Canadian Urban Libraries Council/Conseil des Bibliothèques Urbaines du Canada

Knowledge Transfer

CULC/CBUC work on eBooks and Public Libraries

In Edmonton (June 2010) an item came forward from the Toronto Public Library asking CULC/CBUC to work with them to develop some background on the emerging issue of eBooks in Public Libraries. This was because of some trends that were not necessarily public library supportive.

Please also see our eBook RFI page and eBook RFP Page

Documents Developed by CULC/CBUC on this topic:

CULC/CBUC Spring Meeting 2012

CULC/CBUC met in Ottawa in late May.  A number of guests were invited to help members fully understand the issues and how the library pieces fit into a larger industry view.  The speaker's answered questions. 

Who Has CULC/CBUC Met & Consulted With


  • Association of Canadian Book Wholesalers (actual members)
  • Canadian Publishers Council (staff only)
  • Association of Canadian Publishers (staff only)
  • BookNet (staff – though at the request of members)
  • Transatlantic Literacy Agency (rep authors)
  • CPC – members / multiple times
  • eBound Canada – staff / multiple times
  • eBound Canada – members / one meeting
  • eBound Canada – 2012 Winter Meetings
  • Writer's Union of Canada (CULC ED; TWUC's ED and Chair)
  • BiblioCommons – multiple times
  • BiblioCommons/eBound Canada – one meeting
  • Ingram/Whitehots – members, staffers, eBound, etc.
  • Consultant working on PLR Report on eBooks (multiple interactions)


  • Above organizations and individuals
  • Federation of Ontario Public Libraries
  • Southern Ontario Library Service (Second largest Canadian eBook Buyer)
  • Interlink
  • Gibson Library Connections/Gibson Publishing Connections

Public Industry Events

In an effort to share information to the extent it was not “sensitive” the following forums have been used:

  • ReadersFirst Web-ex comments - September 2012
  • Quill & Quire "As ebook lending skyrockets, libraries and publishers look for a Canaidan-made licensing solution" – February 2012
  • CLA Annual Conference 2012 (May 2012) – two sessions - one from PL perspective; and one from our publishing/provider and opinion makers perspective.  More than 120 attended the morning session; 160 attended afternoon session.  Also a debate with Beth Jefferson and Molly Raphael (ALA) drew 100 attendees. 
  • ACP Winter Meetings – February 2012
  • OLA Super Conference 2012 – Session 404 – PowerPoint – attendance over 175
  • OLITA Technology Day “Digital Odyssey” – Vickery Bowles talked through the work CULC/CBUC is involved with – attendance over 120
  • 5th Annual RA in a Day (Toronto) – Michael Ciccone talked through the work CULC/CBUC is involved with – attendance over 155
  • BCLA Conference 2011 – special working group – 10
  • CLA Conference 2011 – Session – attendance about 60
  • OLA Super Conference 2011 – Session 1209 – attendance about 140
  • eBook Blog “Uncovering eBooks” –
  • Media requests: CBC x 4 (know it made it to air in Ottawa, Vancouver for sure); The Toronto Star; The Globe and Mail; Walrus Magazine; Canadian Press.
  • public and member only area

Historical CULC/CBUC News items connected:

Key Blogs and other sources on eBooks and Public Libraries

eBooks – RFI Info

UPDATE (July 3, 2012). responses to questions posed by potential RFI responders – version July 3, 2012.

UPDATE (June 19, 2012).  Deadline for questions extended to June 25, 2012.  

UPDATE (June 5, 2012).  The RFI has been released.  Thank you for your patience.  

The RFI was mentioned in a LJ article on June 5, 2012:

The Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC/CBUC) is working, with partners, on a Canadian pilot project for increasing eBook content for users. We will be issuing a Request for Information (RFI) seeking interested technology firms who can provide technological solutions to support the pilot.  

Information will be available May 31, 2012.  There will be a period for questions to be asked (pre-June 19); answered will be posted here by June 29 and responses to the RFI will be due by July 11, 2012.  The plan is to launch a pilot in January 2013.  

If you are a vendor interested in eBook solutions for Canada and would like to be sent information when it becomes available, please send a short note to with full contact information.

The eBOUND-CULC/CBUC RFI for Public Library eBook Lending Initiative

eBooks – RFP Info


Canada’s English-language publishing community (represented by eBOUND Canada) and Canada’s public libraries (represented by the Canadian Urban Libraries Council – CULC) are accepting proposals to develop a made-in-Canada solution that will provide eBook lending capabilities to all Canadian public libraries from Canadian publishers, with the opportunity for international publishers to join partner as well. In addition to eBook lending, the solution will, potentially, facilitate the sale of both eBook and print materials from the same publishers to library patrons.

We require a solution wherein patrons are permitted to seamlessly borrow, purchase and download content within the public library’s existing discovery layer, without the appearance of leaving it. We are seeking partners who feel their organizations possess existing technology that can meet our requirements or who feel their organizations can provide such technology within a few months.

In reaction to the shortcomings of existing content distribution models, in which vendors primarily retain the control of assets, public libraries in the U.S. are watching the creation of this model with great interest. The successful vendor has a very real opportunity to expand the model into the international market. To be successful, a vendor must address the need for publishers to ensure that all content is used solely as set out in contractual agreements with libraries. The vendor must also meet the needs of libraries by providing access to and portability of those materials.

This Request For Proposals (RFP) process is intended to lead to a yearlong pilot project and, later, to full implementation of the solution across Canada. If successful, it is possible that the pilot period will be shortened. We are confident that a joint venture of libraries and publishers, with participation by a vendor who provides services, is the model that will ultimately succeed.

Important Dates


For questions regarding this RFP, you are welcome to contact:

Jefferson Gilbert
Executive Director, CULC/CBUC

Susan Renouf
Chair, eBOUND Canada

Questions and answers will be published on the CULC website in an anonymous fashion.

eBound | CULC eBook Lending RFP Information.pdf

eBound | CULC eBook Lending RFP Information – Appendix B.xls