SEK 250 million for better libraries throughout the country
The Government proposes that SEK 250 million be allocated each year in 2018–2020 to increase the range and accessibility of library activities throughout the country. A total of SEK 25 million per year of this investment will be provided to the cultural cooperation model, which allocates funds to libraries and activities to promote reading and literature. The Budget Bill for 2018 is based on an agreement between the Government and the Left Party.
“Now, as the icy winds of polarisation and deliberate disinformation blast against us, we need welcoming spaces full of knowledge and guidance. Those who are serious about important concepts like freedom of opinion need to ensure that libraries are open, accessible and staffed. The Government is now demonstrating its firm belief that libraries are a guarantee for a living democracy,” says Minister for Culture and Democracy Alice Bah Kuhnke.
The Swedish Arts Council will be instructed to implement the initiative and allocate the funds.
Over time, the number of public libraries and library branches has declined, which is an alarming trend. At the same time as the number of libraries is declining, there has also been a drop in the number of visits and physical loans, and proportion of the population who are active borrowers.
More libraries will enable more people to borrow books and read newspapers. It will also give more people access to other library activities, such as ‘language cafés’, reading-promotion activities, lectures and exhibitions.