RIYADH — Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture has launched an initiative to develop public libraries in the Kingdom.

The initiative, which was launched recently by Minister of Culture Prince Badr Bin Abdullah Bin Farhan, will be overseen by the Libraries Authority.

As part of the initiative, the ministry seeks to transform public libraries into cultural hubs with a comprehensive and modern social concept, in which all patterns of cultural creativity converge and where individuals from different segments of society find what enables them to gain knowledge, and participate and interact in an integrated cultural experience.

This initiative was launched following a field study conducted by the Libraries Authority on the current status of public libraries in the Kingdom.

Based on the study, the authority prepared a development plan extending up to 2030, during which it aims to set up 153 public libraries in all regions of the Kingdom. The first 13 libraries are set to be completed in 2022, while the rest will be completed by 2030.

All new public libraries will be based on the same comprehensive concept that focuses on the merger between the cognitive roles of public libraries and the cultural roles of “cultural houses”.

It also includes investing in public libraries to enhance the concept of “cultural houses” that was announced by the ministry in its vision and orientation document.

According to the new concept, public libraries will have several main components: a public library for book and knowledge seekers, an integrated theater through which theatrical plays and music performances are presented and include screens for visual and cinematic performances, as well as multi-purpose halls, training rooms to host various workshops, and open areas for reading and public facilities that make visiting public libraries an integrated cultural experience.

The initiative’s vision has been formulated to ensure that public libraries are a potential beacon for intellectual enrichment and cultural development.

The initiative of the Libraries Authority aims to make public libraries interactive platforms that contain all kinds of arts, and embrace all creative people with their various specializations within one framework in addition to its main role of providing knowledge.

Hence, with this comprehensive concept, public libraries will become beacons of cultural radiation in the regions where they are located. The authority is scheduled to begin implementing the initiative under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture and within the context of the comprehensive project for the advancement of the Saudi cultural sector, which is organized and managed by the ministry.

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