Proposals for legislation on libraries and the development of public reading to improve the book economy and strengthen equity among its stakeholders, led respectively by Senators Sylvie Robert and Laure Darcos, were finally adopted by the Senate on December 16, 2021. These two texts had been supported as soon as they were tabled by the Government, which initiated the accelerated procedure, allowing their adoption in less than a year. This continued support is one of the illustrations of the decision of the President of the Republic to make the reading a “great national cause”.

As the first cultural equipment in France, libraries are the subject of a very strong attachment on the part of our fellow citizens and elected officials. Nevertheless, their importance in our daily lives had never before found political and legal expression in the law. The proposed law on libraries and the development of public reading addresses this legal vacuum. It focuses on defining the public service missions of libraries and establishing in law general principles of their operation, such as freedom, free access and the need for pluralistic and diversified collections. It consolidates the responsibilities of departmental councils vis-à-vis their libraries.

The bill aimed at improving the book economy and strengthening equity among its stakeholders complements very usefully the proactive policy of the Government since 2017 in favor of the book sector. This text modernizes the regulation of the sector around three issues: the support given to our bookshops and the re-establishment of fair competition in the book market, by objectifying the cost of shipping for books ordered on the internet and delivered at home, in order to recover a single price for books; the improvement of the contractual relationship between authors and publishers; and finally, the adaptation of the collection of digital works.

The Minister of Culture thanks all the deputies and senators, for the quality work carried out on these bills and the remarkable consensus that accompanied the discussions on these two texts, allowing their adoption unanimously.