The Danish Public Libraries Act 1964
The Danish Public Libraries Act 1964
Published by Bibliotekstilsynet
PUBLIC LIBRARIES ACT
(Act No. 171 of 27th May 1964)
Part 1. Purpose
The purpose of public libraries is to promote the spread of knowledge, education and culture by making books and other suitable materials available free of charge.
Part 2. Local public libraries
(1) The area served by a public library system shall be a commune or a joint library area comprising two or more communes, cf. section 3, subsections (1) and (2).
(2) All public libraries shall, however, be available to any person who is resident in Denmark. In special circumstances the Library Director [see section 201 may permit certain exceptions to this requirement.
(3) When the size and nature of the area served make it necessary, the libraries should endeavour to establish branches. (4) The libraries may, moreover, establish and run departments in commercial, industrial and other establishments and institutions in their areas or make arrangements for library provision in co?operation with them.
(1) Each commune, either alone or in association with other communes, is required to maintain a public library with a department for children as well as one for adults. Where there is a joint school authority for two or more communes, these should aim at establishing a joint library service. The management of a public library owned by a commune shall be the responsibility of a committee appointed by the commune council. In the City of Copenhagen, however, the management [of the library service] shall be the responsibility of the City Corporation Executive.
(2) In special circumstances the Library Director may give his approval to a scheme under which the obligations of a commune are fulfilled by an agreement with another commune for the service to be provided by the library system of the latter commune.
(3) The provisions of subsection (1) shall not apply where there are (a) a public library which is self?governing or owned by an association [both hereinafter called "non?communal libraries"] and whose area of service at the date on which this Act comes into force is one commune, and (b) a local library association making the library a grant which, together with other private contributions, covers at least one tenth of the library's expenditure. Such libraries shall receive from the commune a sum which, together with any other local income and the state grant, is sufficient for the provisions of this Act to be fulfilled. Each library shall be governed by a committee on which the commune is represented by at least two members of the commune council, nominated by the council. When a non?communal library ceases to provide a library service, its effects shall be transferred to the commune.
(4) In those communes where there is no public library entitled to a state grant at the date on which this Act comes into force, a library service which fulfils the provisions of this Act shall be established before 1st April 1969.
(1) For each public library owned by a commune, the commune council shall prepare by?laws containing information about the area served by the library and the administration of the library, together with requirements for the organisation of book?selection in libraries with full?time staff, cf. section 14, subsection (2). For each non?communal library by?laws shall be prepared containing similar information, together with information about the ownership of the library. The by?laws of non?communal libraries shall be approved by the local commune council and the Library Director.
(2) In libraries with full?time staff a scheme shall also be prepared showing the division of labour, and the scheme shall be confirmed by the committee.
(1) The state shall make a grant to one public library system in each area of service amounting to 45 per cent of the library's total running expenses up to 275,000 kroner, and 30 per cent of running expenses above this sum. For joint libraries and other inter?communal library systems, cf. section 3, subsections (1) and (2), the lower percentage shall, however, only be applied in so far as it would be if the grant were calculated for each commune separately. The grant shall be paid according to the estimates approved by the commune council in the course of the financial year for which it is calculated, and shall be finally adjusted after the end of that financial year on the basis of the library's accounts as certified by the commune council.
(2) Special state grants which may be paid to a library for one financial year according to the provisions of section 18 of this Act or on other authority shall be deducted before the final calculation of the state grant for running expenses for the same or the next financial year is made.
(3) In addition to actual rents, a fixed amount for expenditure on premises in buildings which are owned by the commune or by the non?communal library concerned or which are made available gratis by others shall be included in the running expenses which qualify for a state grant; this amount shall be calculated according to rules laid down by the Minister for Cultural Affairs on the recommendation of the Library Director and the Library Council and after consultation with the local authorities' organisations. An amount approved by the Library Director shall be included for expenditure on lighting and heating for such premises.
