eLending for Libraries

IFLA, ebooks and Access to Digital Content

Libraries have been providing access to digital content to their users for over two decades. Until recently this content largely comprised access to aggregated databases of journals, newspapers, popular magazines and technical and specialized monographs. However, the recent explosion in availability and popularity of eReaders and tablets, along with a corresponding increase in the availability of commercial eBooks, has seen a growing demand for downloadable eBooks in public libraries.

This scenario offers libraries many opportunities. The availability of digital content, downloadable onsite at the library or remotely through online catalogues has the potential to develop a digital culture of reading that will benefit users, authors and publishers. However, the current situation facing libraries is anything but positive. There are presently many difficulties, as downloadable eBooks raise a variety of technical, legal and strategic issues which are leading to concern, confusion and frustration for libraries and their users, publishers and authors.

IFLA has produced a background paper setting out these difficulties in full, as well as commissioning an independent thinkpiece to encourage debate among the library community. Following both papers IFLA issued Principles for Library eLending to help librarians worldwide approach the issue with prepared guidance. In December 2015, IFLA’s Governing Board approved an updated Statement on Public Lending Right to include considerations for eBooks.

Advocacy, elending

Last update: 8 August 2016

Latest News

E-Lending, Embargoes and Equitable Access: Interview with Sari Feldman

The rules around library eLending are on the agenda again in the United States, following the decision by one publisher to impose limits on libraries' ability to give access to new books. We interviewed Sari Feldman, past President of the American Library Association and currently a Senior Policy Fellow focusing on eBooks, about the situation.

16 October 2019 | CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters), Access to information, eLending, eLending for Libraries, United States of America

Simplify, Unify, Diversify: an Interview with Jessica Want, New York Public Library

Alongside growing concern in the United States and Canada about the conditions imposed on libraries looking to lend eBooks, there are also efforts to reduce dependency on third party distributors by building 'library-controlled' platforms. We interviewed Jessica Want, Director, Digital Products at New York Public Library to find out about one major initiative - Library Simplified. One such effort is Library Simplified, a collaboration between New York Public Library, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), and Lyrasis.

16 July 2019 | CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters), Access to information, United States of America, elending, eLending for Libraries, Ebooks

Availability, License Terms and Pricing of eBooks: an Interview with Rebecca Giblin

ELending is becoming increasingly important and is already well-established in many countries. While jurisdictions approach the lending of eBooks and other digital material in many different ways, licensing is often part of the equation. And with that, challenges arise for the library sector.

12 April 2019 | CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters), Access to information, Access to knowledge, Accessibility, Advocacy, Copyright, Copyright exceptions and limitations, eBooks, eLending, eLending for Libraries, Intellectual property, Licensing, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America