Legislating for libraries: The third way

The article begins with a brief history of the proposed new law on libraries, for which librarians and their professional bodies have lobbied hard, before analysing the arguments for and against such a law. The authors take a thoughtful position, arguing in favour of an alternative strategy, given that in the current socio-political climate, a new law is perhaps not the most suitable tool for dealing with the difficulties and problems encountered by librarians. They argue that what is really needed is a genuine, enthusiastic, adequately and appropriately funded policy to develop library use, in line with the principles of democracy. The key question is then to outline the responsibilities of the various stakeholders –elected representatives and librarians– and their institutions, ensuring that these responsibilities are carried out in full within the current legislative framework, while acknowledging the strong points and shortcomings of the current cultural policy.