PLR at 30: Still Talking Books

PLR at 30: Still Talking Books

Posted 16 February 2016 by Peter Schneider
30th anniversary of the Public Lending Right at Canada Council for the Arts

This year, the Canada Council’s Public Lending Right program will provide compensation to more than 17,000 Canadian writers, photographers, playwrights, poets, illustrators, and translators for the presence and enjoyment of their works in public library collections across Canada.

Since 1986, when the PLR program was established under the roof of the Canada Council, it has been guided by the members of the Public Lending Right Commission, a body which assembles the expertise of authors, publishers, and librarians from both official language communities of Canada.  

Let’s wind the lens back

2016 marks the 30th anniversary of PLR’s establishment in Canada. It is truly striking to observe how many things have changed over the past three decades: library card catalogues have been replaced by online search engines; hand-stamped due dates are a thing of the past, as patrons now check items out using RFID scanners; the manual searches for PLR- eligible titles which formerly occupied thousands of hours of volunteer time inside public library branches have given way to rapid downloads of bibliographic data which nourish the program’s annual research. This year, PLR will open registration for electronic books, a further step into a world unimaginable when the program was conceived.

Looking ahead a growing passion

What has remained the same? The dedication of the program’s staff to serving an ever-growing community of authors, the passion and integrity of the members of the PLR Commission, and the Canadian reading public’s boundless appetite for literary and scholarly books in all shapes, sizes, and formats. As Canada nears its 150th anniversary in 2017, we are still talking about books, the ideas and stories they contain, and their value to our society.

To register your work, or to discover more about the history of the program and the members of the PLR Commission, please visit us at

Peter Schneider

About the Author: Peter Schneider

Peter Schneider is the Manager of the Public Lending Right Program and Executive Secretary to the Public Lending Right Commission.

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