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The Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries
The Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries (ALDL) requests and receives copies of publications for distribution to five major libraries.
It is maintained by five legal deposit libraries and ensures that they receive legal deposit copies of British and Irish publications.
The agency must request copies on behalf of the five libraries within 12 months of the date of publication. On receiving such a request from the agency, a publisher must supply a copy for each of the requesting libraries under the terms of the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 (UK) and the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 (Ireland).
Moving the agency to Edinburgh
The previous ALDL operation was supported by Cambridge University and operated from leased premises in central London. The agency outgrew this accommodation, and there was no room for flexibility or capacity for expansion.
The National Library of Scotland (NLS) has now taken over ownership and management of the agency on behalf of the five legal deposit libraries. Since 2 March 2009, the agency has been operating within the NLS Causewayside Building in Edinburgh.
Legal deposit libraries involved in the agency
The five libraries involved in the operation of the Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries are:
- Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford
- Cambridge University Library
- National Library of Scotland
- Library of Trinity College, Dublin
- National Library of Wales.
These five libraries have the right to request materials from publishers in terms of legal deposit legislation.
The British Library is also a legal deposit library, but has an automatic right to receive legal deposit materials.
What 'legal deposit' means
Legal deposit is the act of depositing published material in designated libraries. Publishers and distributors in the United Kingdom and in Ireland have a legal obligation to deposit published material in the six legal deposit libraries. These collectively maintain the national published archive of the British Isles.
The principle of legal deposit has been well established for nearly four centuries and has great advantages for authors and publishers.
Publications deposited with the legal deposit libraries:
- Are available to the libraries' registered users
- Are preserved for the benefit of future generations
- Become part of the national heritage.
Publishers' legal obligation
Publishers are obliged to send one copy of each of their publications to the British Library, free of charge, within one month of the date of publication. The other five libraries have the right to request the deposit of publications, free of charge, within a year of the date of publication. In practice many publishers deposit their publications with all six libraries without waiting for a claim to be made.
UK and Irish legislation
The Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 (UK) and the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 (Ireland) make it obligatory for publishers and distributors in the United Kingdom and Ireland to deposit their publications.
On 6 April 2013, the Legal Deposit Libraries (Non-Print Works) Regulations 2013 came into force, extending legal deposit to include electronic publications.
Scottish charity number: SC348650