Slovenia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation
5.3.4 Literature and libraries
The Act on Enforcing Public Interest in the Field of Culture (2002) presents the legal basis for the main supportive measures such as public tenders and public calls for financing libraries, literacy culture, translation of classical works of humanistic and literature (see chapter 8.3.1) and working scholarships (see chapter 8.1.3). In recent years, a fairly comprehensive system of financing for book publishing was constructed (see chapter 4.3). Parallel to this, the idea to delegate all executive tasks to a Public Agency has been developed which resulted in the adoption of the Slovenian Book Agency Act (2007). In order to more efficiently organise and combine the currently rather uncoordinated governmental policies in this area, the new Law merged support for the production of books and magazines in the fields of literature and science. However, the main objectives concern the empowerment of expertise in the decision-making process concerning the allocation of public funds and the sustainability of funding, including the diversification of different sources on national and trans-national EU levels. These tasks are now delegated to the Slovenian Book Agency (see also chapter 4.1).
Libraries are regulated by the Librarianship Act adopted in 2001 and amended in 2002.
The Act has four main aims, all of them based on the statutory obligation of municipalities to provide library services for their citizens:
- to orient municipalities towards the provision of library services for their citizens in the optimum manner, either by reaching an agreement with the nearest library to provide these services on the basis of a contract. This means founding a branch unit of a larger library or founding an independent library. The latter must be large enough to cover the needs of at least 10000 inhabitants - library professionals have estimated that an entity of this size has sufficient professional and economic strength to develop successfully in its environment;
- to regulate the regular and stable funding of public libraries. This chiefly involves two issues. The first is ensuring that library services are evaluated according to uniform criteria, so that the financial obligations of municipalities for a given range of services are known. The second, in the case of a library being jointly founded by two or more municipalities, ensuring that the coordination of shares of funding between these municipalities does not threaten the normal operation of the library. If the municipalities are unable to reach an agreement, the number of inhabitants of the individual municipalities shall be taken into account. To avoid everything being based on compulsion, the state provides incentives for municipalities by co-funding the annual purchase of books and the process of digitalisation. Out of 220 books per 1 000 inhabitants 90 of them were bought by state funds in 2005;
- to develop a national bibliographic service as the infrastructure for the library system. The COBISS has been in place since 1990 and continues to develop, and although there is a question regarding prestige or hierarchy in the relationship between the National Library and the Service, they have been able to work in a synergetic way. There is a healthy competitive relationship between the two institutions regarding the purchasing of new products; and
- to establish a uniform system for the National Library, which means continuing to provide a supply of library services across the whole of Slovenia, a high level of professionalism in the work of librarians (library studies at university level and constant training provided by the National Library), a developmental role for the National Library and the Librarians Society of Slovenia and the inclusion of large regional libraries as the pillars of the public library network.
In 2006, a new Legal Deposit Act (Official Gazette No. 69/2006) was adopted. Its main novelty is that it reduced the number of legal deposits to the national library from 16 to 4, with some exceptions concerning the publications that are produced with public support, which remain at 16.The funding for a deficit compensation for legal deposits was provided in the amount of 400 000 euros and therefore the total amount of financing to purchase materials was increased in 2006. The Act includes a provision on collecting electronic internet publications, which is one of the first such statutory provisions among EU member states.
Chapter published: 02-02-2011