The national library strategy for Sweden

Sweden’s national library strategy aims to strengthen the library sector, the ultimate goal being to improve access to literature and information for everyone. The National Library is a key actor on the state level.

Ever since 2011, the National Library (Kungliga biblioteket, KB) has been tasked with coordinating and developing the Swedish public library sector. In April 2022, when the government adopted a national library strategy for Sweden, the government also gave KB a new assignment: to suggest how collaboration in the Swedish library sector can be strengthened, as well as to contribute to the long-term development of certain national digital library services for prioritised target groups.

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Comprehensive approach

With the national strategy, the government takes a comprehensive approach to consolidate work on the state level and lay the foundations for continued development in the library sector. KB is one of several government agencies with a national mission in the sector – the others are the Swedish Arts Council (Kulturrådet), the Swedish Agency for Accessible Media (Myndigheten för tillgängliga medier, MTM) and the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket).

The strategy gives an overview of the current challenges in the library sector and the need for development. It establishes that the library is a space open to everyone, offering free access to literature and information. The library is also a meeting place that promotes democratic dialogue, the dissemination of knowledge and freedom of opinion.

Three focus areas

The government highlights three focus areas that are considered central to the quality and development in the library sector:

  1. A library sector that is accessible and relevant for all
  2. A library sector that contributes to and follows the development in society
  3. A well functioning national infrastructure for the library sector

Each focus area is connected to certain targets and activities. The government lists what has been done, is about to be done or that the government intends to do.

The government underlines the importance of following up the activities carried out. The Swedish Agency for Cultural Policy Analysis (Myndigheten för kulturanalys) is tasked with evaluation and analysis.

Well on the way

KB has done a lot of the groundwork that the national strategy is based on and submitted its original proposal for a strategy – Demokratins skattkammare (“The Treasury of Democracy”) – in 2019. Since then, KB has already carried out many of the suggested activities, partly together with partners.

Activities that are ongoing or under way:

The strategy summarised in Swedish: Den nationella biblioteksstrategin

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