Financial Support to Library Development and Cooperation
The stability and development of the library system is provided for by subsidy programmes that were gradually established The starting in the second half of the 1990s by the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Informatics, Ministry of Health, and at the level of regional administration.
One of the principles governing subsidy programmes appropriations is the obligation to abide by prescribed standards and to make results obtained in the implementation of projects available also to other libraries. Thanks to that principle, the use of Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR2), the UNIMARC, or, rather MARC21 exchange formats, Z39.50 communication protocol and standards for digitizing and microfilming is now a matter of course in Czech libraries. The long-term emphasis on a consistent use of common standards has brought significant effects in mutual cooperation and sharing of information sources and services in recent years.
In 2000, the Czech government adopted a document "State Information Policies", and prepared a number of programmes in support of exploiting information and communication technologies in all segments of the society. The programme "Public Library and Information Services" (PLIS) designed for libraries and funded by the Ministry of Culture is divided into nine sub-programmes dealing with different areas where information technologies are being used in libraries.
PLIS1 of the Programme's Coordination Centre
PLIS2 Extramural training in information technologies for library staff
PLIS3 Establishment of public library information centres
PLIS4 Digital library and archives for library information services
PLIS5 National programme of retrospective conversion of Czech library catalogues
PLIS6 National programme of digital access to valuable documents - Memoriae Mundi Series Bohemica
PLIS6 National programme for microfilming and di-gital access to documents threatened by degradation of acidic paper - Kramerius
PLIS8 Digital information sources, Uniform Information Gateway
PLIS9 Union catalogue of the Czech Republic, system of national authorities
This programme was complemented by the "Internet for Libraries" project launched by the Ministry of Informatics in 2005. Its aim is to provide high-speed connection to the Internet for all public libraries by the end of 2006. At present, 2500 public libraries have an Internet connection.
With its primary focus on the purchase of licences to electronic information sources, the programme "Information sources for research and development" of the Ministry of Education is absolutely important for the development of modern services in Czech libraries. This programme gave rise to a completely new type of inter-library cooperation because it supported the establishment and operation of a number of library consortia whose objective is a joined purchase and sharing of licences to electronic information sources. University libraries get their support from the "Higher Education Development Fund".
The R&D programme "Providing access to, and protection of, library collections through Internet-based digitization in connection with the building of information society" intended primarily for large libraries is funded by the Ministry of Culture. Medical libraries may draw support from the programme "Public information services in health care" of the Ministry of Health.
The Ministry of Culture developed two programmes exclusively for public libraries: one is the "Library of the 21st century" programme in support of cultural and public education activities, reading and readership, the other is the "Czech library" programme designed to promote the acquisition of original Czech literary works by public libraries. The Ministry of Culture also pays royalties to authors for the lending of audio documents in libraries, and in the future it will also pay for the lending of books.
Regional administrations fund the "Auxiliary services programme for small public libraries". A new impetus for the development of public libraries has come from programmes and funds of the European Union, and they may become even more important in the future. In the initial period, libraries use the funds mainly for the establishment and operation of premi-ses with public access to the Internet, and for the building and reconstruction of libraries.
Annual funding for subsidy programmes