Secondly: the Social order and the essential funding
The social order for the libraries is issued – but the challenges to meet him are rapidly increasing.
Public libraries are to offer their clients not only different media. They should provide reading areas and computer workstations. Special programs for early childhood language development make children strong word. For adults, there are regular readings and a broad range of trainings.
Libraries would like to perform these tasks across the board. But at the same time the financial resources available for this offer are by far not sufficient.
- Only one in three libraries, for example, regularly renews ten percent of the holdings.
- Only 41 percent of local libraries can afford two media per inhabitant.
- In international comparison the German libraries are under-funded: the per capita spending in Germany is at 8.21 Euros.In Finland they amount is more than 54 Euros, in the U.S. about 27 Euros.
In rural areas there is another problem: Based on calculations by the Library Association in 2007 only one in three communities with 5,000 to 10,000 inhabitants provide a local library.
For example even in Baden-Württemberg – one of the model states where the Library of the Year comes from and the funding of the public libraries in the national comparison is above average – the way to free information is unusually long.
- One in five of Baden-Wuerttemberg, lives in a community without a municipal library
- And those white spots are likely to increase in Germany
- Nationwide in communities with a size of 50,000 or more inhabitants there is a nearly 100-percent coverage with libraries
- But their equipment is significant different: five percent of facilities in communities with 50.000 population or more can spend 3.12 Euros per person for new media
- But 25 percent of the libraries live on less than 90 cents per person
At the same time the importance of the library as a public third place – a place where no need to consume is established – is growing. So I would like to close with the remark, that public libraries therefore need at least three significant improvements:
- much more reliable financial resources
- involvement in education plans and
- the setting of library services as a mandatory task of the municipalities.