European Library Association Launches Campaign to Get Ebooks

One of Europe’s library associations is just as upset about library access to ebooks as its American counterpart and has launched multinational campaign to try for change.

The European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA) launched its Right to E-Read campaign today, a multi-country effort to bring awareness to readers as to what their options are in terms of reading digitally through libraries and to also let them know the issues libraries have in obtaining ebooks.

The American Library Association, which in a recent report on the state of libraries in America, praised progress libraries and publishers have made in trading ebooks over the past year but lamenting progress yet to be made.

More about Right to E-Read campaign, from the campaign’s website:

Building up on the previous e-books in libraries campaign (2012-2013). It aims at raising awareness among the general public, librarians and policy makers about the difficulties currently faced by libraries, specifically with regard to access to e-books and digital content. The campaign also will raise awareness about the need for change, particularly in the case of the copyright framework.

The campaign, initiated by EBLIDA, is being carried out in all European countries. The idea for a campaign poster with a logo and slogans was developed by the e-books task force headed by Gerald Leitner. At the European level, EBLIDA is coordinating the campaign. EBLIDA provides information and material for its members for download and use. This goes for communication material (posters, postcards) progressively made available as well as background information, legal text for discussion with specialist, librarians and the general public.

EBLIDA is also focusing on delivering information to politicians and the media in order to put this issue on the political agenda.

On 23rd of April, the World Book and Copyright Day will be an ideal opportunity to hold press conferences in the capital cities in all participating countries. EBLIDA will organise a press conference in Brussels on “the Right to e-read”.

Meanwhile, the American Library Association praised the effort in a press release:

ALA President applauds creation of “Right to E-read” campaign

Today, the European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA) launched the “Right to E-read” campaign, a new initiative that enables libraries to advocate for library e-books. In response, Barbara Stripling, president of the American Library Association (ALA), today congratulated EBLIDA for developing the ebook advocacy campaign:

“We understand that many libraries in European countries have faced challenges in obtaining and lending best-selling ebooks from major book publishers. In fact, surveys suggest that more than 50 percent of the latest ebook titles are not available to public libraries in Europe. Today, we applaud EBLIDA for demanding that the European Commission change copyright law to require publishers to sell to libraries.

“The “ebook” problem is all too familiar to ALA and U.S. libraries, so we empathize with our European colleagues. Our approach to getting more ebooks in U.S. libraries involved engaging in direct discussions with publishers, in addition to demonstrating that library e-book lending enhances overall ebook sales. Through many means of connecting authors and readers, libraries help the public discover and enjoy books from the broad range of authors.

“While we’ve made great progress in the U.S., there is still much work to be done. Like EBLIDA, we call for better licensing terms and reasonable prices as our work continues. Currently, the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) is working with all of the major library associations on an eLending position paper that includes an update on the current ebook status in various countries. We continue to work on ways to develop reasonable and fair ebook pricing models.”

About the American Library Association
The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 57,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

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