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Masaryk University launches own library e-loan service

Thanks to a unique legal solution, MU students and employees do not have to wait for blanket agreements to be made with copyright collectives.

Students and employees can now electronically borrow about 10,000 books.

Now, the MU library catalogue allows people to electronically borrow about 10,000 books that MU’s libraries have physical copies of and which students currently have a difficult time accessing. The university no longer uses the e-loan app that was available in the spring semester. This is a new service intended only for MU that has its own special rules.

MU students and employees may now search the library catalogue using a special filter that locates books that can be borrowed online. These publications can be loaned for a maximum of four hours.

Every user may borrow one book at any given time and can leaf through its pages directly in the browser window. The number of people that can electronically borrow a given publication at one time is limited to the number of physical copies that the library owns. Before borrowing a book, it is possible to see its entire contents and thus avoid borrowing and blocking a work that does not contain what you need.

“From a legal perspective, this service has nothing in common with the spring-semester e-loan system. This time we developed our own solution at Masaryk University based on a legal analysis and drawing from current case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union. We have managed to provide students with access to a great amount of study materials without having to wait for any blanket agreements to be made”, explains Radim Polčák, vice-rector for development, legislation and information technologies, adding that this solution is unique not only to the Czech Republic but also to Europe.

This service was launched in response to the anti-epidemic measures currently in place that have made accessing library materials difficult for students and university employees. Now they can read library books from the comfort from their homes, although there are some limitations. The costs associated with this service will be paid by MU during the pilot period.

The latest governmental measures have not made it fully impossible for students and employees to get their hands on physical library books. Although people are not permitted inside the libraries, they may pick up books from a “walk-up window”. You can find out whether a particular library is still loaning physical copies of books by following its website.