The National and University Library of Iceland is an independent university institution, with its own governing board, and which is under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Education, Science and Culture.
The Minister of Education and Culture shall appoint five people to the Library Board for four-year terms as follows: two to be nominated by the University Council, one to be nominated by the Research Council of Iceland, one to be nominated by the Icelandic Library Association and one to be chosen by the minister. Their deputies shall be appointed in the same manner. The Minister of Education and Culture shall appoint one member of the Library Board as chairman and another as vice-chairman. The Library Board shall decide library policy, supervise the library’s financial planning and work schedule as well as its operation. The director of the library, the National Librarian, together with one representative of the library staff, shall attend meetings of the Library Board and have the right to speak and to make proposals. The Minister of Education and Culture determines the remuneration that the board members shall receive.
The Minister of Education and Culture shall appoint a National Librarian for a five-year period. The National Librarian shall be appointed from amongst those applicants the Library Board considers competent. The National Librarian can be reappointed once without the position being advertised, on the recommendation of the Library Board. The National Librarian is in charge of the day-to-day operation and management of the library as well as being its spokesperson. The National Librarian shall draft an annual operating schedule and budget and present it to the Library Board for approval.
The National Librarian shall appoint a Deputy National Librarian from those applicants the Library Board judges competent. The National Librarian shall be in charge of appointing other library personnel as well.
The division of the library into separate departments shall be provided for by regulations, as shall the library advisory committee, which shall provide the means for joint consultation between the Office of the National Librarian and the heads of departments.
Functions and goals
The library is both the National Library and the library for the University of Iceland. The library is a research library which shall maintain effective and comprehensive information services in the fields of science and scholarship, government and industry.
The functions of the library are, amongst others:
- To collect together published materials, both printed and in other forms, catalogue them and make them available to the public
- To gather together as comprehensively as possible all Icelandic materials by, amongst other things, receiving all Icelandic works in accordance with the law on legal deposit, and acquiring all foreign works which concern Icelandic matters.
- To preserve the manuscript collections which already exist, in accordance withArticle 14, paragraph 2, and to promote further collection of and research concerning Icelandic manuscripts and similar materials in more modern media. The same applies to comparable foreign materials which concern Iceland.
- To ensure the preservation and conservation of the library holdings as best possible. To this end the library shall, amongst other things, operate a book-bindery, a conservation unit and a photographic unit. One copy of all works received in accordance with the law on legal deposit shall be kept apart, excluded from ordinary use and protected for posterity.
- To maintain a rare-book collection.
- To make catalogues af all Icelandic books, manuscripts, and recordings, including subject catalogues as necessary.
- To further research in the field of Icelandic bibliography and the history of books and to provide information about Icelandic publishing.
- To operate the national office for the International Standard Book Number system and similar number systems for other types of library materials, as the Library Board decides.
- To provide library users with working facilities and easy access to library materials.
- To guide library users as effectively as possible in the use of library resources, and to provide a diversity of information services.
- To provide for the needs of teaching and research activities at the University of Iceland.
- To help university students towards self-reliance and personal initiative in their studies.
- To provide library and information services for the benefit of industry, government and research, and for art and cultural activities of whatever kind in the country.
- To operate a Union Catalogue for Icelandic libraries, and to provide libraries with computer and cataloguing services, in accordance with the decision of the Library Board.
- To work for the standardization of work practices in Icelandic libraries, provide them with professional consultation services and carry out cooperation on the widest scale.
- To be the national centre for inter-library loans.
- To take part in multinational cooperation in the areas of research libraries and information services.
- To support scholarly and cultural activities by, amongst other things, promoting lectures, exhibitions, and artistic events. The functions of the library will be more fully stipulated in the regulations.
The operating costs of the library shall be paid for by the state treasury. Part of the University of Iceland’s annual budget shall be assigned to the library, according to a special agreement between the Library and the University. Operating, renewal and maintenance costs of the real property, furnishings and equipment are paid for by the state treasury as a special budget item.
It is permitted to put out for tender certain elements of the library’s operations, such as running the restaurant, particular tasks in connection with the book-bindery, the book repair unit, the photographic unit, etc. The Library Board is also allowed to subcontract out to other institutions the implementation of particular tasks which the library is required to perform by law. In addition, the library may, with the approval of the Ministry of Education and Culture, enter into an agreement with other institutions to the effect that their holdings may be viewed as part of the national collection.
The library is permitted to charge for certain types of services, such as inter-library loans, on-line searches, special reference services, replication services of all kinds, and computer printouts. The scale of charges for these services is subject to approval by the Library Board.
It is permitted to select for withdrawal from the library collection and dispose of, or disperse to other parties, those materials which the Library considers no longer necessary to hold. The National Librarian shall set rules concerning such selections for withdrawal, subject to the approval of the Library Board.
The Minister of Culture and Education shall, with regulations, set more exact provisions concerning the implementation of these statutes. These regulations will cover, amongst other things, library working practices, the management’s sphere of responsibility, and the constitution and summoning of board meetings. There will also be more exact provisions concerning the form and content of the matters mentioned in Article 3, paragraph 1, and Article 4, paragraph 1, of this law. These regulations may also specify the sanctions which can be applied in the event of infractions of the rules by library users.
This law takes effect immediately. The Library shall commence operation on December 1, 1994. Approved by the Parliament of Iceland, April 28, 1994.