As a charitable, cultural and knowledge institution, the King Abdul-Aziz Public Library seeks to make information sources available to beneficiaries and to harness all available potential.
The library has been a unique knowledge model for over more than three decades, with capital of over two million cultural and knowledge items, and an annual income estimated at about 33,000 male and female readers from all segments of society. This has yielded knowledge profits, starting with a Saudi generation that is fully aware of what is going on around it. The Library has moved beyond the weaknesses of libraries and other knowledge-based institutions like itself, keeping pace with development, particularly in its attitudes towards the wide range of communities that it serves, at the forefront of which are children. It has established a library service wing for this segment of society at the main library, which has quickly been transformed through successive expansions into an independent library with all the constituents of a library, including educational, cultural and recreational facilities as the first children’s library in the Kingdom. This is in accord with the desire of its founder and patron the late King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz when he was the Crown Prince, who founded it and was pleased to open it as part of the expansion of the Library on 27 November 1995 (5 Rajab 1416 AH).
This was followed by the creation of another children's library at the Library Branch in the historic King Abdul-Aziz Centre, alongside the Men's and Women’s Libraries. Here, picture books and colouring books are made available along with tapes, drawings and games, etc., as well as specialised children's libraries, where it seeks to realise its ambition to attract the widest audience, recognizing the importance of childhood, which is the most critical stage in the development of human life, and the most important pillar of all communities’ human development efforts.
The children's libraries serve the city of Riyadh through two branches: the Services and Reading Rooms Branch on Kharius Road and the King Abdul-Aziz Historical Centre Branch in Al-Al-Murabba’ District. They are characterized by their continuing efforts to strengthen the relationship between children and writers, to accustom children to recreational reading, to deliver a book suitable for their junior users in the different sciences to satisfy varying attitudes and interests, and to offer a range of weekly, monthly and quarterly cultural services and activities. The children's libraries receive junior female users between the ages of five and fifteen and male users between the ages of five and ten, as well as school visits in the morning, which are stimulating increasing interest and uptake.
Children's libraries have initiated early provision of literacy and cultural services for children in Riyadh to support the process of primary education in schools and other educational institutions in the country. They encourage children to read by simulating their imagination and through many activities that develop their skills and reveal their talents through special events, regular programmes and cultural competitions throughout the year to draw them into reading, which is the key to developing children's minds. This stimulates new ideas and creativity in the various fields of literature and culture through information obtained from printed and audio-books. The Library provides all these services free of charge.
In a pilot initiative, the first of its kind in the Kingdom and the Arab World, the Library has established the Children's Book Club, a cultural not-for-profit virtual project, through which the Library seeks to deliver the right book to every child as a contribution to the cultural development of society, to enhance children's self-confidence, to build up their ability to make good choices and to overcome the difficulties that prevent books reaching them, such as the business of parents and the inability to choose the right book. The club sends its members by mail two books per month for a nominal fee, along with a set of mental and linguistic activities for the child, and a booklet for parents discussing educational issues.
The Library seeks to enrich the cultural and knowledge functions of the Arab Children's Library by publishing and translating books combining distinctive ideas, innovative drawings and rich language, and through fostering and encouraging writers and illustrators by sponsoring their writing and drawing talents so as to produce knowledge and contribute to the building of our culture.
The library has developed a section to publish children's books, which is supervised by the Book Evaluation Committee composed of a group of specialists, who evaluate the texts and illustrations that come into the section and give the writer or illustrator the instructions necessary to develop the text or drawings as necessary. The committee also nominates a number of books selected from international literature that are distinguished by their content and illustrations, for translation and presentation to the Arab child.
In this unique way, the King Abdul-Aziz Public Library has always sought to strengthen the knowledge systems of children by continuously seeking to bridge the relationship gap between children and the book, to accustom children to recreational reading, to deliver the right book to its junior users in different sciences so as to satisfy a variety of attitudes and interests, side by side with providing many services and many monthly and quarterly events and activities to its junior users, both boys and girls, in all areas of knowledge.