(4) A special state grant of up to 50 per cent of expenditure on furniture and fittings for (a) new buildings, or (b) comprehensive rebuilding may be made according to rules laid down by the Minister, provided that such expenditure is kept separate from the library's general estimates and accounts, cf. subsection (1).
(1) If the work of the library is carried out by one or more full?time staff, the head of the library shall be a professionally qualified librarian.
(2) In libraries serving an area with a population of more than 5,000, a full?time librarian and the requisite clerical assistance shall be appointed before 1st April 1969.
(3) In special circumstances the Library Director may grant a dispensation from the requirements of subsections (1) and (2,) for a limited period.
(1) The appointment of the chief librarian of a library with full?time staff shall take place after the Library Director's advice has been sought.
(2) As far as other libraries are concerned, the committee shall inform the Library Director of the impending appointment of a chief librarian.
Part 3. County Libraries
On the recommendation of the Library Director and the Library Council the Minister for Cultural Affairs shall decide which libraries can be recognised as county libraries when this Act comes into force. When making this decision the Minister shall ensure that the district served by the county library is of a suitable size, and that the premises, bookstock and staff of the county library are of such a standard that the special work of a county library can be carried out properly.
Each county library shall assist the local libraries in the county library's district, cf. section 8, by lending or obtaining books and other suitable materials which the libraries concerned do not possess themselves, and by giving advice and technical assistance as necessary. The county library shall, moreover, function as the local public library for its own area of service, cf. section 2, subsection (1).
(1) As far as county libraries owned by the commune are concerned, when the committee referred to in section 3, subsection (1), deals with matters concerning the library service to the communes in the district, it shall be joined by a representative of each of the county councils making a grant [to the county library], nominated by those councils. If the county library is maintained as a non?communal institution, cf. section 3, subsection (3), its committee shall likewise be joined by representatives of the grant?making county council or councils. (2) An advisory liaison committee for county library work shall be appointed for each county library, consisting of the following:
1 member elected by the commune council.
1 member elected by the county council.
The county school adviser.
The chief librarian.
The librarian in charge of county library work.
The librarian in charge of the children's department.
3 representatives of the libraries in the county library district.
If the work of a county library involves more than one county, the committee referred to in section 3, subsection (1) may decide that there shall be more than one county council representative and more than one county school adviser on the liaison committee.
(1) Each county library shall receive, over and above the grant for running expenses referred to in section 5, subsection (1), a special county library grant towards the expenses incurred in the provision of library service to the communes of the district excepting the county library's own commune, according to estimates approved by the commune council and the county council or councils. The county library grant shall not exceed a basic sum of 60,000 kroner plus 2 kroner per inhabitant of the county library district excepting the library's own commune and communes with 20,000 or more inhabitants, both amounts being increased or decreased by 3 per cent for every complete 3 points' variation from 100 in the price index defined in Act No. 83 of 16th March 1963. The state shall pay in advance that part of the county library grant which corresponds to 2 kroner per inhabitant in urban communes with less than 20,000 inhabitants, apart from the county library's own commune, while the rest of the grant shall be made up of equal contributions from the state and the county council or councils concerned. The county library grant shall be paid during the course of the financial year for which it is calculated, and shall be finally adjusted on the basis of the accounts for county library work as certified by the commune council and the county council or councils.
(2) The special grant for the County Library for the County of Copenhagen shall, however, be fixed by the County Council at an amount which is adequate for the scale of the County Library's work, and which must not be less than the state and county grants for county library work budgeted for the financial year 1964/65. The state shall pay half this amount, not exceeding 125,000 kroner, however, and the county the remainder.
(3) A sum shall be included in the annual Finance Act as a grant for the common undertakings of the public libraries of Greater Copenhagen.
(4) An annual grant of 100,000 kroner, increased or decreased by 3 per cent for every complete 3 points' variation from 100 in the price index defined in Act No. 83 of 16th March 1963, shall be paid as a subsidy to Copenhagen City Libraries for loans to other libraries.
