Category Archives: Lending Books

Controlled Digital Lending Visionary Michelle Wu to Receive Internet Archive Hero Award

At today’s Library Leaders Forum, Internet Archive founder and digital librarian Brewster Kahle announced that Michelle Wu will receive the 2020 Internet Archive Hero Award.  The annual award recognizes those who have exhibited leadership in making information available for digital learners all over the world. Past recipients have included Phillips Academy, the Biodiversity Heritage Library, and the Grateful Dead

“Michelle Wu was ahead of her time in understanding the transition to the digital era and brought library lending into our new landscape,” said Kahle. “Not only did Michelle see a problem coming, she did something about it.”

Pamela Samuelson, the Richard M. Sherman Distinguished Professor of Law and Information at the University of California, Berkeley, agrees that Wu’s scholarship and contributions to the field have been important. Said Samuelson, “Michelle’s articles explaining the concept have been very useful for students to have not just the reader’s perspective, or law student’s perspective, but how librarians are really taking the challenge of the digital age.” 

Wu will receive the award and present an overview of her work during the final Library Leaders Forum session on October 20 at 10am PDT. Registration is free for the virtual event.

MEDIA: photo and biographical sketch available via georgetown.edu.

Rare Oration by Frederick Douglass Now Available Online

On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass gave a speech in Rochester, New York, in which he called out the injustice in the Declaration of Independence for people of color. “This Fourth of July is for yours, but not for mine,” he said. “You may rejoice, I must mourn.”

Douglass’s oration was then printed and distributed, where it has become an important part of anti-slavery and abolitionist collections ever since. One of those copies made its way to Better World Books, which received a first-edition pamphlet with Douglass’s famous remarks, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” from the Library at Hartford Seminary. Instead of selling the artifact, the socially conscious online book seller elected to donate the rare print copy to the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore to be housed in the special collections of its African American Department.

Prior to gifting the historic item to Pratt, Better World Books partnered with the Internet Archive to digitize and preserve the historic pamphlet for students, readers, scholars, and all people around the world to access. The text is now freely available online to all at https://archive.org/details/orationdelivered00fred/.

The importance of digital access to library materials has been demonstrated during library and school closures due to COVID-19. Said Brewster Kahle, founder and digital librarian at the Internet Archive, “A lot of our libraries are either distant or difficult to get to, so we’re turning more and more to our screens to get the resources we have from our libraries.” Douglass’s oration is an important contribution to that online collection.

“At Better World Books, we believe in the power of knowledge,” said Dustin Holland, president and CEO of the company.  “Our library clients entrust us to maximize the value of each and every book we process.  Douglass’s famous speech deserves to be accessible and seen by everyone, so we were compelled to serve the greater good by bringing two great library institutions together to serve this purpose.”

Heidi Daniel, president and chief executive officer of Pratt, said the library welcomed the donation of the rebound pamphlet, which would be made available to patrons in person and throughout the region because of Pratt’s designation as a state library resource center.  At the entrance of the Pratt library is a quote attributed to Douglass: “Once you learn to read, you are truly free.” 

Douglass, an outspoken abolitionist who escaped slavery, was from the Maryland Eastern Shore.  “He has a strong legacy in Maryland that is well studied and well researched,” says Daniel. “This [Douglass] Oration will be right at home here in our African American Department.”

What to Expect at the Library Leaders Forum

With library service impacted at global scale due to COVID-19, libraries have had to adjust their digital lending programs to meet the needs of the communities they serve. The crisis has proven the power and importance of digital tools in responding to crisis and empowering those who would otherwise be excluded from access to knowledge and education. 

So where do we go from here? How can we harness the learnings from this extraordinary time to build the library of the 21st century? This October at the Library Leaders Forum, experts from the library, copyright, and information policy fields will come together for a three-week virtual event exploring the future of digital lending and its key role in a democratic society. Here are our three key discussion points:

Information policy in the digital age: how can we empower libraries? 

