Healthcare libraries in Saudi Arabia: analysis and recommendations

Ahmad Khudair (Department of Information Science, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
David Bawden (Department of Information Science, City University London, London, UK)

Aslib Proceedings

ISSN: 0001-253X

Publication date: 12 July 2007



The paper aims to gain a detailed understanding of the current health library/information environment in Saudi Arabia, to identify problems, issues, and areas for improvement, to make recommendations for improvement, and to instantiate these in models and prototypes.


A mixed method empirical approach is used in 11 health libraries, including literature survey, institutional profiling, questionnaire, interviews, non‐participant observation, and examination of documents. A model for supporting change management in Saudi health libraries is proposed, and a prototype for a Saudi Health Information Network is developed.


The healthcare libraries are well‐used, and appreciated by their users, and the staff are generally satisfied with their work. Problems and issues are identified: use of information communication technologies and digital resources; lack of proactive information services; education, training and continuing professional development for health library work; limited strategic planning and policy for these services. Recommendations are made for improvements.

Research limitations/implications

The empirical research is limited to health sciences libraries in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. The prototype health information network has not been evaluated by users.

Practical implications

Recommendations are made to enable the government of Saudi Arabia and its various agencies to support improvements in the existing health sciences libraries and information provision.


This is a detailed study of the health library environment in Saudi Arabia, illustrating factors typical of the situation in many other countries. The paper outlines a novel organisational change model and prototype national health information network.



Khudair, A. and Bawden, D. (2007), "Healthcare libraries in Saudi Arabia: analysis and recommendations", Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 59 No. 4/5, pp. 328-341.

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Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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