tldr; As libraries face closure across the globe because of coronavirus, millions of digitized books are now available for free to be borrowed by learn-at-home students and readers. We need more libraries to join Open Libraries to offer more copies to patrons; it’s free and easy.
In response to the global COVID-19 outbreak and related public health concerns, libraries across the nation are closing or scaling back service (see Fremont, Nebraska’s Keene Memorial Library closure; Seattle Public Library’s reduction in programs and bookmobile service). While Overdrive, Hoopla, and other streaming services provide patrons access to latest best sellers and popular titles, the long tail of reading and research materials available deep within a library’s print collection are often not available through these large commercial services. What this means is that when libraries face closures in times of crisis, patrons are left with access to only a fraction of the materials that the library holds in its collection.
That’s where the Internet Archive’s Open Libraries program, powered by controlled digital lending, can help. We empower libraries to turn their print holdings digital, offering digitized versions of the physical books in their collection to their patrons, overcoming distance and closures. We’ve been acquiring and digitizing millions of the most important books – school libraries, entire college libraries, books cited in Wikipedia, books assigned in courses and included in syllabi, etc. – and 1.4 million of those books are now available for anyone to check out online at archive.org for free.
Open Libraries helps individuals & libraries alike, in the following ways:
For individuals: Individual readers have access to all of the books that Internet Archive has digitized, including 1.4 million modern books. An Internet Archive library card is free and gives users the ability to check out 5 digitized books at a time. Browse our collection today and start reading immediately!
For libraries: Think of Open Libraries as your digital branch library. The 1.4 million books we’ve digitized are available for you to claim and lend to your patrons. The process is simple: join Open Libraries and then share your library catalog with us to find out which of your books we’ve already digitized. We’ll give you a link to those books that you can incorporate back into your catalog, helping your patrons locate these digitized books from within your library catalog and local search. Join today.
If you’d like to learn more about how libraries are using controlled digital lending, please visit our recap from last year’s Library Leaders Forum, and our 11-part series highlighting different library use cases. Once you’re ready to start lending our titles to your patrons, please begin by filling out our simple online form.
We are ready to assist however we can.