The National Library celebrates

350 years since the first Swedish legal deposit law.

On September 22, 1661, a decree was issued that came to be the embryo of what we today call the deposit copy law. The decree was a way of controlling the publications printed at the six printing shops then in existence in Sweden. The publications were to be delivered to His Majesty’s chancery before they were distributed. A censorship law was thus imposed on Sweden, but several decades elapsed before the contents of the decree on delivery were complied with. The National Library and the National Archives each received a review copy.

From censorship to cultural heritage

Since then, the legal deposit law has been changed several times, as has the aim of the law. What was originally a censorship law has become an instrument for preserving the nation’s media for posterity. The Library today collects not only most of what is printed in Sweden but also TV, radio, and other types of sound and motion pictures. In the near future, digital material will also be covered by deposit legislation and delivered to the Library.

We are celebrating this anniversary by organising a scientific conference around deposit legislation, and producing a web exhibition.

Contact person: Håkan Färje, e-mail: firstname.lastname@kb.se

National Library