In Italy there are 46 public State libraries managed directly by the Department of Libraries and Copyright of the Ministry of Culture. They perform the functions indicated by decree 417/1995, including the collection and conservation of Italian publishing production and the growth and enhancement of historical collections. As for the non-State bibliographic heritage, with the d.l. n. 78/2015 converted with law 125/2015, its protection, up to that moment exercised by the bibliographic superintendences of the regions, has been assigned to the State. Later, with Ministerial Decree 23 January 2016 n. 44, Archival and Bibliographic Superintendences were established in all regions, with the exception of those with a special statute. They provide for the protection and enhancement of archival and library assets in the area of competence, functionally depend on the Department of Archival and Library Collections and can make use of the staff of Public State Libraries. Libraries have also been affected by the digital transformation process, as in 2005 the “Internet culturale” portal was inaugurated with the aim of making catalogues and digital collections of Italian libraries available. Lastly, the creation of “Alphabetica“, the new portal of Italian libraries created by the Central Institute for the Single Catalogue of Italian Libraries (ICCU) should be mentioned. This portal, which has been online since December 16, 2021, allows you to consult the information databases managed by the ICCU as well as the digital materials stored by the Italian libraries that adhere to the National Library Service.
As for the publishing sector, in 2020 the new law on books came into force, namely the l. n. 15/2020 on “Provisions for the promotion and support of reading”. This intervention, as can be seen from the title of the law, aims to promote reading and the fight against educational poverty. It provides for the creation of a National Action Plan for the promotion of reading, with an endowment of 4,350,000 euros per year starting from 2020. Municipalities and regions can join this Plan through the stipulation of local reading agreements concerning activities aimed at increasing regular readers in the reference areas (Article 3). The other interventions envisaged by the first part of the law meet the same purposes, such as the establishment of the Italian Book Capital (Article 4) and the “Carta della Cultura”, worth 100 euros to be used by disadvantaged families for the purchase of books (Article 6). The law also introduces important innovations regarding discounts on the sale price of books, reducing its maximum limit to 5%, from the previous rate of 15%. Bookstores can organize promotions with a 15% discount limit only once a year and in the months established by a specific ministerial decree. Furthermore, the possibility for publishers to run promotions one month a year (never December) is confirmed, but the discount limit has been lowered from 25 to 20%. These provisions have been welcomed by small publishing houses and small bookstores that cannot afford competition based on strong discounts, such as those applied by the giants of the web. Publishers, producers and persons in any case responsible for a publication are also obliged to deposit a certain number of copies with designated institutes. The reference legislation is contained in Law no. 106/2004 on “Rules relating to the legal deposit of documents of cultural interest intended for public use” and in the subsequent “Regulation containing rules on the legal deposit of documents of cultural interest intended for public use” (Presidential Decree No. 252 of 3 May 2006). While the law specifies in Article 1 that “[…] documents intended for public use and usable by reading, listening and viewing, whatever their technical production, edition or dissemination process […]” are subject to mandatory filing, the regulation clarifies the methods by which the deposit must take place, providing for this purpose a National Archive (consisting of the 2 central national libraries of Florence and Rome), and a Regional Archive (consisting of a multiplicity of territorial depository institutions).
Comments are closed.