COMPENDIUM CULTURAL POLICIES AND TRENDS IN EUROPE
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Libraries and Reading: Legislation and User Trends

For more information see individual country profiles:

Chapter 5.3.4 "Literature and Libraries"  

 

Countries

Library Act

Public Lending Rights

5Year Trends in Visits to Libraries

5Year Trends in Reading Levels

Austria

Federal Law on the Promotion of Adult Education and Public Libraries
(1973)

YES

Slight increase

-

Azerbaijan

The Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan "On Libraries" (1998)

NO

Given books and magazines (million copies):

in 2000 - 51.3;

in 2007 - 40.7.

Number of readers   (million persons):

in 2000 - 3.0;

in 2007 - 2.4.

Belgium

Flanders: Decree on Local Cultural Policy (2007)

NO

Slight decrease

-

Bulgaria

NO

NO

Decrease in the number of visitors to public libraries (2002 319000 visitors; 2004 - 321000;
2006 - 286000;
2007 - 267000)

No recent data

Canada

Library and Archives of Canada Act

(2004)

YES
Public Lending Right Programme (1986) administered by Canada Council for the Arts

Average number of visits to public libraries stable at approximately 5 per year (150,000 visits/30 million population 2005);
28% participation rate (13% occasional and 15% frequent) GSS 2005; frequency higher for females than men, and for persons under 50 years in age than those older than 50  

Reading books 4th highest cultural participation rate at 66.6% in 1992, 1998 and 2005 General Social Survey (GSS);
Reading books in USA declined from 61% in 1992 to 56.6% in 2002 according to National Endowment of the Arts

Croatia

Law on Library Activity and Libraries (NN105/97, NN 5/98, NN104/00, NN69/09);

 

YES

Total of registered users in year 2004 (last available data from Statistical yearbook 2008) in all libraries in Croatia was 7 242 000 users (Note: one person can be a member of several libraries)

-

Estonia

Libraries Act (1998)

YES
Copyright Act (1992), amendment 2001

Remained steady

-

Finland

Library Act (1998, abrogated the Library Act of 1986

YES
Compensations stipulated in the Act on Grants and Subsidies for Authors and Translators (1961, latest amendment 2006) and since 2006 for phonogramme loans

Remained steady

Substantial drop especially in younger age groups in traditionally high level of readership

France

-

YES
Lending royalties scheme

-

-

Georgia

Law on Library Management (1996)

NO

Significant decrease

Substantial drop traditionally high levels of reading books, especially among younger generations

Germany

In two Länder

YES
(Copyright Law 1972)

Decrease in the number of visits to public libraries

-

Greece

Law no. 3149/2003 (Government Gazette 141/A/10-06-2003) National Library of Greece, Public Libraries and other regulations

NO

Slight decrease

(2004 vs 1999)

Slight increase

(2004 vs 1999)

Hungary

YES
CXL/1997 "Law on Culture" (libraries, museums and local socio-culture)

NO

Slight increase

Remained steady

Ireland

Libraries Act (1947)

NO

Fourteen million visits to Irish public libraries annually

No recent data

Italy

NO

NO

-

While overall readership levels are low there has been a slight increase in reading levels

Latvia

Law on Libraries (1998)

YES

Slighty increasing every year

-

Lithuania

Law on Libraries (1995)

Government resolution passed in 2002

Significant decrease

-

FYR of Macedonia

Law on Libraries (2004)

Law on Copyright and Related rights has article on public lending rights; not implemented

Increasing

Increasing

Malta

Ordinance on Public Libraries (1937, latest amendment 1981)

NO

-

-

Moldova

Law on Libraries (1994)

NO

Slight increase

Slight decrease

Netherlands

NO

Public Lending Right (1996)

Slight decrease*

Slight but steady decrease of   leisure time spent on reading books**

Norway

The Norwegian Library Act

(1985)

YES

Slight decrease

Remained steady

Poland

Act on Libraries (1997)

NO

Remained steady (slight decrease in the cities and increase in the rural areas)

Remained steady with a slight tendency to increase in recent years

Portugal

Law on Public Libraries - National Public Reading Network (1987)

NO

Not possible to indicate trends. In 2007, 17% of Portuguese population use to visit libraries.

Surveys on reading practices (1995 and 2007) show a substantial decrease of non-readers (12% to 5%). Magazine and journal readers tend to increase as well as less frequent book reading practices (1-5 books per year).

Russia

Law on Libraries (1994)

NO

Remained steady

General decrease, book reading habits among the younger degrade, substitution by Internet and other e-reading

San Marino

Regulation on the State Library and Museum (1909, latest amendment 1920); Compulsory Surrender of Printings to the State Library (1957)

NO

Remained steady

Positive trend: slight increase in lending of internal, external and inter-library books

Serbia

Library Law
(1994)

NO

Number of uses has dropped.   Libraries do not have the books users are looking for or they only have one or two copies available for lending.

Remained steady

Slovakia

Act No.183/200 Coll. on Libraries

YES
Collective administration of lending rights and royalties according to Act. No. 618/2003 Coll. (Copyright Act)

Significant decrease of visiting libraries (app. 10%) in 2003 - 2007). In 2007 slight increase (up to 1%) of book lending.

Slight increase of buying books in 2005 - 2007 (app. 2.5 %). Reading books is the second most popular activity of cultural consumption (after watching TV).

Slovenia

Librarianship Act (2001)

YES
Public Lending Right Scheme

Number of users and number of borrowed books have increased.

No comprehensive longitudinal data.

Spain

Historical Heritage Act (1985)

Act for Reading, Books and Libraries (2007)

Many Autonomous Communities have their own library laws.

YES

The proportion of people who visited a library at least once in the past 12 months decreased from 20% in 2002-2003 to 17.6% in 2006-2007.

Readership figures show a slight upward trend (from 49.1% in 2002-2003 to 52.5% in 2006-2007).

Sweden

Library Legislation (1997)

YES
Public Lending Right Scheme

-

While reading trends among adults are increasing, younger people read less.

Ukraine

Law on Libraries and Librarianship (1995,2008)

NO

Slight increase

Remained steady

UK

-

YES
Public Lending Right Scheme

-

-

Source:           Council of Europe/ERICarts, Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe, 14th edition, 2013.
*                                Number of books lent from Public Libraries dropped from some 145 millions in 1998 to some 133 millions in 2002.   The lending of
                                audiovisual material rose slightly from some 6.8 millions in 1998 to almost 7 millions in 2002 (Source: Statistics Netherlands).
**                           Reading books in leisure time in hours per   week 1975: 1.6, 1980: 1.6, 1985: 1.3, 1990: 1.5, 1995: 1.2, 2000: 0.9
                               (Source: Social and Cultural Planning Office).