The State of the Libraries System in Romania by the Year 2011: Legislation

  • The general framework of the organisation and functioning of the national system of libraries, system made of 2 national libraries, public libraries, among which 42 county libraries, 51 municipal libraries, 204 city libraries, and 2.558 commune libraries, along with 56 anniversary libraries, 41 libraries belonging to the House of the Teachers Stuff, 277 school libraries and 37 specialised libraries, is regulated by the Library Act, passed in 2.002. There were not major modifications until last year, 2010, when anti-crisis measures for the public domain have been adopted, two of them with severe consequences:
    • The reduction with 25% of the budgetary administrative personnel, including librarians;
    • The cutback of the salaries with 25% in 2010, and with 10% in 2011.

These measures could not have been adopted without legislative modifications, among which the Library Act, which established the compulsiveness on the part of the local regional authorities to finance a librarian employee for 2.500 inhabitants in the rural area, and a librarian employee for 5.000-7.000 inhabitants in the urban area.  

The following are the negative consequences affecting the national system of libraries:

    • The dissolution of 178 public libraries in the rural area;
    • The restructuring of the working schedule in rural area, by two working days per week for 1.279 public libraries, the libraries being used in the administrative activity of the mayories;
    • The decrease of the professional potential of the whole national system, especially of the service of the public lecture, due to the personnel’s reduction.

The administration of Romania represents: communes (rural area): 2.686, of  10.139.000 inhabitants; 103 municipalities; 216 cities, included in 41 counties and the Bucharest municipality.

Envisaged Legislative Promulgations. In a near future, between 1 and 3 years, the following acts are about to be promulgated:

  • The first act is the Act of the Bucharest Metropolitan Area, which is envisaged to be adopted by the end of the year 2010. It has passed the first legislative chamber of the Romanian Parliament, namely the Deputy Chamber and it shall be discussed in the second chamber, the Senate.

Nowadays Bucharest municipality has 228 square Km, being divided in 6 administrative sectors, having each its own city hall. As a demographic structure, Bucharest city is the sixth in the European Union, with 2.001.192 inhabitants.

According to the new Act, the Bucharest metropolitan area shall have 2.800 square Km, and within 3 years shall grow to 3.800 square Km. In the first phase, 60 localities shall be included in the metropolitan area, with a population of 583.409 inhabitants, which together with Bucharest city shall amount to 2.584.601 inhabitants.

This act is going to have an important consequence upon the structure of the Metropolitan Library of Bucharest, and the 60 public libraries of the communes shall become branches of our institution. As a major consequence, the service of the public lecture shall be accordingly structured to serve the new regional organization.

  • The second envisaged act for the following 3 years is related to the administrative reform which envisages the establishing of 8 administrative euro-regions and, probably, the dissolution of the 41 extant counties. As a consequence of this projected dissolution, 32 county libraries shall certainly disappear.

Florin ROTARU
General Director
Metropolitan Library of Bucharest

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