Our first session will focus on policy: how can we build a healthy information ecosystem for the 21st Century? The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that digital access to library materials is more important than ever, and that our current models are not adequate to meet this need. Digital access is particularly important for the most vulnerable people in our society, including disadvantaged communities, people with print disabilities, and those affected by emergency. Information policy, therefore, has wide-ranging implications for equality and the right to education. In this session, librarians, authors, and publishers will come together to discuss what’s broken, what’s working, and the future of information policy and practice. 

What is the role of controlled digital lending in the library of the future? 

Our second session explores the community of practice around controlled digital lending. The power of this key library practice in helping libraries and educators reach marginalized communities and respond to emergencies has been demonstrated during the COVID-19 period. There are now hundreds of libraries using the practice to reach their communities while service is disrupted. The potential of controlled digital lending for contributing to a more equal society where everyone has access to knowledge is clear; how can we expand on the current uses of this powerful tool? In this session, we’ll learn from librarians, educators, and technologists who are developing next-generation library tools that incorporate and build upon controlled digital lending.

How does controlled digital lending impact communities & librarians? 

Libraries serve communities, and our tools are successful when they have a positive impact on people’s lives. Our final session will therefore focus on first-hand experiences of the impact of controlled digital lending. We’ll hear from libraries that have implemented the practice and from library users about what it has meant for them. We look forward to hearing from those on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response about how they are using digital library practices to adapt to the situation and continue to serve those who most need free access to digital materials. 

Beyond the Forum: the #EmpoweringLibraries campaign

The issues raised at the Forum are not merely theoretical, but require urgent action in the face of a new lawsuit which threatens the practice of controlled digital lending and the age-old role of libraries in society. It is crucial for the future of libraries and the rights of our most vulnerable communities that the ideas and experiences shared during the forum are heard more widely. In order to empower the community to stay connected and make their voices heard after the Forum, we will launch the #EmpoweringLibraries campaign, defending the right of libraries to own, preserve and lend digital books. The campaign will turn the ideas discussed during the Forum into action, and the community into a movement for change. 

The Library Leaders Forum will take place on 6, 13, and 20 October 2020. You can register for free here, or follow the #EmpoweringLibraries hashtag on Twitter for live updates. 

Evangelical Seminary Decides Digital Library is Best for Students

Evangelical Seminary’s Rostad Library donates 80,000 books to the Internet Archive for digitization and preservation (July 14, 2020). Image courtesy Jason Scott, CC BY 2.0.

As the global pandemic forced schools to remote instruction earlier this year, the pressure was on to make as many resources as possible available in digital form.

Evangelical Seminary moved its classes entirely online in March, closing most of its campus in Myerstown, Pennsylvania—including access to materials in the library.  At the same time, the seminary was finalizing a partnership with three other higher education institutions that prompted a review of any resource duplication.

So, in July, Evangelical decided to transform its physical library collection into a digital library and donate more than 80,000 books to the Internet Archive.

Workers pack books from Evangelical Seminary’s Rostad Library to donate to the Internet Archive for digitization and preservation (July 14, 2020). Image courtesy Jason Scott, CC BY 2.0.

“Faculty members love the feel of a hard copy book and taking a book off the shelf in the library,” says Anthony Blair, president of the seminary. “It was hard and we had to talk that through, but everybody agreed this was a smart thing to do and in the end, it was what’s best for students.”

Once scanned and digitized, students—and the public at large—will have free access to the books at any time from anywhere. Many of the volumes were out of print and fragile. The donation allows the seminary’s vast collection, with its specialities in biblical studies and Wesleyan theology, to be preserved.

“We took advantage of this opportunity. It’s a donation, but we still have access to all these books. They have better access than before—and so do people around the world,” Blair says. “It just made sense.”

At Evangelical, students were increasingly commuting to campus or taking online courses only; some living as far away as Singapore and Korea. The seminary sold its residential housing five years ago because of the shifting demographics.

