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Management at the Ministry

The State has exclusive responsibility for public libraries, notwithstanding their management by Autonomous Communities (article 149.1.28 of the Constitution).

Also, the State, without prejudice to the responsibilities of the Autonomous Communities, shall consider the service of culture as its essential duty and power, and will enable cultural communication between the Autonomous Communities, as agreed with them (article 149.2 of the Constitution).

Consequently, management by the Ministry involves two spheres: public libraries, and the Spanish Library System and library co-operation.

The Spanish Library System and library co-operation

The Spanish Historical Heritage Act allows for the existence of the Spanish Library System.

The Regulation of National Public Libraries and the Spanish Library System is abrogated in all aspects relating to the latter, by the Reading, Books and Libraries Act and Royal Decree 1573/2007 of 30 November, approving the Ruling of the Library Co-operation Council.

The Reading, Books and Libraries Act defines the Spanish Library System, an essential element of which is library co-operation.

The Ruling of the Library Co-operation Council regulates the composition, functions, organisation and working methods of this body, which channels library co-operation between public administrations.

State-Owned Libraries

Title VII of Law 16/1985 of 25 June, on Spanish Historical Heritage, regulates the legal framework for the creation of these libraries, their buildings and collections, access to them and their communication and co-ordination.

Royal Decree 582/1989 of 19 May, approving the Regulation of National Public Libraries and the Spanish Library System, further develops the Historic Heritage Act as regards National Public Libraries, which are part of the state-owned libraries.

Law 10/2007 of 22 June, on reading, books and libraries covers, among other matters, the standardisation and co-ordination of the activities of libraries owned by the Spanish Central Administration and its public bodies, which are part of the state-owned libraries, as other state powers and constitutional bodies are also owners of libraries.

Royal Decree 1572/2007 of 30 November, regulating the bodies co-ordinating the libraries of the Spanish Central Administration and its public bodies, further develops the Reading, Books and Libraries Act on this point. The Ministerial Orders constituting the ministerial committees co-ordinating the libraries of each department are in turn developed from this Royal Decree.

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