Italian Libraries Database and ISTAT census survey

From 4 May to 15 September, the 2021 census of Italian libraries will be carried out, involving public (excluding universities and schools) and private libraries, open to the public, present in Italy and registered in the Italian Libraries Database.

The survey carried out by ISTAT in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, the Regions and the Autonomous Provinces will serve to enrich the wealth of statistical data useful to the community and will also be used to update the data on libraries in the Italian Libraries Database.

The Italian Libraries Database is the result of a national census of libraries launched in the early 1990s, coordinated by the Central Institute for the Union Catalogue (ICCU). Thanks to the collaboration of Regions, Universities, ecclesiastical bodies and many cultural institutions, which has led to the overall identification of the libraries present on the territory and to the creation of a general and unitary information tool on the library sector in Italy.

The number of libraries registered in the database has been constantly growing since then, to date more than 12,000 libraries have been surveyed; the constant updating of the data is ensured by the organisations collaborating in the project, as well as by the registered libraries themselves. Since 2018, the database also regularly receives data from the ISTAT survey.

The objectives of the survey are:

  • To achieve an exhaustive mapping of Italian state and non-state libraries, accurate information on structural characteristics, activities and services provided. To build a virtuous and systematic process of data collection in order to provide historical series on the theme.
  • To create a tool able at orienting sectoral policies at national level and initiatives for the promotion of cultural activities and reading.

An interesting initiative to encourage a data-driven decision-making approach in the world of Italian libraries.

By the Central Institute for the Union Catalogue

Photo by Sara Cohen on Unsplash

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