Evangelical offers eight graduate degree programs including a doctorate of theology, master of divinity and master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. About 150 of its students are seeking a degree (about 90 on the PhD path) and another 50 are taking courses independently.

The seminary had recently begun serving a wider constituency and joined The Digital Theological Library (DTL) to give students easier access to resources. As usage grew with DTL, Blair says talk ramped up about moving to an all-digital library. 

Boxes of books prepped for shipping from Evangelical Seminary’s Rostad Library (July 14, 2020). Image courtesy Jason Scott, CC BY 2.0.

Also, Evangelical recently joined a seminary network, Kairos, headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and is in the process of fully merging within the next few years. As the schools come together and combine resources, the timing was right to make the donation. This summer it took less than two weeks for the books to be packed, loaded into trucks and shipped for scanning—all paid for by the Internet Archive.

The seminary has shared news of its move to an all-digital library with alumni, donors and students, all of whom have been overwhelmingly positive, says Blair. As students wait for the collection to be moved online over the next two years, the seminary is partnering with two physical libraries for interlibrary loan services.Blair says he was pleased to have Evangelical’s collection join the Claremont School of Theology’s donation from earlier this year: “Between our donation and their donation, the theology collection at the Internet Archive will be enhanced quite a bit and our students will benefit.”

PM Press Sells Ebooks to Internet Archive: “We want our books to be in every library”

Like any commercial publisher, Ramsey Kanaan wants to make money and have as many people as possible read his books. But he says his company, PM Press, can do both by selling his books to the public and to libraries for lending – either in print or digitally.

While most publishers only license ebooks to libraries, PM Press has donated and sold both print and ebook versions of its titles to the Internet Archive to use in its Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) program. By owning the copies, the Internet Archive ensures that the press’s collection of publications is available to the public and preserved.

“We’re not above profit making. It’s with sales that we pay our salaries.  Nevertheless, the reason we are also doing this is we actually believe in the information we are selling and we want to make it accessible,” says Kanaan.  “We want our books to be in every library.”

Founded in 2007, PM Press has published between 30 and 40 titles a year. The books (all available in print and various digital formats) include fiction, graphic novels, comics, memoirs, and manifestos on topics such as activism, education, self-defense and parenting.  “We’d like to assert or inject our ideas contained in the titles we publish as our modest contribution to making the world a better place,” says Kanaan.

“Our interest is in the dissemination, preservation and archiving of ideas…with no firewall.”

Ramsey Kanaan, co-founder and publisher, PM Press

From the beginning, Kanaan says the agenda of PM Press has been deeper than just making money by renting books annually to libraries. “The concept of charging multiple times to us is ridiculous and contrary to everything we are trying to do in publishing,” he says. “Our interest is in the dissemination, preservation and archiving of ideas…with no firewall.”

Kanaan says he doesn’t understand the objections to CDL by publishers that have sold their print books to libraries for decades. “If a library purchases a book or an ebook it’s going to be ‘borrowed’ by, ideally, lots of people. The industry has entered into this agreement with libraries for time immemorial – presumably access without further commercial transaction,” says Kanaan. “I don’t see the difference in a library making a print or ebook available for borrowing once it’s purchased. It’s the same.”

A selection of books from PM Press.

In donating to the Internet Archive in December 2019 and selling the other print titles and ebooks in the PM Press collection, Kanaan hopes this hybrid approach will help expand the audience for its titles. “The Internet Archive is not bootlegging materials. They are like any other library lending out one copy at a time.”

Kanaan maintains that companies against CDL as a way of doing business are “dinosaurs” and that digital lending is the future. “We see the Internet Archive as a partner in our endeavor to get our information out,” Kanaan says. “We want to achieve a better world for most of its inhabitants. We’re fighting against the 1 percent who only want a better world only for themselves. I’m hoping we are not just on the right side of history, but that we are actually going to win this one.”


