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The National Library of Spain was provided with financial autonomy and the right to raise revenue in July 2014.

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Spain/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation  

5.3.4 Literature and libraries

Libraries are regulated by the 1985 Historical Heritage Act, which gives a brief definition of these bodies and the terms under which they are set up, administered and coordinated, together with indications on how people can use their services. The 1985 Historical Heritage Act is complemented by a series of nationwide regulations governing such matters as specialist arm's length institutions, with specific details on, for example, state-owned libraries and how books are to be loaned. With the objective of providing the National Library of Spain with the financial autonomy and the capacity to generate revenues that the Prado Museum and the Reina Sofía National Museum and Art Centre enjoy, a project of an act to regulate this institution was approved in July 2014. The project also gives back to the National Library of Spain its former status of Directorate-General (lost in May 2010).

As far as regional legislation is concerned, the dominant trend is to approve individual laws for libraries independently of national heritage legislation. The Communities with their own library laws are: Andalusia (8/1983 Act repealed by the 16/2003 Act), the Valencian Community (10/1986 Act annulled by the 4/2011 Act), Aragon (8/1986 Act), Castile-Leon (9/1989 Act), Castile-La Mancha (1/1989 Act repealed by the 3/2011 Act), Galicia (14/1989 Act repealed by the 5/2012 Act), Madrid (10/1989 Act) La Rioja (Act 4/1990 Act), Murcia (7/1990 Act), Catalonia (4/1993 Act), Extremadura (6/1997 Act), Cantabria (3/2001 Act), Navarre (32/2002),Balearic Islands (19/2006 Act) and Basque Country (11/2007 Act).

Book publishing had been the subject of a specific piece of legislation in 1975, the so-called Book Act. Among other things it introduced the fixed book price. This was partly relaxed in 1998, when booksellers were entitled to offer a discount of as much as 12% on the official retail price of primary and secondary schoolbooks and related teaching aids. In 2000, all price controls on schoolbooks were lifted. This double system of fixing book prices and making schoolbooks free of charge has been included in the Act for Reading, Books and Libraries passed in June 2007. Besides the establishment of this double system of prices, the Act, which replaced all previous regulations, created a Reading and Book Observatory and included royalties for library loans, following the rules of the European Union. The aims of the Act are threefold: to promote reading, to defend cultural diversity in order to provide mechanisms which guarantee a plural supply of publishing companies and bookshops, and to adapt the book concept to changes facilitated by new technological changes (see also chapter 4.2.3).

Subsequently, Royal Decree 2063/2008 adapted the ISBN rules to the new concept of books established in the 10/2007 Act. For the first time, this Decree enabled editors, through their associations and appropriate agreement with the Ministry of Culture, to make an ISBN allocation by adopting the management model used in almost all European countries. More recently, the government approved the 23/2011 Legal Deposit Act aimed to adapt the current legislation to the reality of the state of autonomies, the emergence of new media, as well as to the changes in the publishing sector.

Various schemes for encouraging book reading have been explored at both central and regional government levels, such as the Maria Moliner Campaign to promote reading in towns of under 50000 inhabitants, which has been organised by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport) since 1998, or the Plans to encourage reading that have been implemented by the regional governments in Andalusia (2000-2004, 2005-2010, 2012-2013), Extremadura (2002), Castile-La Mancha (2005), Murcia (2005), Madrid (2006) and Catalonia (2008, 2011), among others. Some Autonomous Communities also have their own laws for books and reading. This is the case in Madrid (5/1999 Act), Valencia (3/2002 Act), Galicia (17/2006 Act) and Castile-La Mancha (3/2011 Act).

Chapter published: 24-06-2015

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