In 1980, the Portuguese Book Institute was created within the range of operations of the Ministry of Culture; its objective was to develop a global policy for the book sector. Among its functions, this organism attributed priority to the need to amplify the differentiation of the publishing offer and consequently, to define a policy of support for the publishing business. Moreover, the gradual awareness of the evolution of the editorial offer, in close relation to the strengthening of reading habits, determined the need to set up a programme for a network of Public Libraries. Besides this, it was understood that some determination was needed to define a policy to promote the development of books and of reading in African Countries whose official language was Portuguese, as well as to elaborate strategies that would promote Portuguese authors and literary creations abroad. It was in this context, that in 1987, The Portuguese Institute of Books and Reading was born.
Later, in 1992, when the Ministry of Culture wanted to set up a vertical policy for cultural sectors, the Portuguese Institute of Books and Reading ceased to exist, and merged with the National Library to constitute the National Library and Book Institute, whose objective it was to organise the cultural elements of books with the spread of books and of reading.However, the different problems of both components pointed out that this institutional solution had not led to greater efficacy. On the other hand it was acknowledged that to strengthen the habit of reading, a National Programme for the Promotion of Reading was called for that could back the Public Libraries in their efforts to enlarge and broaden their reading public.
Moreover, the development of new information technologies, associated with the structural difficulties of the book sector, determined the need to define an integrated policy, which, starting from the author and going to the reader, would make it clear that a book, besides having a cultural value is also an economic asset and as such it must be understood and supported.
Consequently, 1997 saw the creation of the Portuguese Library and Book Institute.
THE SUPPORT PROGRAMME
The primary objective of the interventions of the Portuguese Library and Book Institute is to guarantee to citizens access to books as a privileged means for the spread of the language and culture. In this sense the Portuguese Library and Book Institute, ìIPLBî acts in concert, complementing the various programmes currently under way. The application of the support programmes is carried on at the level of education, of publishing, of promotion and diffusion, of incentives to the sector and of the network of Public Libraries.
The principal objectives of the programmes currently in effect are the following:
- Promote the production of literary works with cultural merit,
- Preserve, enrich and spread the Portuguese bibliographical patrimony,
- Contribute to the diversification of the offer,
- Guarantee the best production conditions,
- Guarantee the circulation and access to books to citizens,
- Create and fortify the reading habits of the Portuguese people.