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.
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.
Table 5: Basic data on libraries by type, 2019
|National||Tertiary educational institutions||Specialised||Other non-specialised||Libraries – national institutions||Public libraries|
|Number of libraries||1||67||47||3||5||52|
|Capacity of seats||254||2 234||188||56||40||784|
(number of copies)
|1 151 552||1 022 473||286 390||31 290||310 913||1 280 798|
Source: State Statistic Office: News Release No. 126.96.36.199 / 2020