This is the first qualitative phenomenological study to investigate the state of leadership in Saudi libraries. Data were collected through in-depth interviews with 14 library leaders or section heads in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Library leadership was found to be strongly associated with management skills, visionary thinking, teamwork, and mentorship. While almost half the participants could not differentiate between library leadership and library management, "personal attributes and skills" emerged as top assets of a library leader. Identity crises and cultural issues were identified as major challenges. Possible solutions were creating and developing user-focused services and spaces, continued professional development programs for library staff, seeking new avenues for public-private partnerships, and promoting information literacy programs. The Saudi Library and Information Association, Saudi library schools, and deanships of library affairs in Saudi universities should increase collaboration and offer more continued professional development and higher education opportunities for senior and mid-career librarians. Such steps will help to align library services with the current and ever-changing needs of library users.


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pp. 437-454
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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