Part 4. School Libraries
(1) It should be the aim to establish a school library in every primary school before 1st April 1969 as part of the local education service, and in co?operation with the local public library concerning estimates, book selection and library techniques.
(2) The purpose of a school library is to aid the teaching given in the school and to give all the school's pupils access to useful and stimulating reading matter in such a way that the requisite guidance in the use of books can be given. The commune council shall decide whether books for home reading may be borrowed from the school library or only from the children's department of the public library.
Provisions concerning the organisation of each individual school library and its area of service, including co?operation with the local public library, shall be included in the school plan.
(1) After consultation with the public library committee, the school board (or in Copenhagen the School Directorate) shall establish a school library committee which shall advise the school and library authorities on questions concerning the commune's school libraries.
(2) The school board (School Directorate) and the public library committee shall establish jointly a book selection committee to undertake book selection for the school libraries and the children's department of the public library.
(3) The day?to?day direction of a school library shall be undertaken by a teacher at the school concerned (the school librarian), who shall be appointed on the recommendation of the head teacher concerned.
(4) In communes with several schools one of the school librarians may function as chief school librarian and be established as a school library consultant on the recommendation of the commune council, cf. The School Supervision Act, section 26, subsection (3). For the education service of the City of Copenhagen a school library inspector shall be appointed who without being a school librarian shall supervise the City's school libraries. The Minister of Education may give his approval to similar arrangements in other communes with an education service of an appreciable size. The post of chief school librarian (school library consultant) shall be established in such cases with a salary on Grade 6 of the primary school grades.
A state grant is made to school libraries in primary schools according to the rules specified in section S, subsections (1) - (3). In calculating the state grant a commune's public library and school libraries shall be regarded as one library system. The state grant for the purchase of class sets by school libraries shall at the most be calculated as a percentage of the commune's total annual expenditure on educational materials, including the school library bookstock. This percentage shall be fixed by the Minister of Education after consultation with the Finance Committee of Parliament.
(1) An inter?communal collection containing class sets and other suitable library materials to supplement the collections in the school libraries of the district may be established for each county library district in co?operation with the county library and with the approval of the Minister of Education.
(2) Such collections shall be managed by a committee for whose composition and duties the Minister of Education shall make detailed rules.
(3) The committee may appoint a person to have charge of the day?to?day running of the collection.
(4) The expenses of establishing and running the collection shall be borne by the participating communes in proportion to the number of children in the schools covered by the scheme, unless agreed otherwise in individual cases.
(5) A state grant shall be made to the collections described herein according to the rules specified in section 5 in estimates approved by the Minister of Education. This grant is independent of the grant to the central libraries.
Detailed rules for the establishment, organisation and running of the school libraries, including the inter?communal collections referred to in section 16, shall be made by the Minister of Education after consultation with the local authorities' organisations, and in so far as rules for co?operation with public libraries are concerned, after consultation with the Minister for Cultural Affairs.
Part 5. Special Grants
(1) 21/2 per cent of the grant for running expenses to individual libraries, calculated according to the provisions of section 5, subsections (1) ? (3), shall be retained as a sum set aside for undertakings established for the benefit of all libraries. The part of this sum corresponding to the public libraries' grant for running expenses shall be apportioned by the Minister for Cultural Affairs. The part corresponding to the school libraries' grant for running expenses shall be apportioned by the Minister of Education.
(2) The following special grants shall be included in the annual Finance Act:
(a) A sum for the purchase of books and other suitable materials and for cataloguing and bookbinding which shall be paid to libraries that have established lending branches in military establishments by arrangement with the Ministry of Defence.
(b) A sum as a special state grant to the Merchant Seamen's Library.
(c) A sum as a special state grant to the Central Library for Tubercular Patients.
