Crime writer Pauline Rowson's books in top three percent of those most borrowed from UK Libraries

I'm very pleased that my thriller novels and the marine mystery series featuring Detective Inspector Andy Horton have proved so popular with UK library users that I'm one of the top three percent of most borrowed authors in the UK.

Authors whose books are borrowed from libraries in the UK currently receive payment under the Public Lending Right (PLR) legislation. Payments are made annually on the basis of loans data collected from a sample of public libraries in the UK. Over 23,000 writers, illustrators, photographers, translators and editors who have contributed to books lent out by public libraries receive PLR payments each year. And there are a further 11,470 authors whose loans fell below the threshold for receiving payments.  The money an author receives is capped at £6,500.

PLR systems have been established in many countries around the world. British authors can also benefit from PLR payments in those countries which have a reciprocal agreement with the UK, which include Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, France and Ireland.

The present Coalition Government however has scrapped legislation, previously passed by the Labour government under the Digital Economy Bill, to extend PLR to audio books and e books lent by public libraries, which is a bit of a shame because my books are also available as e books and unabridged audio books. The Coalition government has also put libraries across the UK under serious threat of closure. In addition, Government funding for PLR is being reduced by 15% over the next four years and the body which has efficiently managed PLR for the last thirty years is to be closed and amalgamated with another government body as yet to be determined. So not good news for authors and certainly not good news for readers and library users, although I'm delighted to see we're all joining together to find library closures.

Without libraries people will be deprived of a fantastic community facility as well as free access to a wealth of knowledge and entertainment.

During 2009 to 2010 there were 321.5 million visits to UK libraries. I think that says it all.  Libraries help to build people’s literacy levels, educational attainment and employability, not to mention confidence, self esteem and well being. Manning libraries with volunteers cannot replace the experienced, professional and dedicated staff and if, as the government keep telling us, we’re all going to have to work until we’re seventy, I’d like to know where the volunteers will actually come from. Libraries are the hub of our communities and cutting them is depriving ordinary people of a much valued and used life line.

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