IFLA ILP: Project 3: Access to Digital Content/e-Lending


Digital lending, including the lending of eBooks and other digital materials, is a major issue for all types of libraries. Increased consumer demand for eReaders, and a growing market for eBooks is fuelling a boom in the lending of downloadable eBooks, primarily by, but not limited to, public libraries. At the same time libraries are confronting a new and challenging situation where publishers (and potentially other rightsholders such as authors) are withholding library sales of eBooks which are otherwise commercially available. When eBooks are made available to libraries there are no generally accepted license terms and conditions for the works and the terms and conditions required by some publishers and distributors are unacceptable to some libraries. In addition, alongside their provision of digital reading devices, major international companies such as Amazon and Apple are expanding their involvement in the publishing, distribution and lending of digital content in ways which are disruptive for both traditional publishers and libraries.

Against this background, IFLA has produced a background paper on digital lending that outlines the issues involved and what is at stake for libraries.

Reports and deliverables

Year 1 Project Report
Summary of work undertaken by the group between 2012-2013

A Report on the Survey of the eBooks and eLending in African Countries (March 2014)
This survey aimed at establishing the status of eBooks and eLending in Africa – their availability and usage in particular. The focus was on public libraries and Library Associations’ involvement in public libraries, in the context of development of eBooks and eLending.

Expected Project Outcomes


  • The participant will get to work and collaborate with senior LIS experts on access to digital content and e-Lending, and gain an understanding of how to effectively advocate for open access policies
  • The participant will develop an understanding of the challenges that the digital shift presents, and the international landscape in which advocacy for the role of libraries as providers of digital content can take place
  • The participant will gain experience in producing supporting materials that can be used for advocacy at national and international levels.
  • The participant will gain experience of presenting in high-level meetings, and advocating to government officials in support of agreed policy positions.


  • IFLA will gain added capacity and expertise in support of its work on e-lending, and an advocate for its positions at a national level.
  • IFLA will benefit by being able to draw upon the increased expertise of the participant in future advocacy situations relating to libraries and e-lending.

LDP (Library Development Programme), ALP (Action for Development through Libraries Programme), IFLA International Leaders Programme, leadership, Advocacy, Ebooks

Last update: 5 December 2017