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The institutional e-lending setup in Scandinavian libraries: logics in play in the eyes of library and policy actors

Maciej Liguzinski (Department of Archivistics, Library and Information Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo, Norway)
Nanna Kann-Rasmussen (Department of Communication, Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 18 April 2024




The article investigates the institutional setup of e-lending in public libraries in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Our point of departure is that e-lending has necessitated new library collaborations between local, regional and national levels, and therefore, institutional e-lending setups have emerged. The study seeks to provide better understanding of how the institutional setups are structured, how governance logics have shaped them and what tensions and dynamics become visible in the key actors’ problematisations of these setups.


The study is situated in the neo-institutional tradition and applies the institutional logics perspective. The research questions are answered by taking a qualitative approach, grounded in an extensive interview study with representatives of libraries, publishers and policy actors in three Scandinavian countries. To provide in-depth insight into e-lending setups, the scope of empirical material is then limited to accounts the central library and policy actors involved in establishing e-lending.


The analysis shows that the e-lending setups are both similar (especially when it comes to financing), and different across Scandinavia, especially when it comes to centralisation and involvement of librarians in this task. The differences are attributed to the influence of different governance logics (question of administrative autonomy, collaboration in the field and existing legal and political frames), and to what extent the digital and market logics are incorporated or rejected in the field.


The study provides new insights into the question of how Scandinavian public libraries face the consequences of the digitalisation of book distribution and consumption by investigating how they organise their e-lending services. This has not been explored before, notably in a comparative perspective.



This study is a part of a PhD research project, that was funded by the Norges Forskningsråd (The Research Council of Norway) through the research project Political Dynamics of the Cultural Sector (POLYCUL), project number 302199.


Liguzinski, M. and Kann-Rasmussen, N. (2024), "The institutional e-lending setup in Scandinavian libraries: logics in play in the eyes of library and policy actors", Journal of Documentation, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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