SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Nabeela Syed, D-Palatine, recently passed a measure to give the Secretary of State the power to negotiate with publishers of e-books and audiobooks on behalf of all Illinois libraries.
“The License to Read Act makes long-term economic sense, empowers local libraries to continue to provide essential services and cuts a lot of unnecessary government red tape,” Syed said. “By combining Illinois libraries’ bargaining power under one banner, they will get more favorable rates on e-books and audiobooks. Funding that right now ends up padding the profits of big corporations will now be spent on afterschool tutoring and adult education programs. I am pleased to join my Senate colleagues and Secretary of State Giannoulias to set local libraries stronger footing.”
The License to Read Act, Senate Bill 2419, puts the State Librarian, an official in the Secretary of State’s office, in charge of negotiating the rates libraries across Illinois pay for the rights to rent e-books and audiobooks. Currently, those markets are controlled by big corporations who have been squeezing local libraries and library districts for excessive fees and restrictive, short-term contracts.
“Libraries serve as the cornerstones of our communities,” said Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias. “But new technology now offers different ways to access books, so we need to make it easier for our libraries to acquire e-books and online learning materials. Libraries can negotiate for better prices from publishers when they work together. This measure will help local libraries expand their selection of e-books to better serve residents. I thank Representative Syed for sponsoring this bill, successfully guiding it through the House and ensuring brighter futures for our children.”
State Sen. Laura Murphy, D-Des Plaines, spearheaded this legislation in the Senate. “E-books and audiobooks can open doors that traditional books cannot. They can allow people to connect with reading again, and encourage our children to learn to love reading,” said Murphy. “Our libraries will truly benefit from this measure, which will buoy our communities and lead to even more readers.”