It turns out that three different MPs are claiming that a task book on ebooks in libraries was their idea.  These are Ed Vaizey (minister for libraries, claimed in Oliver Diamond’s weekly roundup of Conservative news), Justin Tomlinson (the chairman of the All-party Parliamentary Committee on Libraries) and Dan Jarvis (shadow minister for libraries).  If nothing else, this suggests that something may finally happen, even if everyone with the letters M and P after their name claims credit for it. 

It all started with Dan:
” Dan Jarvis has called for the government to create a cross-industry task force to explore the issue of e-book lending in libraries. Jarvis said the taskforce should be chaired by an independent expert, to oversee discussions which he says are crucial to a 21st-century libraries model.” … “His calls come on the back of a meeting held between publishers, culture minister Ed Vaizey and Jarvis on Tuesday (3rd July) to discuss e-book lending and the extension of the Public Lending Right (PLR) scheme to e-books.”.  Task force to include librarians, authors and publishers. Jarvis calls for e-lending task force – BookSeller.

This statement by Mr Jarvis then resulted in an email from Justin Tomlinson explaining his views, including not only charging for e-books but also forcing users to physically go to the library to get them.  This, in turn, resulted in Phil Bradley (President of CILIP) making clear what he thought of such an idea.

Against free library e-book accessible at home (Justin Tomlinson)

  • Most publishers do not want e-book lending in libraries (DJ) therefore it’s better to charge to get them on board otherwise libraries are going to be left behind (JT)
  • This would “protect footfall” by encouraging people to go to the branches to lend ebooks.  Model preferred by Justin Tomlinson is for ebooks only to be available for loan by going to the branch (JT)
  • Charge for e-book lending profits would be divided  between library and publishers. (JT)
Arguments for free e-book lending from libraries at home (Dan Jarvis, Phil Bradley, Voices for the Library)
  • if most publishers don’t want e-books then the Government should use the legislation already in place, section 43 of Digital Economy Act 2010 which allows for the introduction of public lending right of ebooks (DJ). 
  • charging would deny universal access.  “Possession of an e-reader should not be indicative of the ability to pay for books loans” as many e-readers are gifts (PB)(Voices)
  • charging for ebooks is the thin end of the wedge as would reduce resistance towards charging for printed books.  The “idea of a free library would have gone” (PB) leading to a two-tier approach.
  • restricting access to ebooks limits access to housebound and those remote from nearest library (Voices)
  • restricting access is artificial and counter-intuitive (PB, Voices) making the librarian look silly and unhelpful (PB) and preventing libraries from taking full advantage of modern technology (Voices)
  • how would libraries work out how to allow distance access to ebooks for disabled, what criteria could be used? (PB).
  • library usage statistics should include visits to websites/downloads so that public libraries would still be able to justify themselves (PB).
  • “If libraries embrace the use of eBooks, by robustly promoting them, explaining to members how they are used and by making them freely available, library use will increase. Publishers will see better returns on their investments as library members often purchase the books they have read, or will buy others from the same author.” (PB)

This exchange then caused the Society of Authors to come on board with their views:

  • Society of Authors letter to Ed Vaizey (sent on 1st May) is concerned about providing ebooks to public libraries.  While accepting the importance of libraries and ebooks to them, it wants a deal based on the following rules:
    • Library ebooks do not compete with commercial sales of ebooks esp. in independent bookshops
    • Loans must be “controlled and limited”
    • Piracy is curtailed
    • Public lending right payment to author, including in volunteer-run libraries.



