How the PLR Program works

The cycle takes a full year. The principal processes of the PLR Program are the registration of titles, the verification of title eligibility, the sampling of public libraries, and the preparation and issuing of payments.

Registration of titles
Each year, the registration period opens in mid-February and ends at the beginning of May. Authors complete forms that provide necessary information about their new books to the Public Lending Right Program.

Verification of title eligibility
The registration forms are then reviewed by PLR staff, who ensure that no information is missing and that the authors and books are eligible for PLR payments.

PLR payments are based on the presence of an eligible book in one or more of the public library catalogues selected by the PLR Commission for its annual sample.

The selection of public library catalogues takes into account the desire to include substantial collections and to represent the various regions of Canada. We survey seven public libraries in each language group. All bilingual books or books written in languages other than English or French are researched in all 14 library catalogues, though the maximum number of times these books can be found is limited to seven. The number of copies found in a library is not taken into account.

A variety of data collection methods are employed by the PLR Program. For many years, the research was carried out manually, with librarians going through their catalogues with a list of registered books. Most research is now done by PLR staff using a computerized search process. This compares the list of registered titles with either a library’s online catalogue or a digital copy of the library’s catalogue.

At the end of the process, the PLR database has a record of how many times each registered title was found. Only those registrants whose library survey results amount to at least $50 qualify to receive a PLR payment.

Preparation and sending of payments
The basic elements of the calculation of each author payment are the number of books each author has registered, the number of times each of the books was found and the PLR payment budget. Other variables can also affect the payments, for example:

  • the author’s percentage share
  • the maximum or minimum payment set by the PLR
  • the payment category in which the title falls, determined by the number of years the title has been registered.

All these variables figure in the computerized calculation of PLR payments. In January of each year, the payments are calculated, checked and finalized, and the cheques and reports are produced. Envelopes are mailed to authors in mid-February.

N.B. Amounts resulting from PLR cheques that are not cashed at the end of each calendar year are placed back into the PLR author payment budget for the subsequent year.

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