October 4, 2021

In September 2021, the CDL Co-Op, a group of librarians and information professionals working on issues of resource sharing, interlibrary loan, and controlled digital lending, announced its Statement on Using Controlled Digital Lending as a Mechanism for Interlibrary Loan, available at Developed with deep community input, the Statement’s introduction provides context for library use of controlled digital lending (a modern method for libraries to loan digitized items from their print collection to their patrons in a “lend like print” fashion) as a mechanism for Interlibrary Loan. By situating it within the purpose of libraries and the ways they serve their communities and society, the introduction lays the foundation for 10 brief statements that define and affirm the use of Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) in library and interlibrary loan (ILL) contexts.

The Statement was developed by the CDL Co-op during 2020 and 2021 in response to community need, and in conjunction with broad library community conversation and feedback. This approach to the development of the Statement increased awareness of controlled digital lending (CDL) in the context of interlibrary loan among librarians and library staff, and also provides an opportunity to improve the services provided by the library resource sharing community by ensuring libraries and consortia are operating from a shared set of assumptions and principles.

Recognizing the uncertainty many library staff and related organizations feel around CDL practices and legalities, the CDL Co-Op framed its Statement as a shared starting point for broader community conversation around these issues. CDL Co-Op participant Charlie Barlow, Executive Director at the Boston Library Consortium, noted, “These statements were intended to build comfort with CDL among members of the library community, and to diminish the fears and misconceptions that prevent us from properly and permissibly using technology to increase equitable access to information. The sudden switch to remote learning for so many this past year and a half made this work even more urgent. These statements are a starting point that we hope will generate an open and candid discussion among all stakeholders.”

The authors are now calling on libraries, related organizations, and individuals to endorse the Statement by adding their names to its list of signatories, which includes a dozen organizations such as the Boston Library Consortium (BLC), Duke University Libraries, the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI), the Partnership for Academic Library Collaboration & Innovation (PALCI) Board of Directors, Orbis Cascade Alliance, VIVA – the Virginia Academic Library Consortium, and the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL), among others. Organizations may endorse the statement online at In the coming months, the CDL Co-Op will build on this work with a forthcoming white paper that further explores the use of Controlled Digital Lending for ILL purposes.

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CDL Co-op