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Definition of concepts

Centre that houses historical content, with somebody effectively in charge of the same and that orders and regulates access and consultation of the content placed at the service of researchers, whatever its administrative dependence.
Organised collection of books and printed periodical publications or any other type of document, especially graphic or audiovisual ones, and a service of personnel that assists users in their use of said documents for purposes of information, research, education or leisure. The library is also the administrative unit (the same management) which can contain one or more points of service. There are two types, as follows:
Libraries of higher education institutes
Library mainly dedicated to servicing students and teaching staff at university faculties, higher technical colleges, university colleges and other public or private centres of higher education.
Specialised libraries
Library that depends on an association, official service, research centre, museum or any other body dedicated to a particular discipline or branch, which determines the documentary content of the library. Can provide documentation or services to any body requesting it, or may be essentially designed to respond to the information needs of a certain audience.
Public library
Library that is at the service of a community, especially a local community, and that attends to the general public (does not include military libraries). Includes both publicly owned libraries and those financed by private entities (savings banks associations, etc.) that are at the service of a community.
Permanent institution, non-profit making and open to the public and that contains a collection of cultural properties in order to conserve them, document them, exhibit them and promote them.

Methodological aspects


The data for libraries has been obtained from the Library Statistics which is conducted biennially by the Statistical Institute of Catalonia (Idescat) at libraries that are open to the public.

The main goal of this operation is to produce statistical information on the main characteristics of libraries, including:

  • structure
  • operation
  • equipment
  • personnel
  • expenditures
  • services

These statistics have been performed in accordance with a collaboration agreement signed between the National Statistical Institute INE and Idescat, and in conjunction with the Department of Culture of the Generalitat de Catalunya.

These statistics are of a census nature and collect information on all libraries, regardless of their administrative dependence. Nevertheless, there are some exclusions: on the one hand, private libraries that belong to private bodies or individuals and the use of which is not open to the public, not even under special conditions; and on the other, school. From 2016 onwards, information has been obtained from the military libraries in Catalonia.

Current Territorial Distribution

At present, Catalonia is divided into 41 counties, 1 singular territorial entity (Aran) and 8 areas of the Territorial Plan, according to the latest territorial changes, which affect the areas of El Penedès and the Central Counties, Aran and El Moianès.

Information that is not available is represented using the symbol ":". When the value is lower than the minimum unit allowed to estimate the statistical operation, or affects statistical secret, the symbol used is "..".