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Ülle Talihärm

8 million library visits and 13 million book loans per year indicate that libraries are still important. Half of the Estonian population are library users and the interest of users does not seem to be waning.

Thanks to new technologies, scores of libraries operating in Estonia are also constantly changing. Solutions need to be found that make services and infrastructure suitable for smart young people, working people and an aging population.

It is foremost that residents receive the necessary information and services from public libraries. In this way, we could ensure that the wealth of information is evenly distributed throughout Estonia.

The Public Libraries Act, which entered into force in 1998 and is still in force, is no longer flexible enough to improve the quality of public library services and develop the network and services of public libraries. The Ministry of Culture is in the process of updating the law so that all Estonian residents would have free and unrestricted access both to free and paid information, cultural and state services in both good and difficult times.

The administrative reform had a significant impact on both the state and local government service network. Municipalities became larger and more populous, and values such as efficiency, economy and cost-effectiveness changed to be predominant in connection with restructuring. Public libraries also take into the account the values of the new local governments, as well as the pathways and needs of their residents, because the person and his or her well-being are important.

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