030823CM0538.JPGSPRINGFIELD – Libraries may have an easier time acquiring e-book and e-audiobook licenses thanks to a new measure sponsored by State Senator Laura Murphy that would allow the State Librarian to negotiate with publishers on behalf of libraries.

“Allowing the State Librarian to negotiate on behalf of libraries will help streamline the process of acquiring e-books and e-audiobooks significantly increase the use among adults and children alike,” said Murphy (D-Des Plaines). “Right now licenses to access this technology are often prohibitively expensive, restrictive or just not available.”

The measure would allow the Secretary of State, acting as the State Librarian, to negotiate with publishers of e-books and e-audiobooks on behalf of libraries to enable to acquisition of necessary licenses.

Consumption of digital books has been on the rise for more than a decade. According to Pew Research Center, the number of adults who read e-books has increased by 13% since 2011, and during the same time, the number of audiobook listeners increased by 12%. Since 2019, adults in households earning less than $30,000 have seen an 8% increase in audiobook listening.

“Our libraries are often going without access to these useful resources due to their inability to negotiate reasonable terms,” said Murphy. “E-books and e-audiobooks are incredible tools that can encourage our children to love reading and help individuals with disabilities connect with reading again.”

Senate Bill 2419 passed the Senate State Government Committee on Wednesday. It now goes to the Senate floor for further deliberation.