Reform of the state library system is of strategic importance for the regional policy of the state. It has been proven that, in the long term, investment in the development of the library network pays off many times over, as it has direct impact on job creation, Gross Regional Product and average wage growth.
Public libraries play a special role in the time of economic, social, political and psychological crisis in society, as they remains an accessible and free source of receiving reliable information, platform that unites society, teaches tolerance, a place where start-ups can go for support, where internally displaced persons can obtain necessary legal information, and more.
For the purpose of our analysis, we studied rural public libraries, as the reform of administrative-territorial structure and local self-government has the most significant impact on this type of libraries.
The study found that the key actors of reform have no common vision of library system in Ukraine. This problem caused by the following reasons:
- Inconsistency between legislation on public libraries and the demands of decentralization.
- Strategic documents are of a declaratory nature.
- Insufficient capacity of national and regional programs to support public libraries.
The study provides three possible models of Ukrainian library system reform in the rural areas under conditions of reform of administrative-territorial structure and local self-government:
- network of public libraries in the unified territorial communities will continue to function on its own and will not combine with other community institutions (houses of culture, school libraries, etc.). In this case community will optimize network of public libraries on their territory following the prescribed standards, first of all, the requirement to have at least one public library in each community;
- public libraries will combine with educational (school) libraries;
- public libraries will combine with houses of culture into so-called “cultural centres”.
Read more on the Ukrainian library system reform in the analytical note by Mykola Krat and Olexander Sofiy (available in Ukrainian):