The Internet Archive has been buying ebooks from publishers for more than 10 years, but the number has been limited because most publishers insist on license arrangements that constrain our ability to preserve and lend.  If you would like to sell ebooks to the Internet Archive and other libraries, please contact us at info@archive.org.

Author Shares Mentoring Expertise Through Controlled Digital Lending

Rik Nemanick believes in the power of mentoring in the workplace. As an author, corporate consultant, and university instructor, he explains to business leaders and students how a mentor can bring the best out in others.

The Mentor’s Way: Eight Rules for Bringing Out the Best in Others by Rik Nemanick, now available for borrowing through Controlled Digital Lending.

“A mentor is different from a teacher who imparts knowledge,” Nemanick says. “A good mentor broadens someone’s perspective and opens doors. It’s about challenging someone’s thinking and creating a relationship.”

Over the years, the St. Louis businessman was urged to put his leadership development research and expertise into a book. Published in 2016 by Routledge, The Mentor’s Way: Eight Rules for Bringing Out the Best in Others, is now available for lending through the Internet Archive.

“I want my message out there. I saw the Internet Archive as a way to make it more available to more people,” Nemanick says of his recent donation to the Controlled Digital Lending program. “The book sitting on Amazon or a shelf doesn’t get anyone engaged as much as if it’s available at the library.”

One of the first things that Nemanick says he did when the book was published was to donate a copy to Washington University Library in St. Louis. He wanted it available for students in his executive education graduate courses in leadership, mentoring, and human resource metrics so they could learn the concepts he advocates.

Author and mentoring consultant Rik Nemanick

Through his work, Nemanick says he wants to challenge the way people think about mentoring and offer practical ideas. Often people enter their careers with certain, narrow expectations and a mentor can be critical with the workplace adjustment. “A mentor can help someone find their way in their profession,” he says. “My hope is that people can find their fit more easily with the information in my book.”

Nemanick says he does not worry about his book being hurt by library lending through Controlled Digital Lending.

“This is a respectful way to get your message heard. A fair number of authors just want people to read what they have written,” he says. “It’s just one more avenue to make sure it gets into people’s hands.”

Registration Is Now Open for the Library Leaders Forum

Every October we host the Library Leaders Forum, which is traditionally a one-day workshop that brings together librarians, archivists, and information managers to learn about emerging technologies in libraries. Registration is now open for this year’s Forum, which will be entirely virtual. We hope you can join in and learn from a distance about new developments and projects at the Internet Archive, especially those relating to controlled digital lending.

The theme of this year’s Forum is “Empowering Libraries and Communities Through Digital Lending.” With library service impacted at global scale due to COVID-19, libraries have had to adjust their digital lending programs to meet the needs of the communities they serve. Join experts from the library, copyright, and information policy fields for a three-week virtual event exploring current digital lending strategies for libraries and the future of digital lending. Sessions will be held online October 6, 13, & 20.

October 6: Policy
10am-12pm PDT
Join leaders in the library copyright community & policy experts for a panel discussion on the future of digital lending and its value to libraries and the communities they serve.

October 13: Community
10am-12pm PDT
A community of practice has emerged around controlled digital lending. Learn from leaders who are developing next generation library tools that incorporate and build upon CDL.

October 20: Impact
10am-12pm PDT
Learn from libraries that have implemented controlled digital lending and hear from users about the impact the library practice has made for them.

Register now for each session, and also check out our pre-conference workshop “How Controlled Digital Lending Works for Libraries.”

Last year’s Forum was a rousing success! Read the recap.

Hope International University’s Journals Get New Digital Life

In January, Robin Hartman learned major renovations planned at Hope International University in Fullerton, California, meant the library would have to give up 25 percent of its space. That forced Hartman, director of library services at the 2,000-student private university, to make some tough decisions.

Robin Hartman, Director of Library Services at Hope International University

What would she do with the back issues of periodicals now that there would be only six shelving sections to store the journals and magazines instead of 40? Hartman ended up keeping periodicals that were only available in print and less than 10 years old. That left her with volumes of older issues that she didn’t want to just throw in a dumpster.

