Luxembourg’s Minister for Culture, Eric Thill; Credit: MCULT / Éric Chenal

Luxembourg’s Ministry of Culture has announced that the Luxembourg library sector met on Friday 24 May 2024, at the National Library of Luxembourg to discuss a reform of the law of 24 June 2010 relating to public libraries; the meeting occurred at the invitation of Luxembourg’s Minister for Culture, Eric Thill.

These library sector conferences follow the public consultation on the aforementioned law, launched in 2022, and are in line with the 2023 thematic workshop “Public support for libraries”.

To begin the discussions, Henning Marmulla, editorial advisor, presented a summary of the inventory of libraries that he produced on behalf of the Ministry of Culture. In the context of his research, the author contacted 81 Luxembourg libraries to explore with them questions related to legal provisions, recruitment and training issues in the sector, digitalisation, as well as their vision for Luxembourg’s library sector. Henning Marmulla concluded his intervention by noting the dynamism which underlies the sector in the broad sense, as well as the shared desire for a reform of the law which would result in increased flexibility of legislative provisions.

Romy Wiesen from the studies, statistics and documentation department of the Ministry of Culture continued with a presentation of statistics on approved libraries. Laurence Brasseur from the same department then held a presentation on the recent ILRES survey on reading practices and library uses. The latter will be the subject of a forthcoming publication on the website of the Ministry of Culture.

A round table dedicated to avenues for reforming the law of 24 June 2010 relating to public libraries made it possible to deepen the themes addressed by the inventory, the public consultation and the workshop mentioned above. Moderated by Cédric Kayser from the Library Unit of the Ministry of Culture, Claude Conter (Bibliothèque Nationale du Luxembourg - BnL), Kathrin Eckhardt (CID Fraen an Gender), Anita Eydt-Schmit (Ourdallbibliothéik Vianden) and Tamara Sondag (Bibliothèque Municipale d’Esch-sur-Alzette) held discussions on the current and future challenges of the library sector.

Minister Thill closed the conference by setting out eight concrete avenues to reform the law relating to public libraries.

Decentralisation and improving access to culture for all are among my highest priorities. Public libraries are central players in the regions and often represent the first point of access to culture for our citizens. As planned by our coalition agreement, and based on the excellent work and discussions that have preceded, I will introduce, by the end of the year, a bill to modernise the legislation relating to public libraries with, as focal points, an adaptation of financial aid to the needs of a modern library and better flexibility of legal frameworks.

The sound recording of the library sector meetings will soon be published on the YouTube channel of the Ministry of Culture.