities for employees, monitoring their happiness level, motivating and developing employees’ competencies by attracting talent, providing best-in-class training courses, identifying and concluding partnerships, registering with major regional and international library associations, and hosting regional and international conferences and workshops .
The strategy set 25 strategic key performance indicators to monitor progress in achieving the nine strategic objectives and the 35 initiatives, and ensure their achievement in accordance with the objectives set by the strategy within the approved time periods.