In August 2023, librarians from around the world gathered in the city of Rotterdam, The Netherlands, birthplace of the celebrated Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus, for the 2023 IFLA World Library and Information Congress.

In the spirit of Erasmus, who looked to the past as an inspiration for the future, the IFLA Document Delivery and Resource Sharing Section (DDRS) hosted a lively and informative Open Session about Controlled Digital Lending (or CDL). The session featured a panel speakers representing the EU, the UK, the United States, and Latin America who explored the potential of CDL to transform library services and our traditional relationship with our print library resources.

Our first speaker, Ben White from Knowledge Rights 21, outlined status of controlled digital lending in the European Union and helped frame CDL as being part of a larger movement revolving around the secure digital lending of both scanned print materials and born-digital resources. Our second speaker, Sam Tillett from the British Library provided us a case study from the UK, detailing the current state of digitization services at the BL and how they are preparing themselves for the future challenges and opportunities presented by digital lending.

Next we heard from a group of librarians from the National University of La Plata, Argentina- Dr. Gonzalo Luján Villarreal, Prof. Carlos Javier Nusch, Enzo Golfetto, and Marisa R. De Giusti- who shared information about their efforts to promote digital sharing across the ISTEC partnership throughout Latin America and beyond. The group spoke about the ISTEC LibLink Initiative and the development of the Celsius 3 tool to facilitate and simplify the management of bibliographic exchanges among the different ISTEC member universities.

Finally, Peter Collins from OCLC spoke about the state of CDL in the United States and discussed from a practical perspective what infrastructure needs would be required in order to realize controlled digital lending and other forms of digital lending at scale in our library services. While the future of CDL and other forms of digital lending is still being written, from the conversation between our panelists and the audience it is clear that librarians are eager to talk about this future and help map out the transition of resource sharing from print-based services to digital sharing as we transform access to library materials for a new generation of scholars, researchers, and educators.

Erasmus would be proud!

Tom Bruno
DDRS Section Committee Member