(d) A sum from which the Minister for Cultural Affairs, on the recommendation of the Library Director, can make grants to individual libraries for the provision of special services and towards the solution of problems in the field of public library service which cannot otherwise be provided for under this Act.
A sum equal to 6 per cent of the grant for running expenses calculated according to the provisions of section 5, subsections (1) ? (3), shall be included in the annual Finance Act. This sum shall be paid into a special fund which has as its object the compensation of Danish authors and others who are represented in the libraries, according to detailed regulations laid down by the Minister for Cultural Affairs. From this sum 100,000 kroner, increased or decreased by 3 per cent for every complete 3 points' variation from 100 in the price index defined in Act No. 83 of 16th March 1963, shall be apportioned as grants to translators, while the remainder of the grant shall be divided among the authors or the dependants of deceased authors as compensation for the use of their books in libraries.
Part 6. The Library Inspectorate and the Library Council
The Library Director, who is head of the Library Inspectorate, shall calculate and apportion the state grants and give the libraries advice and guidance.
(1) The Library Council, of which the Library Director shall be chairman, shall consist, apart from him, of 16 members, namely:
The Chief Librarian of the State Library at Arhus.
The Director of the Danish Library School.
The Director of the Library Bureau.
The School Library Consultant.
1 representative of the Danish Association of Borough Councils.
1 representative of the Union of Rural Commune Councils Associations of Denmark.
1 representative of the Association of Urban Communes.
1 representative of the Danish County Councils Association.
1 representative of the City of Copenhagen.
5 representatives of the Danish Library Association, of whom there shall be one from each of the four groups in section 1 [of the Association] (the public libraries section).
1 representative of the Danish School Library Association.
1 representative of the county librarians.
(2) The members of the Council shall be appointed by the Minister for Cultural Affairs, on the recommendation of the organisations concerned as far as the 12 last named are concerned, the representative of the county librarians, however, being recommended by the Conference of County Librarians. All the appointments shall be for a period of 3 years. Should any of the existing organisations of libraries or librarians be dissolved, or should associations or institutions come into being which may be placed on equal terms with them, the Minister shall decide what should be done concerning the election of representatives to the Council.
(3) The Library Council shall be summoned to a meeting as often as the Minister or the Library Director consider necessary, but in any event not less often than twice a year. Moreover the Council shall be convened whenever at least 5 members request it.
(4) The Library Director shall submit the annual budget to the Council before it is sent to the Minister for Cultural Affairs. Decisions taken by the Library Director according to the provisions of section 2, subsection (2), section 3, subsection (2) and section 6, subsection (3), can be brought before the Library Council.
(5) The Council shall be consulted by the Minister for Cultural Affairs concerning matters of fundamental inportance to the library service referred to in this Act, and the Council can likewise make representations concerning such matters to the Minister on its own initiative.
Part 7. Concluding provisions
The Minister for Cultural Affairs shall prepare Regulations concerning the implementation of this Act on the recommendation of the Library Director and the Library Council, and after consultation with the Minister of Education where school libraries are concerned. The Regulations can moreover contain detailed provisions concerning the establishment, organization and running of public libraries, including general guidance about premises, staff and bookstock etc. for the various types of libraries.
(1) This Act shall come into force on the 1st day of April, 1965.
(2) In the financial year 1965/66 no library shall receive a smaller state grant than that library would have been entitled to in the same financial year under the rules in Official Circular No. 128 of 16th April 1959 containing the Public Libraries Act [1950, as amended in 1956 and 1959].
(3) The Public Libraries Actin. Official Circular No. 128 of 16th April 1959 is hereby repealed.
(4) This Act shall be brought up for revision during the parliamentary session 1969/70 at the latest.
This Act shall not extend to the Faroes and Greenland.
The following brief notes may be useful to readers who are not familiar with Danish institutions and library organisation.
