Rural libraries as vital community hubs: some remarkable examples

When all the small public libraries and libraries run by private organisations like the Bibliothèques pour tous network are taken into account, France does not have four thousand libraries, as the official statistics suggest, but over ten thousand. Small libraries play a major role in rural localities: they are sometimes the sole remaining community hub and they are attracting more and more users in a wider national context of stagnating visitor numbers. The French government has set up a number of national programmes, such as local reading promotion contracts, to encourage their development, with the help of local authorities.