Decentralising libraries and dedicated state funding

When Jean Gattégno, formerly Director of Books and Reading at the French Ministry of Culture, declared in November 1981 that “we haven’t got the hang of decentralisation yet”, never a truer word was spoken. Thirty years on, and the links between regional libraries and central government, represented by the Directorate (later the Service) for Books and Reading, have grown looser, but still remain. Dedicated state funding, which has survived all the upheavals of the past thirty years, is both symbolic and symptomatic of these links.