Too near, too far: Politicians and libraries

How can the library sector get politicians to focus on its needs? The article draws on regional libraries, which have the most direct contact with politicians, to analyse a situation where the ideal distance between libraries and politics is hard to gauge. The author proposes three methods to forge closer, lasting links between librarians and politicians: 1. formalising the policy of lobbying elected representatives on library issues, particularly by getting professionals involved from the very first stages of librarianship training; 2. clarifying the remit of France’s network of libraries –a task which remains to be done, both administratively and legally; 3. giving readers a say in the future of libraries by setting up a body that looks beyond the two-way discussion between librarians and politicians, while still underlining the political importance of library provision.