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DN Debate. The closure of our libraries must be stopped

That the libraries belong to the democratic society's infrastructure is Bibliotekslagens starting point. In recent years the development of society underlines this. Migration, digitisation and complex globalpolitiska context is a major challenge. Demokratifientliga opinion, polarization and falsified information is a growing threat. Libraries have a key role in the defense of the open society.

the starting position is good. Everyone loves the libraries. They are a national asset and is in the top when measuring confidence in various institutions. The ongoing investigation of a National library strategy notes that ”public Libraries are the largest, most visited and the most spread cultural institutions” in the country.

But the situation is nevertheless serious. The gap between the Bibliotekslagens intentions and reality is growing. On point after point, the trend is in the wrong direction. Libraries are evolving, and not settled, is a question of democracy.

just a few years ago, you could hear the headmaster to snort that the books belong to the past. Such was the spirit of the times. But now we know from the surveys that staffed school libraries improves student performance.

Since 1995, more than a quarter of the country's public libraries and branches disappeared, and the closures are continuing at an unabated pace. Biblioteksdödens extent of which is unknown to most. But when a single library is closed this often triggers local protest. Ramsberg in Sweden is another interesting example. Where hid the locals simply avoid the threatened books until the decision to close was changed.

Almost all the key figures in the biblioteksstatistiken pointing down. Besökssiffrorna and lending of both e-books and paper books fall. The physical utlåningsbara the stock plummets, between 2016 and 2017 with a further three million items.

A slentrianmässig explanation is that the development reflects the book's declining role. But it is not true. Studies show that reading remained at stable levels since the turn of the millennium. By far the largest age group among the borrowers is, moreover, children and young people under 25 years.

Both the scientists and librarians know that the downward spirals best are broken by increased supply, a more generous opening hours and a knowledgeable staff. But in most places, the trend is not in that direction. Resources for bibliotekariernas the development of skills that are far below the levels recommended internationally.

In the wake of the defunct youth centers have rowdy young people has become a problem in a part library. At the same time moves the different functions of the society into libraries and could interfere with operations in another way: banking, turistupplysning and services. When forced to the first public library provide the place for postutlämning?

According to the education Act, all pupils have access to a school library. But only half of the students have a library with at least a part-time job. 77 municipalities have no sensible school libraries at all. Refer those responsible to a dirty, but a shelf in a corridor, or a locked storage room in the basement. In practice, they break against the education act, and gets away with it. Other schools have found loopholes in the law and refer the students to the various public libraries.

only a few years ago, you could hear the headmaster to snort that the books belong to the past. Such was the spirit of the times. But now we know from the surveys that staffed school libraries improves student performance.

In the last legislature increased the number of school libraries by targeted government grants. In the Curriculum it was written in that skolbiblioteken should be integrated in the teaching. But it is not enough. The situation is still a disgrace for the Swedish school.

Sweden has still no overall policy for the digitisation of cultural heritage. Why is there no digital library where one can borrow or stream for free to their own computer or e-reader? We have fallen far behind other countries. In Norway, soon all the books that have been published on the Norwegian digitised and freely available to the public.

Get the swedes to view the e-books. But if growth picks up, will public libraries do not keep up with. By incomprehensible reasons, are e-books more expensive than paper books to purchase. E-books are also locked to the library that purchased them and is thus not possible to interlibrary loan. It looks as if the culture industry is actively trying to prevent the idea of the digital library, while the cultural policy, just watching.

If the libraries don't get to take the leap into the digital era and they will lose their importance and slowly fade away.

In Biblioteksrapporten 2017 drew the attention of the KB that citizens no longer have equal access to the library. The differences have become too great. The problem is not just glesbygdsrelaterat but is also caused by that the municipalities value the libraries. When it comes to the stock in public libraries is, for example, the Stockholm county on the clear bottenplats.

the opening Hours will also create unequal conditions. 32 municipalities have no longer a single library that is open after working hours. In addition, is huvudbiblioteken unattended for an average of twenty percent of their hours of operation.

Nacka, sweden has had a public library with private practitioners in six years. When the municipality evaluated the experiment, they could not point to a single advantage. Despite this, they have now put out even the rest of their library on a contract basis. According to a survey in Biblioteksbladet are several municipalities interested in similar privatisations during the term of office.

With private providers reinforced the trend towards market mechanisms, where demand turns out quality standards, the promotion of reading efforts to weaken and it demokratistärkande the mission is damaged at the same time as public scrutiny and staff whistle blowing". A fragmentation of different companies makes it difficult also flexible, fast, user-friendly collaboration systems.

To privatise the libraries involves a misappropriation and avmodernisering in conflict with Bibliotekslagens spirit.

to make the library's future to a cultural policy key issue. Biblioteksdöden must stop, a public library refurbishment, the digital library will be realized and skolbiblioteken be given a clear legal framework so that municipalities can not shirk its responsibility.

We urge the country's politicians from the municipalities to upgrade the libraries ' importance to the local democracy, literacy and litteraturfrämjandet, integration and knowledge so that they can participate as vibrant hubs of local, national and global.

We call on all the inhabitants of the country, together with the Swedish writers ' union safeguarding of the libraries at a time when attacks against the open community grows. For each of the closed libraries, it must be opened at least a new. Keep democracy alive – develop libraries!

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