COMPENDIUM CULTURAL POLICIES AND TRENDS IN EUROPE
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FYR of Macedonia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation  

5.3.4 Literature and libraries

After the privatisation of the state-owned publishing houses (12) in 1995, the period of transition saw the appearance of many new publishers. The number of entities registered for publishing activities reached 250-300. The financial resources that were allocated for publishing increased, both in the official language and in the languages of the minorities: Albanian, Turkish, Vlach etc.

Government support is accomplished through the traditional forms of annual open competitions for financing of publishing projects. The Ministry of Culture continually allocates financial resources for the stimulation of literary creative work. These resources are intended to support authors (paying author's fee, literary awards) and publishers (preparation and printing expenses).

In the period 2008-2015, the Ministry of Culture and the former government supported publishing hundreds of thousands of books in several so called capital editions ("Macedonian literature through the centuries", with 130 volumes, that cost 24 million MKD / 400 000 EUR; "100 Nobel prize winners in the Macedonian language", which cost approximately 500 000 EUR; "The stars of world literature"; "130 volumes of Macedonian literature in the English language", etc.). However, the new Government found out that the funds were spent while the books stayed in the basement of several cultural institutions and never reached the potential users (libraries, school, universities, etc.).

Table 10: Published books and brochures (by language and circulation)

 

2013

2014

Total

864 (724.000)

924

706.000)

Macedonian

689

(571.000)

811

(650.000)

Albanian

77

(100.000)

27

(15.000)

Turkish

7

(6.000)

3

(3.000)

English

13

(5.000)

14

(5.000)

In several languages

75

(41.000)

63

(30.000)

Other languages

3

(1.000)

6

(4.000)

Until 1992, the municipalities (the local government) acted as founders of the public libraries (32). The government established the National Library as a public institution in 1945 and financed it completely. In the period of transition all public libraries were completely financed from the Budget of the Ministry of Culture.

Table 11:   Basic data on libraries by type, 2016

 

National

Tertiary   educational institutions

Specialised

Other   non-specialised

Libraries   - national institutions

Public   libraries

Number of libraries

1

62

52

3

6

51

Capacity of seats

535

1404

436

246

135

572

Books(number of copies)

1 131 071

1156480

339064

90050

596720

1252863

Source:  State Statistic Office: News Release No. 2.1.17.31 / 2017

Table 12:   Libraries, number and members*

Libraries

2010

2013

2016

Libraries – number

62

62

57

Members

62000

102375

43 00

Source:  State Statistic Office: Macedonia in Figures 2018
*             Only national and public libraries.

In order to successfully cover the city area, the Skopje City Library "Miladinovci Brothers" still uses the so called "library-bus" - a specialised van that brings books to most distant villages in the area. This "library-bus" now has 1 500 registered users (mostly children) who pay a symbolic membership fee of 50 MKD (0.90 cents) per year.  

In 2008, the Ministry of Culture announced a new measure to improve the book funds for libraries: every publisher is obliged to give (without any compensation) to the National and University Library 110 copies of the books that were supported by the Ministry of Culture. Most of the publishers were surprised by this measure, saying that it will decrease the financial help that they get from the state. It is estimated that this new measure will provide around 30 000 new books per year for the libraries.

In 2009, a new wing, measuring 15 000 sqm, was opened at the National and University Library at a cost of 86 million MKD (1.5 million EUR).

As a result of good co-operation between the Macedonian National Library in Skopje and the "Yunuz Emre" Institute from Ankara (Turkey) in the project "Reconstruction of the Balkan cultural heritage", 3 544 manuscripts and 1 000 fragmented pages (in total of 900 000 pages) in Arabic, Turkish and Persian language were digitalised in 2013. In the second phase of the project an electronic and a printed catalogue will be published.


Chapter published: 12-02-2019

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