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, e-Lending

Last update: 16 March 2016

Latest News

eBooks – a Step Forward

With eBooks becoming an ever more normal way of reading, it is high time that the law caught up with reality. IFLA therefore welcomes the Opinion of the Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union on eLending.

16 June 2016 | CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters), elending, Ebooks, Public Libraries

IFLA Statement on Public Lending Right Updated to Include eBooks

On 9 December 2015, IFLA’s Governing Board approved an updated Statement on Public Lending Right (PLR) including a new section on eBooks. The updated statement identifies the complexities of considering PLR for eBooks, reinforces the need to involve libraries when considering changes to PLR programs to incorporate digital content, incorporates additional considerations for developing countries, and updates legal references from the 2005 statement.

1 February 2016