The population of Denmark in 1965 was about 4,700,000. The country is divided for purposes of local government into amter (counties) made up of independent urban and rural communes. The county councils provide certain services for all the rural communes in the county districts, e.g., the "County library" (cf. part 3 of the Act) and hospitals, and levy rates to cover their expenses; other services are provided by the individual communes. The county councils also supervise the rural commune councils, while the urban commune councils come directly under the central administration. The City of Copenhagen has a more independent position than the other urban communes. There were about 1,300 rural communes and 90 urban communes in 1965. A revision of boundaries is going to reduce the number of communes considerably.
Main features of the 1964 Act
Danish legislation on public libraries has been revised several times since the first Public Libraries Act in 1920. The main features of the 1964 Act are the following:
1. The area served by a public library system shall be a commune or a joint library area comprising two or more communes.
2. All commune councils are required to provide by 1969 a public library service for both children and adults, either alone or jointly with other commune councils.
3. The majority of non?communal public libraries are taken over by the communes.
4. All libraries shall be available free of charge to all residents in Denmark.
5. Public libraries shall make available both books and audio?visual materials.
6. Libraries serving a population over 5,000 shall appoint a fulltime professionally qualified librarian before 1969.
7. The expenses of public libraries are covered jointly by the state and .the communes. The state grants have been improved.
8. The expenses of county libraries incurred in the provision of service to their districts are covered jointly by the state and the county councils concerned.
9. The Act provides for school libraries in primary schools cooperating with the local public library.
Section 1. "Other suitable materials" includes gramophone records, films andother audio?visual materials.
Section 3 (3). Before 1965 more than 50% of the public libraries were private institutions, although the state and the communes covered nearly all their expenses. After 1965, very few communes will be served by a non?communal public library.
Section 3 (4). About 100 communes, many of them quite small, did not provide a full library service, if any, in 1965.
Section 4 (1). The Danish word vedtagt, translated here as "by?laws", denotes the "constitution", standing orders, etc. of a library or other institution, and not, as in Britain, a list of regulations for users, and penalties for those who break them.
Section 5. The total expenditure of public libraries in 1963/64 was 79 million kroner (including state grants of 24 million kroner). In 1965/66 the figures will go up to about 115 million kroner (state grants about 42 million kroner).
Section 6 (2). In 1965, there were 106 libraries with full?time staff. As a consequence of the revision of commune boundaries many rural communes will have more than 5,000 inhabitants by 1'969.
Section 8. Public libraries are organized in county library districts. A Danish "County Library" has two functions, a) to serve its own area (a town or city), b) to assist the other libraries in its district, often but not necessarily a county. On April 1st, 1965, there were 32 county libraries, but the number will be reduced in 1966.
Section 11 (2). The county library organization does not include the cities of Copenhagen and Frederiksberg.
Section 18. The 21/2 % will amount to about 1 million kroner in 1965/66. The sum is used to support central cataloguing and other services?of the Library Bureau, publication of library literature, research projects etc.
Part 4 of the Act deals with school libraries in the folkeskoler (translated here as primary schools) which give up to 10 years of schooling. Education is compulsory for children aged between 7 and 14. The gymnasium schools take over the children after 7 years or more in the primary school and prepare them for the matriculation examination about the age of 19. The Act does not provide for gymnasium school libraries, but the library of a gymnasium school may co?operate with the local public library, cf. section 2, subsection (4).
The administration and economic control of the primary school is placed to a large extent in the hands of local authorities. The commune council has the right to decide all matters that are not the responsibility of other authorities. It bears the costs, although a considerable part is refunded by the state. A school plan forms the general basis for the running of the authority's schools. A school board elected by the commune council with representatives of the parents carries on the supervision and part of the administration of the schools.
In each of the areas administered by a county council there is a school directorate acting as an intermediary between the local education authorities and the Ministry of Education. A county school adviser is attached to the school directorate.
Overall control of the educational system is exercised by the Ministry of Education. One section of the ministry is concerned with the primary schools. The school library consultant is one of the subject inspectors in this section.