I have just read an interesting article around libraries in Nottinghamshire charging to loan e-books. Around 18 months ago the Department for Culture, Media and Sportthat it would be perfectly legal to charge for e-books.
Whilst there is the argument that a lot of e-books can be downloaded for free or for less than the £1 loan charge, libraries could use this for the loan of more specialised or niche books that are sold for much more. For example, expensive study guides could be loaned by a student needing a publication for a particular project but not wanting to spend the money on purchasing this.
There is a question around the fact that the whole purpose of a library is to provide access to publications for free and this does seem to go against this. It may be that with the boom of the ebook libraries are finding it harder to survive as less and less people have a need to visit them. Also, with public funding being removed there may be a situation where some people are unable to access books for free and do not own a device that allows them to view e-books.
You can view the article here.