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

Deal on eLending in the Netherlands: Interview with the Dutch Public Library Association

Following extensive discussions, libraries in the Netherlands have come to an agreement with publishers and others about eBook availability in the country. We interviewed Francien van Bohemen, Deputy Director of the Dutch Public Library Association, to find out more about the deal.

31 October 2018 | CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters), Access to information, Copyright, eBooks, eLending, eLending for Libraries, Netherlands

Give eBooks a Chance

With better suited legislation and business practices, eBooks can continue to play a major role in promoting access to, and enjoyment of, ideas and knowledge.

28 February 2018 | eBooks, eLending, eLending for Libraries

Literacy and a Love of Reading Boosted by European Judges’ eBook Decision

Libraries play a crucial role in bringing people to reading. From children’s books to the latest thrillers, they are the safety value in the copyright system that prevents access to culture being the preserve of the better off. But eLending has been surrounded by legal uncertainty for many years. Today, European judges decided that eBooks could indeed be treated as books, but further analysis of the decision will be necessary to understand its implications and limits.

10 November 2016 | CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters), Access to information, Copyright, E-Learning, Europe