Norwegian public libraries and governmental reports: visions and economic realities


Publication date


Series/Report no

New Library World;113 (7)



Document type


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss visions and realities in recent Norwegian governmental reports on libraries. How realistic are the government's plans? Do the commitments in the reports comply with the budgetary proposals? How do the local libraries interpret them? Would a change in government affect the public libraries, as they are funded by municipal authorities and local politicians? Design/methodology/approach – The methods used are a qualitative analysis of interviews and an examination of the reports and relevant statistical data. Six public libraries, of different types and geographical distribution, were chosen for analysis. Statistical and economic data were obtained from the KOSTRA database (Municipality-State-Reporting) from Statistics Norway and the annual ALM (Archives, Libraries, Museums) publication Statistics for Archives, Libraries and Museum (Statistikk for arkiv, bibliotek og museum). Findings – The budget proposals of the Norwegian government indicate willingness to implement the commitments in the governmental reports, with the exception of the small amounts allocated to competence development and model libraries. The reports do not address the serious challenges facing Norwegian public libraries. Practical implications – The paper discusses the latest official plans and strategies for Norwegian libraries. This should interest library employees and library and information students and teachers, as well as governmental representatives and politicians. Originality/value – The in-depth analysis of a selection of Norwegian public libraries could be valuable for librarians in Norway, as well as in other countries, in times of budget cuts, decreasing resources and financial difficulties.



Postprint version of published article.

Permanent URL (for citation purposes)