Public Lending Right (PLR) is a legal right to payment from Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport funding for eligible book contributors when their books are borrowed from public libraries.
The UK PLR scheme is administered by the British Library from its offices in Boston Spa. The UK PLR office also provides registration for the Irish PLR scheme on behalf of Public Lending Remuneration, Ireland.
For the current spending review period, PLR funding amounts to £6.6 million per year. Contributor payments, capped at £6,600 pa, are based on loans data collected from a sample of public libraries in the UK. The Irish Public Lending Remuneration (PLR) system covers all libraries in the Republic of Ireland and operates in a similar way.
History of the PLR Act (1979)
British authors campaigned for 30 years for the recognition of their right to receive payment for the free loan of their books through the public library system.
In the 1970s the campaign gained momentum with the emergence of the Writers Action Group (WAG). Addressing fears that the government might make PLR a charge on library users, and thus threaten the principle of free public access to libraries, the WAG campaign focused on the need for a centrally-funded scheme.
PLR was established by the Public Lending Right Act 1979 which gave British authors a legal right to receive payment for the free loan of their books by public libraries. The Act established PLR as an intellectual property right, entirely separate from copyright.
The principles of PLR were set out in the 1979 primary legislation and a 1982 Scheme provided more detailed rules for the operation of UK PLR, such as which authors and books are eligible, how many libraries should be included in the sample and how the amount payable should be calculated.
The Public Lending Right Act 1979 and subsequent Public Lending Right Scheme 1982 were amended by the Public Bodies (Abolition of the Registrar of Public Lending Right) Order 2013. Responsibility for the administration of the PLR scheme transferred to the British Library in October 2013. See our Strategic Framework, which describes PLR's strategic priorities under the Library.
The PLR team
PLR Management Team
The members of the PLR management team are:
- Kate Ebdon, Head of PLR Operations
- Julia Eccleshare, Head of PLR Policy and Engagement
- Janis Black, PLR Operations and Marketing Manager
The British Library Advisory Committee for PLR
The Committee provides advice to the PR Management Team and the British Library Board on the operation of the UK PLR Scheme. The Committee consists of an independent Chair and six members representing PLR's key stakeholder groups.
- Tom Holland, Author (Chair)
- Alexis Deacon, Author and Illustrator
- Isobel Dixon, Literary Agent
- Daniel Hahn, Author and Translator (representing the Society of Authors)
- Ayub Khan, Customer Service Manager (Face to Face), Warwickshire Libraries (nominated by the Society of Chief Librarians)
- Alison Wheeler, Chief Executive Officer, Suffolk Libraries (nominated by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals)
- Nick Yapp, Author (nominated by the Writers' Guild of Great Britain)