1. To calculate payments due to authors
A representative sample of book loans, consisting of all issues from selected public libraries is recorded. This is then multiplied in proportion to total library lending to produce for each book an estimate of its total annual loans throughout the country. Books must be registered in order to qualify for payment.
Each year, after deduction of administrative costs, the fund allocated by Parliament is divided by the total loans of registered books to arrive at a ‘pence per loan’ figure. This forms the basis for calculating payments.
The amount payable is proportionate to the estimated number of times that registered books are borrowed nationally during the PLR year (July – June). Payment is made the following year (usually in February). The maximum anyone may receive in a year is £6,600; earnings that total less than £1 are not paid. Money saved as a result of these thresholds is returned to the Fund for redistribution.
2. To promote libraries and improve publicity
An annual press release is issued in February detailing trends in UK library borrowings, useful facts and figures and details of the most borrowed authors and books in various genres.
The loans data collected is now available online to public libraries through PLR's LEWIS (Loans Enquiry Web Information Service). LEWIS provides a wide range of search options over a twenty-year archive of loans data on national, regional and local borrowing trends. It allows searches by author, publisher, subject category etc.