Library policy in Flanders I

Situation Now
Local cultural policy decree, including public libraries since 2001.
With this Decree, the Flemish government aims to stimulate an integral local cultural policy. Local authorities are assigned a large role in policy making and are responsible for their cultural policy. The Decree includes obligations in the areas of participation and consultation (cultural council) and public libraries.

Every municipality is obliged to have a public library. Other issues in the decree are optional: drawing up or carrying out a cultural policy plan, cultural centres or community centres and inter-municipal cooperation. Municipalities can receive financial support from the Flemish government. Flemish government subsidizes the library staff and local governments also have the possibility to receive a subsidy from the Flemish government for their integration in the regional or national catalogue.
Other costs like infrastructure, collections or ICT are mainly subsidized by the municipalities themselves.

Maarten Vandekerckhove

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