Hartman contacted Internet Archive to give Hope’s vast collection of older periodicals a new digital life. Working from her home during the COVID-19 crisis this summer, she instructed the construction crew and student workers to box up the excess journals—191 boxes in all. Internet Archive arranged to provide pallets and plastic wrap to safely pack the periodicals. The boxes were loaded onto a semi-truck and transported to San Francisco for preservation at no expense to the university.

“When I found out Internet Archive was able to take the older periodicals that we couldn’t keep, I was really thrilled,” Hartman says. “I was able to tell my faculty they are not gone forever. They will be digitized eventually and made available online.”

The donation includes a range of popular magazines and academic journals linked to the Christian university’s majors such as: Clinical Psychology, Educational Leadership, Family and Society, Journal of American History, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Journal of Spirituality and Mental Health, Journal of Sports Management, and Pastoral Psychology.

“I feel much better that they are going to a good home. They are good, valid sources,” Hartman says.

Hartman is telling librarian colleagues about the donation in hopes of interesting others in adding to Internet Archive’s collection. Many libraries are being reconfigured to make room for tutoring or snack bars and are facing financial cuts in the wake of the pandemic. There is also a shift in preference for digital among students over print journals, notes Hartman, making libraries rethink their collections.

Loading boxes of donated journals at Hope International University to be preserved and digitized by Internet Archive.

“The periodicals will be more useful online,” says Hartman, who plans to continue donating materials to the Archive. “Resource sharing is important for libraries these days. Internet Archive was a great solution for us. I think Internet Archive is a way of sharing resources for the good of all the library communities.”

If your library is interested in donating print journals to Internet Archive for preservation and digitization, please learn more on the Donations page.

[Robin’s post about this donation]

Small Publisher Embraces Controlled Digital Lending to Connect with New Readers 

Anne McDonald and Jason C. McDonald of AJ Charleson Publishing LLC, and a selection of their books, which are now available for borrowing through controlled digital lending.

By Caralee Adams, freelance writer.

Jason C. McDonald wrote the first draft of his latest mystery using a manual typewriter.

“It forces you to think about the flow of writing in a different way than when you can’t easily erase something,” says the author and owner of AJ Charleson Publishing LLC. “It can take a story in a very unexpected — and great — direction.”

McDonald may be old school in his approach to crafting a novel, but he is innovative in how he is trying to connect with readers.

The Idaho writer has long been a fan of the Internet Archive and its vast amount of newspapers, magazines, and recordings for research. So when it came to getting exposure for his books, McDonald wanted to give back to the collection.

McDonald recently contributed three copies of books published by his small company that he formed in 2018 to the Internet Archive. A digital version of his books, Finding Scrooge and Noah Clue, P.I., along with a book, Love’s Refining Fire, by Anne McDonald, Jason’s mother, are now available through Controlled Digital Lending.  He shared the news of the free digital availability of his titles on Twitter and in a banner on the company website.

“I really support libraries and Internet Archive’s lending program is basically an international library. It spans borders,” says McDonald. “The whole purpose is to get these resources into the hands of people that need them in a way that is controlled — and it’s free.”

McDonald is a computer programmer by day and author who is chipping away on four manuscripts now on nights and weekends. He’s just getting started with his independent publishing company and would like to expand. Yet, it’s a struggle to get the word out about his print books. McDonald lists his titles in buyers’ catalogues, promotes them at book signings and relies on word of mouth marketing.

“Especially here in COVID era, we aren’t going to bookstores. People want to be able to read part of a book first to get an idea of what it’s like,” says McDonald. “Buying a print-only book sight unseen is an odd idea to some people.”

I think in the end, [Controlled Digital Lending] drives sales because you are finding readers you wouldn’t normally have. Those readers aren’t getting a copy that they keep forever — it’s a copy that’s going to lead them to want to own it.

