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

Catching Up - Latest Developments on eLending Advocacy in the United States

A lot has happened in the last six months around library eLending! Following a first interview last October about ongoing efforts to improve eLending conditions for libraries in the United States, we're happy to publish a follow-up interview with Sari Feldman, Senior Fellow at the American Library Assoication's Office for Information Technology Policy.

22 April 2020 | CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters), Access to information, eLending, eLending for Libraries, United States of America

Hard Choices: Libraries Face Major Challenges in Meeting Reader eLending Demand

New research from Australia has explored how the way eBooks are offered to libraries affect their decisions over what to offer borrowers.

1 April 2020 | CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters), Access to information, Copyright, eBooks, Australia, eLending for Libraries

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