Principles for library eLending

"Let me see, let me see; is not the leaf turn'd down Where I left reading? Here it is, I think."

IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations)  has launched a new set of resources relating to eBooks and libraries. Providing access to eBooks is one of the most pressing issues facing libraries right now.

The rise of commercial dissemination of written content in digital form has imposed a new and challenging reality for libraries, publishers, authors and readers. Evolving and escalating changes in reader expectations fuelled by technological change are threatening traditional service delivery and business models.

The IFLA Principles for Library eLending is based on the assumption that it is necessary for libraries and publishers/authors to negotiate a range of reasonable terms and conditions for the licensing of eBooks to libraries which allows them to fulfil their mission of guaranteeing access to knowledge and information for their communities.

The principles below are intended to help all library professionals seeking to provide downloadable eBook content to their users, and are broadly drafted to maintain relevance across IFLA’s 150 member countries.

Principles for the Licensing/Purchase and Use of eBooks in Libraries

1.    Libraries should be able to license and/or purchase all commercially available eBooks under a variety of terms and conditions dependent upon the nature of the work and the rights provided to libraries and their users such as:

  • Number of simultaneous users
  • The period of time the library has the right to make the eBook available.
  • The option of outright purchase with permanent availability1
  • A limit on the total number of loans permitted
  • Publication date and retail sales.2

2.    Given a mutual respect for copyright on the part of libraries and rightsholders, any eBook licensing/purchase options offered to libraries must respect copyright limitations and exceptions available to libraries and their users in legislation including if applicable:

  • The right to copy a portion of the work
  • Reformat the work for preservation purposes if it is licensed or purchased for permanent access
  • Provide an interlibrary loan copy
  • Re-format a work to enable print disabled access

Libraries should have the right to bypass a technological protection measure for the purpose of exercising any non-infringing purposes.

3.    eBooks available from libraries should be usable on all commonly available eReading devices.

4.    Libraries and library users must be able to control the use of a user’s personal information including their library digital reading choices.

5.    When publishers and/or authors and/or resellers withhold library access to eBooks, national legislation should require such access under reasonable terms and conditions

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Image: Let me see

Plant a little library

Seems that small is good, in even more ways than I realised.  Take a look at these Tiny House Libraries – this  free sharing initiative also helps communities promote the  fun of reading!

These Little Free Libraries are about ‘paying it forward’. People can take a book and return a book when they can. The scheme is simple and generous. Plant a small box, kind of like a bird house for books, atop a post. Fill it with about 20 books. Tell friends…

Read more about it at .  Some of these are just so cute!

Revolutionizing Libraries with Social Media

We are seeing faster and faster changes in the technological
landscape. In fact, in the past few years cloud computing has gone from an abstract idea to state-of-the art storage that we cannot do without.

Within this shifting environment we find libraries in a wide range of organisations (academic, public, corporate, special, schools)  re-visiting, re-imagining and re-branding their spaces, functions and service design.

In the full panalopy of library services, one aspect that occupied a busy group of people last Monday was social media in all its many dimensions. Don’t just think of Twitter, Facebook or Google+. Engaging in a conversation around social media opportunities is much more than than just choosing tools and  developing a social media strategy.

At the heart of the conversation was the issue of purpose, and the factors to consider in developing a social media strategy. As Bradley and McDonald write in the Harvard Business Review blog:-

What is a good purpose for social media? Would you recognize one if you saw it? And if you could identify a good purpose, would you be able to mobilize a community around it and derive business value from it?

Success in social media needs a compelling purpose. Such a purpose addresses a widely recognized need or opportunity and is specific and meaningful enough to motivate people to participate. Every notable social media success has a clearly defined purpose.

However, as librarians, we should have an interest that transcends that business approach. We are curators of knowledge and culture and embed products, tools, objects and strategies  to add value to the trans-literate environments of our communities.

At the day-long seminar Revolutionizing Libraries with Social Media,  co-ordinated by ARK Group Australia,  I explored  these issues with the attendees, ranging from the obvious, to the ambiguities of workplace structures, digital preservation issues, content curation options, community, collaboration, personal social networking vs corporate social strategy, e-services, and more. My colleague Lisa Nash from the Learning Exchange, Catholic Education, Parramatta Diocese also explored eBooks and eServices.

Always at the heart is our  need to ensure that  social media empowers connections within and beyond the library. We are ‘letting go’ – in order to allow our customers, patrons, or corporate clients to shape these services with Apps,  eResources, recommendation services, or strategic information delivery systems. Not every library will benefit from the same social media tools. But every library can develop new options for marketing their services and change the way their clients or community interact with the library.

In fact, there was so much to consider in one day, that the day was really just the start of more planning when the librarians got ‘back to base’.  To facilitate this I put together a LibGuide as a digital handout. The advantage of this was that we could  add requested items immediately as the day progressed , and can continue to curate this resource for future workshops as well as for those who so willingly engaged with us on Monday.

You can visit this guide at Revolutionizing Libraries with Social Media

Image 1  cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by heyjudegallery
Image 2 cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by heyjudegallery

Information literacy – and Second Life

If you read this in time – then I recommend attending the a mini-conference focused on Inquiry Based Learning on 26th June in Second Life (the virtual world) from 0.00-05.00 Second Life Time (this is 5-10pm in Sydney, for times in other regions/ countries go to

It is a free event, taking place on Infolit iSchool (Sheffield University’s island in SL, which is focused on Information Literacy and Inquiry Based Learning). The focus of the mini-conference is exploring the nature of Inquiry Based Learning (IBL), and its use in teaching in both Real Life and SL. The mini-conference is aimed at anyone who wants to discuss the potential of IBL, learn more about it and/ or exchange experience: you may be using IBL already (whether in RL teaching or SL teaching) or just be thinking about using it.

Note that delegates can attend one or more of the sessions – you can choose the ones that suit your schedule or interests. It is a SL track for a real life education conference taking place in Sheffield. It includes a “crossover” session interacting with the real life conference: Lyn Parker (a librarian at Sheffield Uni) will be leading that discussion in real life. Anyone who wants to attend in SL should email including their real life and SL names. There is full info on the sessions at

(optional extra para) Inquiry Based Learning is basically like problem based learning but more open ended – more like learning through research – and several unis in the UK have a focus on it, hence the RL conference.

From Sheila Webber, Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield