News eBook Bills Could Expand Access to Reading in Connecticut

Connecticut public libraries face a significant obstacle in providing ebooks and audiobooks for our communities. They can only license these ebooks and audiobooks rather than purchase them outright, which comes at a steep cost.

This means that our libraries are forced to pay exorbitant fees and are often subjected to restrictive licensing terms that limit the number of times a book can be borrowed or how many copies can be owned.

However, the Connecticut Library Association has proposed a solution.

The state legislature is considering HB6829 and HB6800, two new state ebook bills that would allow public libraries to purchase ebooks just like physical books. This legislation will give our libraries more control over their collections, extend their budgets, and better meet the needs of their patrons. The bills are carefully crafted to safeguard the rights of copyright holders while establishing fair terms for libraries and other consumers. It's a win-win situation that benefits everyone involved.

While Connecticut libraries have been licensing ebooks and audiobooks for years, the need for this bill has only grown. During COVID, many people relied on ebooks and audiobooks to access reading materials because of library closures and social distancing - and they still love their ebooks and audiobooks! Coming through the pandemic, the high costs and restrictive licensing terms of ebooks have made it more and more difficult for libraries to meet the increased demand for ebooks. If we pass HB6829 or HB6800, we can help ensure that our communities can access the ebooks and digital audiobooks they need, no matter the circumstances.

As Ellen Paul, the director of the Connecticut Library Consortium, notes, "Libraries cannot promote books and reading if they are priced out of the book marketplace." Recently, the Connecticut House Government Administration and Elections Committee heard Testimony about HB-06829. CLA's eBook Advocacy page shares testimony from organizational stakeholders in favor of the legislation. We need the legislature to hear from folks across the state, too, about this important issue. Please join the CLA and EveryLibrary in urging your state legislators to support HB6829 and HB6800. Doing this can make reading more accessible to everyone in our state and ensure libraries have the digital collections our towns need.

Please sign the petition from the Connecticut Library Association and EveryLibrary
to send an email to your Representative and Senator today about HB6800 and HB6829 today.

We believe that reading is a fundamental right, and we should do everything in our power to make it as accessible as possible. For many people, eBooks are the most practical way to access books due to mobility issues, distance from libraries, or simply the convenience of digital formats. You can help make reading more accessible by reaching out to your state legislators today.  The more we can bring out support for these innovative and useful ebook bills.