Jarvis tells Vaizey: “Libraries must be able to move with the times”

Shadow Culture Minister, Dan Jarvis, today questioned Ed Vaizey at the dispatch box. Jarvis challenged his counterpart on the issue of the Public Lending Right scheme being extended to e-books in libraries, by asking the Minister, “It is increasingly accepted that part of the long-term future of book lending lies in e-books being available in all libraries. In order for our libraries to move into the 21st century, the tensions around the Public Lending Right Scheme, and e-books, must be urgently addressed. Can the Minister tell the House why he has not moved to implement the extension of the Public Lending Right to electronic books as mandated in Section 43 of the 2010 Digital Economy Act?”

Authors are currently paid 6.05p every time their physical books are borrowed from the UK’s public libraries, up to a maximum of £6,600 under the Public Lending Right Scheme. E-books are not currently included in this scheme, despite the fact that the last Labour Government legislated for this under Section 43 of the Digital Economy Act 2010.

Jarvis explained, “This was an important question to ask Ed Vaizey as not only does it raise very important issues about ensuring that authors are properly remunerated for their work, but it is also vital for the future of libraries, and their role in the 21st century.

“There are a number of tensions around this issue but I am keen that the Government works with the books industry to find a solution as early as possible. The Digital Economy Act 2010 legislated for this to happen, and the Government have still not ensured its implementation. Two years later this is unacceptable”.

Outside the Chamber, Jarvis concluded, “Today Ed Vaizey stated that he is keen to work with me to resolve the non-inclusion of digital books in the Public Lending Right Scheme. My forthcoming report titled; ‘A Vision for a 21st Century Library’, looks closely at the future role for libraries, and e-books are a vital part of this future. So far, the Government have done very little to support libraries, but I will be writing to Ed Vaizey to confirm that he delivers on his offer to work with me to make much needed progress in this area”.

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