  • 25 most beautiful libraries in the world – Flavorwire.   Great pictures, great libraries.
  • Call for national strategy to save library services in Wales – Wales Online.   “The Carnegie UK Trust wants a “greater degree of national leadership” to help define what libraries should provide in future. It comes as Western Mail research reveals local authorities in Wales are continuing to fund as full a library service as possible, although many admit to making redundancies or not replacing staff who leave.” … ““The Welsh Government’s Libraries Inspire strategy, developed following a public consultation, outlines how we are modernising our library buildings and rolling-out new services, such as e-books, across Wales.”
  • New award for innovative health services – NAPLE Blog.”Libraries everywhere are providing valuable health services, using cutting-edge information and communication technology (ICT). For example, in northern Ghana, a public library uses mobile phones to send vital maternal health care information to pregnant women; in Kyrgyzstan, a public library is leading a campaign to combat TB; in Armenia, patients are asking their doctors questions through their library’s interactive website; in Kenya, health workers and patients have free access to the internet through their library’s e-health corners. EIFL-PLIP wants to make stories like these known, so that innovative libraries whose services improve lives win recognition and support.”
  • Old Market Library – Archello (Thailand).  Beautiful compact and bijou library in Bangkok, clearly a hit with the kids.
  • Unstaffed libraries (a contradiction in terms?) – Stop the privatisation of public libraries.  A brief look at unstaffed libraries in UK, Denmark, Taiwan and USA.
  • Welcome – Teens4Libraries.  “Libraries are an important part of society. On this blog, we plan to write about our opinions, concerning libraries, as well as keeping you up to date with library events and news. Please feel free to add your comments. We would welcome posts from other teenagers or children about libraries, library events and book reviews. Send your posts as you want them to appear…”.”Teens passionate about the survival of libraries in the UK. Particular interest in Croydon libraries and involved in the Reading Agency’s MyVoice Project. We will be posting information about Croydon libraries, libraries in general.”


Local News
  • Barnet – Campaigners want library to be awarded historic building status – Barnet and Whetstone Press.   Closed Friern Barnet Library campaigner “has submitted a 98-page document to the council’s heritage team arguing that the library building should be recognised locally for its architectural and historical heritage. “
  • Brent – Council leader meets with library campaigners – Harrow Observer.  Members of Friends of Preston Library met Councillor Muhammed Butt on Monday to discuss library services after the Labour-run council closed six of the borough’s 12 libraries last year.” … “The meeting followed discussions with Dan Jarvis MP, Labour’s shadow minister for libraries, and campaigners at Westminster on Tuesday last week.” … Campaigner spokesman said “they support a ‘publicly-funded service’ with community involvement, but do not support the idea that communities should be forced to run their own library services.”
  • Camden – Writer and comedian David Baddiel says savings libraries is no laughing matter as he becomes patron of new facility run by volunteers – Camden New Journal.  “The Hampstead-based comedian and writer is talking about his new novel, The Death of Eli Gold, at the new Keats Community Library tonight (Thursday) and told the New Journal that libraries were not just about providing the bookish types with a quiet place to read, or parents with toddlers a nice environment to spend a morning hearing stories – it was about ensuring every one has access to literature,”

“Mr Baddiel said: “Not everyone can afford a Kindle. And the price of books in bookshops is going up, as the publishing industry goes down.  “So for people with less money who want to read books, libraries are a really valuable resource.  “I’m not telling anyone anything here that isn’t entirely obvious, except perhaps to the government.”

  • Dorset – Communities set to take over libraries – Dorset Echo. Eight of nine libraries which have had funding withdrawn will be taken over by volunteers. “The council is aiming to transfer the running of the seven other libraries to the communities in September and has now set a target of handing over Corfe Castle by April next year. “.  £2000 one-off grant.
  • Durham – Reduced library opening hours likely to be agreed by Durham Council – Northern Echo. “Controversial plans to slash opening hours at 38 public libraries look likely to be agreed next week – despite massive public opposition. Facing cuts of nearly £190m, Durham County Council looks poised to cut opening times to 36 hours a week at 11 town centre libraries and 20 hours a week at 27 community branches.” … ““They refused to cut the cost of councillors, refused to scrap their publicity rag, are paying millions to directors and over £200,000 to the chief executive. Yet they can’t find the money to protect library opening hours – quite simply shameful.”” …  5,812 questionnaires were returned,.
  • Gloucestershire – Library could be prevented from lending books – Gazette.   “Once Berkeley Library is no longer a public library run by the local authority, and is not covered by the PLR licence, authors could refuse to allow them to loan their books.The running of Berkeley Library is due to be legally transferred to the Berkeley Community Library Committee on November 1, 2012.”
  • Redbridge – Library to reopen after multi-million pound refurbishment – Yellow Advertiser.  The improvements are intended to save money by making the building more energy efficient and generating income from a new coffee shop. New specialist equipment will include iPads programmed with child-friendly content.”
  • Surrey – Support Surrey Libraries – New website.   “We have now been advised that the new reason for re-introducing the CPL plans is because these libraries are unsustainable. We were not however reminded that all public libraries are “unsustainable” and will only survive if a public body provides the funds. In exactly the same way that Surrey County Council is unsustainable if Surrey residents do not support it by their taxes and votes.”