Originally Posted by tench
I think the legal situation would likely be similar in the US, but even assuming that the ebooks were all in the public domain, I would think that most libraries would not have the technological capability of loaning out ebooks in the way you are talking about. Most libraries use Overdrive right now, which (as I understand it) basically provides the lending service for the library. Most libraries would probably not want to take the trouble or expense of setting up their own individual lending service for ebooks.
If they were public domain, there wouldn't need to be any special loaning procedure. Just make them available and let people download them without restrictions. You wouldn't even need the Library, actually.