The Vandevoorde report on libraries in France, commissioned by President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing to distract attention from the quiet dropping of a proposed law on libraries, was completed just after François Mitterrand was elected president in 1981. Although it had no immediate effect, its influence went deeper. It was both a complete, in-depth study of French libraries and a manifesto for a policy of public access to reading material in the teeth of disengagement by the state. It also defined the role of the recently founded Books Directorate. The report was published and welcomed by readers.