Jason C. McDonald, author and publisher, AJ Charleson Publishing

The Archive also provides readers of its digitized online books a chance to easily purchase a copy through Better World Books, an affordable alternative to Amazon and an avenue to help amplify sales for less well-known authors. Having his works circulating digitally through the Internet Archive will give the public a chance to read part — or all — of his books and then make an informed decision about whether they want to buy it.

“It’s the same logic as with a library. It increases the visibility of a book,” McDonald says of CDL. “I think in the end, it drives sales because you are finding readers you wouldn’t normally have. Those readers aren’t getting a copy that they keep forever — it’s a copy that’s going to lead them to want to own it.”

Even More Impacts of the National Emergency Library and Controlled Digital Lending

This is the third part in a series of testimonials from patrons who used the National Emergency Library and continue to use controlled digital lending to borrow books from our library (you can read the previous posts here and here). If you’d like to share your story of how you used the NEL while it was open, or how you are still using our lending library today, please leave a testimonial.

The following statements are condensed from testimonials sent to the Internet Archive:

Andrea N., Freehold, New Jersey, Reader: “I used the National Emergency Library for personal reading through the pandemic. I am a high-risk person for [COVID-19], so I have been very limited for the last three months.  I am also disabled and cannot easily visit the library even when it is open to check out books. I’ve relied on the Internet Archive for many years to find things to read to help me occupy my time when I can’t do much of anything else but read.  It was nice to have a wide selection of books to read during this time.”

Mirrah, Student

Mirrah, Sunderland, Massachusetts, Student: Mirrah writes that the National Emergency Library and controlled digital lending “allowed me to move ahead with my studies instead of getting stumped and trying to resort to irrelevant materials. Without Internet Archive, even my university’s library (that I’m paying tuition to access) is severely stunted in its online form.” Mirrah also encourages us to consider accessibility, writing, “I think people really underestimate the importance of accessibility in educational materials. It’s very difficult to understand the impact something you don’t have access to *could* have. Much easier to take for granted the things we already have access to, thinking it is so for everyone.”

Tom C., Omaha, Nebraska, Researcher: For Tom, the National Emergency Library was a source of entertainment. “It kept the isolation of a retiree by himself bearable, even fun sometimes. Keep on making obscure books available!”

Cindy Y., Toccoa, Georgia, Reader: Cindy used the National Emergency Library “as a replacement for Stephens County Public Library. It still has limited hours it is open.” As someone who reads for enjoyment, Cindy writes that the NEL “was a refreshing way to spend endless days at home. The entertainment was fabulous and an essential part of my life. From a young girl I enjoyed reading books like Trixie Belden mysteries to Pippi Longstocking adventures. I believe reading is essential to life. Remember the pack horse librarians and their service? Digital is ours. NEL is the pack horse librarian.” Editorial note: Learn more about the Pack Horse Library Project

Many of my students didn’t have access to some of their books when they were sent home for closure during COVID-19. I was able to find an edition of the main book needed and point students toward checking out the book. This was essential for my students who couldn’t afford to repurchase the book in a digital format.

Lauren K., Seattle, Washington, Educator

Tori K., Oxnard, California, Reader: “I read ancient history and religion books, which are not found in public libraries.” Tori is another reader that used the NEL for personal safety during quarantine and beyond. “The ability to read in the safety of my home is priceless because I have an autoimmune disease.”

Suvadip S., Researcher

Suvadip S., Durgapur, India, Researcher: Suvadip used the National Emergency Library to access materials that weren’t available to him in India. “I live in a small city in India. I couldn’t have afforded these books. Neither do we have such library facilities. It was like a boon for me in such difficult times. Please initiate NEL again during this difficult period.”

Karen T., Sacramento, California, Reader: Karen writes of the National Emergency Library, “It was a life saver. My local library, of which I am a regular patron, was closed and the selection of ebooks available online was limited. Being able to access the National Emergency Library made my stay at home more bearable.”