Umm Al-Qura University

Umm Al-Qura University

Final Communiqué and Recommendations of Seminar on “Private Libraries in KSA ‘Current Reality and Future’”

Makkah al-Mukarramah

Muharram 14 - 15, 1435 Hijri

November 17 - 18, 2013


In the framework of cooperation between Umm Al-Qura University and King Abdulaziz Foundation for Research and Archives (Darah), represented by Makkah History Center, the scientific seminar on private libraries in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ‘current reality and future’ was held on Muharram 14 - 15, 1435 Hijri, corresponding to November 17 - 18, 2013, in King Abdulaziz grand hall in Umm Al-Qura University, Al-Abidiah District, Makkah. Seminar goals were defined as follows:

  • Recognizing the current situation of this kind of libraries in the Kingdom and the problems they face, especially the problems related to poor use of diverse resources;
  • Suggesting methods for using, developing and activating the role of private libraries and highlighting their importance; and
  • Suggesting practical methods for drafting a national project that serves these libraries and for making them suitably available.


Research points of the seminar included:

  • Private libraries “current situation and problems”;
  • Private libraries in the context of a national system for information;
  • Digital environment challenges and the organization and technical handling of groups of private libraries; and
  • Legal and ethical aspects of dealing with private libraries.

The seminar opening ceremony was held Sunday, Muharram 14, 1435 Hijri, November 17, 2013 at 9am, and started with reciting verses of the Holy Quran. The official speakers at the ceremony were:

  • Dr Fahd bin Abdullah Al-Semmari, Secretary-General of King Abdulaziz Foundation
  • Prof. Bakry bin Maatouq Assas, President of Umm Al-Qura University

The ceremony and the scientific sessions of the seminar were attended by a number of officials, scientists, university professors, researchers and students. The opening speech addressed the importance of private libraries as a vital scientific heritage that is rich with treasures of knowledge that should be kept and made use of, as well as the importance of work to revive the cultural activities and the need for establishing deep cooperation with owners of private libraries.

Therefore, Umm Al-Qura University and King Abdulaziz Foundation, under the wise guidance of HRH Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, chairman of King Abdulaziz Foundation and under the supervision of the Minister of Higher Education, took the initiative for enhancing this cooperation on different levels to foster, serve, keep and preserve the private libraries in the Kingdom. The opening speech was concluded with prayer to God to help participants achieve the goals of this seminar.

The seminar included 4 scientific sessions in which 14 scientific papers were submitted by specialized researchers from a number of universities and different scientific institutions in the Kingdom and two panel discussions in which 9 specialized researchers took part. The scientific papers addressed the different aspects of the seminar and were discussed in a warm atmosphere with a remarkable scientific spirit. Participants came out with the following recommendations:

First: As private libraries are national and scientific treasures of great importance and as scientific institutions can’t serve them properly because of poor capabilities, participants recommend launching a national initiative for serving private libraries in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The initiative is to aim at counting, monitoring, serving and digitalizing private libraries and making them available on an e-portal, as well as setting the suitable measures and procedures for presenting them.

They also recommend that a supervisory committee should be formed for the purposes of this initiative in King Fahd National Library, with the membership of King Abdulaziz Foundation, Umm Al-Qura University Deanship for Libraries, Saudi Library Association and Arabic Union Catalog. King Abdulaziz Foundation shall be responsible for presenting this recommendation to the competent authorities for approval;

Second: Encouraging the Ministry of Culture and Information to invite private libraries to take part in local book fairs;

Third: King Fahd National Library shall play a supporting role in publicizing private libraries in the Kingdom and introducing them through a national tool;

Fourth: Saudi public libraries shall provide advisory services and professional support for owners of private libraries in their areas;

Fifth: Issuing a national handbook for private libraries in Saudi Arabia through King Abdulaziz Foundation and Umm Al-Qura University;

Sixth: Holding workshops for owners of private libraries to help them take care of the libraries’ holdings;

Seventh: Honoring owners of private libraries who dedicated their libraries to different scientific entities;

Eighth: Organizing regular exhibitions for showing the rare books owned by private libraries in different cities of the Kingdom;

Ninth: Encouraging deanships of library affairs in Saudi universities to communicate with owners of private libraries in their areas and discuss adopting the written and recommended policy with regard to university libraries dealing with the private libraries and their content and services;

Tenth: Inviting scientific departments for libraries studies and information to guide training students to cooperate with owners of private libraries; and

Eleventh: Organizing an exhibition on private libraries and how to take care of them and publish information about them. The exhibition is to be organized by King Fahd National Library in coordination with the Ministry of Culture and Information.


Participants also took this chance to express their deep gratitude and appreciation to the Minister of Higher Education for sponsoring this seminar and the President of Umm Al-Qura University for his interest in holding this seminar and making it a success, as well as the Secretary General of King Abdulaziz Foundation for the Foundation’s cooperation with the University in organizing the seminar.

Participants also highly valued the great efforts exerted by seminar committees in Umm Al-Qura University, King Abdulaziz Foundation and Makkah History Center for organizing and supervising the seminar in highly amicable atmosphere.

Participants are also pleased to express their deepest gratitude to HRH Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, Chairman of King Abdulaziz Foundation for Research and Archives (Darah), for his generous support for the seminar since its launch and his keen interest in all what serves the documentation of the history and heritage of our blessed country.


Makkah al-Mukarramah,

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Monday, Muharram 15, 1435 Hijri

November 20, 2013