Translation of "De openbare bibliotheek tien jaar van nu, de hoofdlijnen"
The public library is the biggest cultural institution in the Netherlands,
with around 4 million members and 130 million items lent each year. Inspite of
this, the library is under pressure: membership numbers and borrowings have
been declining steadily for several years. In the last six years the
public libraries have been working together with local, provincial and national
authorities on a 'library renewal' programme. From an organisation primarily
concerned with lending books, the library is being transformed into a cultural
centre which is active in five domains: knowledge and information, development
and education, arts and culture, reading and literature, and meeting and
Meanwhile, rapid changes have been and are taking place in society and in the world of information and culture. This study describes relevant developments within and outside the Dutch public library sector and relates them to each other. Based on these observations, the report outlines two possible futures for the position of the public library in the Netherlands ten years from now. In the first scenario, trends continue at the same rate and the public library gradually loses support. In the second possible future, the present trends accelerate and the threats are greater. These two future projections are followed by an analysis of the deficiencies that could arise from a social perspective in both cases. In conclusion, a number of suggestions are put forward for action by the sector and the public authorities to counter these deficiencies. The central focus is on the substantive renewal of the library service.