CILIP calls for end to limits placed on library e-lending

CILIP calls for end to limits placed on library e-lending

The Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) has called for an end to the limitations placed on e-book lending in public libraries.

CILIP said that libraries should have the same right to lend e-books in the same way that they can lend print books, in order to promote literacy and foster a passion for reading.

Currently only certain publishers, including HarperCollins and Hachette, allow their e-books to be loaned by libraries. CILIP cited a study by Shelf Free, a group which promotes the usage of e-books in libraries, which found that of the 50 most borrowed adult fiction titles of 2012, only seven were available in digital format, with even fewer available depending on the service supplier.

Barbara Band, CILIP president, said: "Public libraries play a vital role providing everyone with the opportunity to access information, reading and knowledge. We need copyright legislation that allows libraries to play their role, that is fit for purpose in the digital age and provides reasonable payment for authors and publishers.

She added: "There have been positive steps to make more e-books available for lending, through e-lending pilots and the Sieghart Review of e-lending. But we are still failing to take advantage of the benefits ebooks can bring – to develop essential literacy skills, to interest more people in reading more, and to build a more knowledgeable, informed and connected society. Libraries should have a statutory right to lend ebooks as they do physical books."

CILIP is supporting a Europe-wide campaign for the right to e-read, which is calling for libraries to have the right to e-lend as part of a revised European copyright framework, currently being consulted by the EU.

Asked why CILIP was making the call now, while pilot studies into the impact of e-lending are currently being carried out as a result of the Sieghart Review, director of external relations Mark Taylor told The Bookseller: "We want to bookend CILIP’s support for the European-wide campaign for the right to e-read between UNESCO’s World Book Day on the 6th March and World Book and Copyright Day on the 23 April.

"World Book Day is a superb celebration of reading, yet we’re in a situation where you can’t borrow e-books from a library in the same way you borrow physical books. With changes in the way we read books, the way we discover and borrow must keep pace. This is why we support the European-wide campaign for public libraries’ statutory right to buy and lend e-books."