The National Library and the Moravian Library had several shortcomings in their management of public funds
Press release on Audit No 18/36 - 2 December 2019
The Supreme Audit Office examined the management with state funds and state assets between the years 2015 and 2017 of the National Library of the Czech Republic (NL) and of the Moravian Library in Brno (ML). Both institutions used state assets and funds for the purposes they were entitled to use them for. However, the auditors identified a number of cases in which the two libraries did not act economically. Moreover, the National Library erred in public procurement, in acquiring legal deposits for library funds and in the administration of museum type collections. The two libraries also had shortcomings in their accounting.
Shortcomings in the management of the two libraries were related to the rental of premises, for example. In 2015, the National Library extended its lease contract with a souvenir shop by a period which was 2 years longer than the law permits. Furthermore, the two libraries neither dealt with late payments for the rental of premises, nor did they enforce penalties from tenants for late payments.
The libraries also erred in the sale of assets. In some cases, the National Library did not determine the selling price at a level that would correspond with the given time and place, and it also failed to offer unnecessary assets to other state organisations. In a number of cases, the two libraries did not organise a tender to find a purchaser but sold its assets to a pre-selected purchaser.
The National Library violated the Public Procurement Act by dividing a contract on the provision of IT services related to the digitisation of the library collection. By doing so, it reduced the expected value of the contract and thus sought to avoid the obligation to award the contract in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Public Procurement Act. Consequently, the Supreme Audit Office notified the Tax Office of a suspected breach of budget discipline amounting to CZK 8 million.
Both libraries also manage museum-type collections. While the Moravian Library did not have any shortcomings in its management, the National Library did not have a designated person responsible for its collection, and three departments were in charge of the collection at the same time, so each department kept records of the collection items in a different manner.
The Supreme Audit Office has pointed out that there is an absence of legislation aimed at preserving cultural heritage in digital form. The legislation should make it obligatory to print publications that are available in electronic format only. According to the law, publishers are only obliged to provide libraries with mandatory copies of publications that are in printed format.
The Supreme Audit Office has also compared the National Library with other national libraries in 12 European countries. As far as the digitisation of library collections is concerned, the National Library is second in the number of digitised pages. As regards the appropriations for library activities per library unit, their volume is relatively low when compared to other European countries. For example, the National Library has only half the funds spent on its activities than the Austrian library.
Supreme Audit Office