Newcastle to feature in library e-lending pilot

Newcastle to feature in library e-lending pilot

Cuts-stricken Newcastle is one of four authorities chosen by the Society of Chief Librarians to take part in the Sieghart Review pilots.

Newcastle City Council joins Peterborough, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and Derbyshire County Council in taking part in e-book lending pilots throughout 2014, gathering data on the impact of digital lending on libraries and e-book consumption.

Peterborough and Newcastle are the two urban authorities, with Peterborough testing out loans of seven days, and Newcastle testing loans of 21 days.

Plans to close 10 of Newcastle's 18 libraries to save money have been condemned by campaigners.

For the rural side of the trials, Windsor and Maidenhead will carry out e-book loans for seven days, while Derbyshire will loan them for 21 days.

This week, Derbyshire unveiled its own budget proposals to try and save £157m over the next five years, tabling the option of halting its 10-vehicle mobile library service. The mobile libraries, which employ 26 people, account for 17% of library issues in the county. The council's cabinet will consider the proposals next week, before a consultation process.

Authorities across the country were invited to tender to be involved in the process. Janene Cox, president of SCL, said: "All of the submissions received were of a very high standard", but said the chosen four would best allow them to fulfil the project.

Each authority will now be asked to purchase a catalogue of 1,000 titles made up of front and backlist titles, before running the pilots throughout 2014. They will report back findings halfway through the year, and at the end.