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Search for: [Abstract = "Public libraries in Poland are diversified. Some are repositories of knowledge allowing for in\-depth study with vast and continually updated resources. The average citizen is served by a large network of libraries supported by local governments. Their basic task is to supply 'books to read' and to conduct educational\-cultural activity. The aim of this study was to determine the significance of functions that libraries perform in the rural environment of Poland. The assessment was made on the basis of an analysis of the Central Statistical Office \(GUS\) data and reports derived from the Libraries Development Programme. This programme has been implemented in Poland since 2009 by the Foundation for the Development of Information Society and the Polish\-American Liberty Foundation, which is a partner of the Bill \& Melinda Gates Foundation in a venture helping Polish public libraries with access to computers, the Internet and training courses. It was assumed that libraries serving rural population were those located in villages and towns of up to 20 thous. inhabitants. In Poland the accessibility of libraries as measured by the population number per library continues to decline, both in towns and rural areas. In 2002 this index amounted to 2,118, opposed to 2,555 in 2013. Two factors are responsible\: a drop in the number of libraries and a slight increase in the population living in rural areas. There is no doubt that preserving a network of libraries in rural areas in Poland is necessary. Local governments are not generous patrons of libraries\; on the contrary, they often liquidate them to reduce the costs of commune operation. Rural libraries prefer the educational function, thus replacing the school education system, but this takes place at the cost of their cultural functions. The model of the rural library as a centre of all kinds of information where one can learn practically everything – favoured in the western states – is still far from popular in Poland."]

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