Regional library reform in Denmark

Just before Christmas last year, the Danish minister of culture Brian Mikkelsen announced a reform of the regional library structure in Denmark.

Up till now there have been 16 regional libraries, one in each of the former counties as well as one in Copenhagen and Frederiksberg respectively. After the municipal reform, the introduction of the national union catalogue,, and a national transportation scheme aiming, as cheaply as possible, to execute the more than two million loans that take place each year between the libraries, it is obvious that a more effective structure could be worked out with fewer regional libraries to perform the tasks.

The reform means that the tasks are now divided between six libraries instead of 16. The six libraries, which will be regional libraries in the future, are the libraries in Aalborg, Herning, Vejle, Odense, Roskilde and Gentofte.

More money for development

The new structure is based on a division of the state superstructure into two main groups:

1. An accumulated set of tasks are placed with a number of selected regional libraries, including supply of books and other non-electronic materials, e-books and digital services

2. A number of tasks are dealt with centrally by libraries, following tender, or by other players, including coordination of net libraries, license negotiations and development tasks.

With the reduction of the number of regional libraries and ensuing administrative simplifications, means will be released to development the public libraries’ Internet service, while at the same time maintaining the present level for the purchase of books. Means will also become available for the continuous innovation of libraries. These tasks can be dealt with by one or several libraries together.

Interim arrangement

The reform will be implemented in two stages with a view to providing the libraries with optimal frames for djustment. The contracts with the present regional libraries, which terminated at the end of 2007, have been prolonged for another year until the end of 2008. From 2009 the number of regional libraries will be reduced to 10. The reform in its entirety starts operating on 1. January 2010.

Jonna Holmgaard Larsen
Danish Agency for libraries and media

jhl AT

Chief Consultant Danish Agency for Culture, libraries