E-lending: what does your new government mean for digital libraries?

Now the election campaign has run its course, it’s a bit late (for now) to ask whether your MP supports the Speak Up For Libraries campaign’sManifesto for Libraries. But it’s never too late to know where each of the main parties stand. Labour promised a closer relationship between the culture minister and the Department for Communities and Local Government to protect and campaign for existing libraries; the Lib Dems were promoting theCommunity Right to Bid, which allows local people more options when community assets are put up for sale; while the Greens opposed all library changes, including the sort of stealth privatisation through so-called community interest companies which the Right to Bid proposals support. Ed Vaizey, libraries minister under the coalition, defended the Tory-led record, but also promised Conservative support for the Sieghart report, which he commissioned. It should be hoped that all the parties get behind this, too.

The Sieghart report – officially the Independent Library Report for England – was delivered in December 2014. Among other things, it begins by noting how many previous library reports have come to nothing, and goes on to argue for the creation of a national-level ebook platform to make public library ebook lending possible. It also asks that the government support writers better through changes to EU law around e-lending – a crucial step towards functional digital libraries.

But the reason the report is so important is that it highlights why libraries are crucial to wider, societal digital engagement, not just to ebook adoption. As what the report calls “safe places for literacy and learning”, libraries act as community hubs and access points for those without regular access to the internet – meaning both literature and access to government digital services.Libraries have brought generations into book and media literacy, and could, with the right support, do the same for digital literacy – and even, as the Sieghart report hopes, digital fluency.


Texto original retirado do site The Guardian.

BRIDLE, James. E-lending: what does your new government mean for digital libraries? The Guardian: 11 mai. 2015. Disponível em: <http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/may/11/e-lending-libraries-sieghart-report&gt;. Acesso em: 13 mai. 2015.

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