A draft strategy and action plan on Public Library Development was presented in anticipation of work on a new legal framework.
5.3.4 Literature and libraries
A Law on the Compulsory Donation of Books was approved in 1992. The Law provides a legal basis that supports and co-ordinates the activities of libraries. Publishers are obliged to deposit five copies of each of their publications at the National Library.
The development of libraries in Albania must be widely based on the Constitutional right of the citizens to have free access to information (Article 23 of the Constitution), also reformulating the rights of users in compliance with the International Convention on Human Rights.
Library Act No 8576, approved on 3/02/2000, provides the legislative and the institutional framework relating to the funding and management of public libraries in Albania. It has been perceived as a unique Law in the whole national system of libraries; the scope of its operation is broad and comprehensive. The Law provides for the functioning of libraries as a unique national network and also considers them to be an integral part of the national system of information.
The Law recognises the particular responsibility and role of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports to provide strategies and policies for the development of the national system of libraries, regardless of which other authority or agency is responsible for them.
According to Library Act No 8576 03/02/2000, Article 14, amended on the 08 April 2004 by the Act No 9217, Article 5, provides for the establishment of the National Council of Libraries as the advisory body to the Minister. It provides advice and recommendations related to the training of librarians, infrastructure needs of public libraries, as well as setting the norms and rules regarding the standardisation of library services in Albania. The National Council of Libraries assists the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports to draft and implement strategies and policies, as well as to follow the activities of the libraries nationally. The Council consists of representatives from all levels of the national system or network of libraries.
Special legal provision is targeted at public libraries in particular, which considers them to be important local centres, placing a wide range of knowledge and information at the disposal of the users, so that citizens can exercise their democratic rights and play an active role in society.
The Law also guarantees fair relations between the centralised government system and the autonomy of public libraries, setting concrete obligations on the governing bodies of both central and local government.
Special attention is paid to the legal regulation of the activity and the status of the National Library as the major domestic institution in this field. On 30 May 2007, the Draft Strategy and Action Plan for Public Library Development was presented at the National Council of the Libraries. The strategy takes an important step forward in this field and has to be supported by the necessary legal framework and the establishment of a National Registry for Libraries.
In this framework, Book Act No 9616 approved on 27 September 2006 is another effort to institutionalise and set the rules for the publishing industry which had a fast growth especially after the 1990s. The National Council for Book and Reading Promotion is an advisory structure introduced by Article 8 & 9 and refers to the possibility of more policy commitment towards book publishing, distribution and reading. The establishment of the Register of Publishers, which is provided by this Law, is a step towards formalising this market. Within this framework, publishers are enforced to depose all contracts for publishing, editing, translation and distribution of books at the Albanian Office for Copyright which was created by Copyright Act No 9380/ 28/04/2005. The National Fund for Books provides an opportunity for different authors, writers or editors to be supported in their publishing activities.
Meanwhile there isn't yet any specific law on the phonographic works. Any issues related to this sector is covered by the Archives Act No 9154 06/11/2003 and partially by the Copyright Act No9380 28/04/2005.
It was only after 1991 that independent companies were allowed to open. Prior to 1991, in the field of publishing for example, there were three state publishers which controlled the entire book market. To date, it has been very difficult for independent companies to operate according to market criteria. The new publishing houses, for example, were set up by people who had been working in the state industry and were not able to adjust to market conditions. The book sector still functions mainly through funding from NGOs or Foundations (Soros, Fan Noli Fondation).