Many library staff will be aware of the Public Lending Right scheme in the UK and Ireland which pays authors for the number of times their books have been borrowed from public libraries. The scheme has been in place for 30 years (only more recently in Republic of Ireland), and is a way of authors receiving payment for library loans as opposed to the royalty they receive from publishers for book sales.
In the UK the scheme is funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and managed by a Registrar and team of staff in Stockton on Tees.
In October 2010 the government in Westminster proposed abolishing the current PLR public body and transfering the PLR functions. The DCMS are now holding a public consultation on the transfer of the function which is open from 8th June until 30th July. Note they are not abolishing PLR itself, just transferring the running of the scheme.
The consultation document “explains why the government considers this change is necessary and seeks opinions from stakeholders across the UK about the effects of such a change as well as their views on the options outlined.”
They are seeking responses from individual authors, translators, illustrators, librarians, producers and narrators, either through a relevant representative group, or individually. They outline 5 options and give their preferred option. Written responses to go to DCMS by email or hard copy.
About PLR in general
If you like lists, you may wish to look at some of the ones the PLR produce, such as most borrowed authors, most borrowed titles etc. The PLR payments are calculated using a sample of public library authorities across the UK, and the sample changes every few years. The libraries in the current sample can be found on the PLR website. (The Wales ones for 2011-12 are Cardiff, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Monmouthshire.)
The scheme is also open to all EU authors, and also includes illustrators, photographers, translators and editors. Over 23,000 people receive PLR payments each year. They also cap the payments at £6,600 so no one author receives more than that in any one year. The current rate per loan is 6.05p per loan. It doesn’t cover e-books and it doesn’t cover academic libraries either.