The white paper on culture

In August this year the Norwegian government presented their white paper on culture. An important document, which states the premises for the cultural sector for the next decade, 2004-2014.

Three main principles are emphasised:

  • Quality-based funding of the arts and cultural expressions
  • Cultural diversity as a counterbalance against the increasing commercialisation of society
  • Securing the needs of a broad range of user groups.

The library sector
According to the government the main challenge within the library sector is to continue the ongoing process of making the National Library a centre of excellence and an accommodator for research. Another important goal is to develop “the seamless library services”, a term and an objective introduced by the white paper Sources to knowledge and experience. Archives, libraries and museums in a society based on information technology (1999-2000). The overall goal is to establish a co-ordinated network of integrated services meeting the needs of the users, offering the same service regardless of which library she or he visits, thus combining access to actual and virtual collections and services. A major step in developing the seamless library services is the Digital Library of Norway. Finally, the government will initiate a major report on several important issues and challenges within the library sector covering public, academic and special libraries. The task of writing this report will be assigned to The Norwegian Archive, Library and Museum Authority, and is considered very important and challenging. Hopefully, such a report may lead to a major library reform.

The field of literature is of great interest and importance to the libraries. For more than 30 years the purchase programmes for literature have been the main instrument to ensure the existence and increase of Norwegian literature. Annually, several hundred titles are purchased by the Norwegian state and distributed to the public libraries. Until now these programmes have mainly been limited to fiction. However, the government considers this a very successful instrument and therefore recommends an extension in order to include essays and non-fiction. For the library users this means improved library services.

Adviser, Norwegian Archive, Library and Museum Authority