By Omar Rafik El-Sabrout
We live in the era of Venmo and CashApp, when after a nice meal with friends, you no longer have to argue over who will pick up the bill. On the surface, this is an extremely promising way to keep people from accidentally going into debt with each other. But it also reinforces interactions that are extremely transactional. The old idea of “I’ll get you back next time” is part of the give and take that members of a close community engage in. In our transactional present, people don’t have to rely on the idea of trust–trusting the butcher at the farmer’s market won’t price gouge me, trusting my friend will pay me back. People aren’t learning that you can vote by caring, by putting your money behind something that matters to you. At a moment when “you get what you pay for” is the capitalist norm, enter the Internet Archive, which today is asking you to make an investment in community-wide sharing.
The Internet Archive, which runs the project Open Library, is working to create a vast network of online book lending in order to make all books accessible to all people. Open Library cares about the input of its readers. As Open librarian and Internet Archive Software Engineer Mek Karpeles describes, “Open Library’s theory is that readers deserve a say in what’s on their bookshelves,” which is why he and his team have created a new Book Sponsorship feature.
Founded on the idea that a library ought to have books that “reflect [a] community’s needs and values,” Book Sponsorship allows any of the more than two and a half-million users of Open Library to #saveabook. This is a natural follow-up to the long standing “Want to Read” functionality whereby a reader can indicate a book is missing from the Archive that they wish to read.
With our new book sponsorship program, readers are given the option to put money towards directly sponsoring the acquisition of a particular book, after which the Internet Archive will digitize, store, and make the ebook available for lending–for free. Among other possibilities, this would allow people to combat the lack of representation of young black protagonists that Marley Dias, creator of the #1000BlackGirlBooks, found at her school and local library. We currently feature almost 400 of the #1000BlackGirlBooks on archive.org and with your support, we can buy and digitize all of them.
When people are given the opportunity to be generous in an obligation-free way, we find that typically brings out their desire to do good.
By giving people a say and making them feel represented, they become more invested. The care that comes from the investment of individuals is what eventually creates a community, and our hope is that the Open Library community will use this feature to help disenfranchised patrons gain access to materials that would enrich their education. When people are given the opportunity to be generous in an obligation-free way, we find that typically brings out their desire to do good. It’s relatively easy to put a price on a book, to calculate printing costs and publishing costs, but what’s harder to determine is the value of giving a gift. If you’re interested in sponsoring a book, either for yourself or for someone else, just click on a Sponsor an eBook button or visit https://openlibrary.org/sponsorship to learn more.
Great and really nicely written post that I’ve seen in a while. It’s great to see people like you continuing to serve the humanity with this sort of amazing content. This content is literally King!
I can’t wait to sponsor some Italian-language books! I don’t see a filter in the advanced search yet, but DuckDuckGo seems to work fine.
We can’t wait for you to sponsor Italian language books either!
I’ve sent your comment to our lead engineer, Mek, who will be happy to help you find some on our wish list!
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how to make a donation of multiple books?
If you email firstname.lastname@example.org, we’d be happy to help you sponsor multiple books.
In the future, we may add a mechanism to sponsor multiple books by isbn in a single donation order.
I totally agree with this blog, library is very much important in todays time
I’ve going to the library from a very long time.
Great Article man…
It’s great to see people like you continuing to serve the humanity with this sort of amazing content. This content is literally King!
Hope you succeed on this great path
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It was really interesting to read this…
how can I get in touch with you?
Hello, I totally agree with this blog, library is very much important in todays time
I’ve going to the library from a very long time.
good The larger point, however, is that openness is a potentially robust topic that will influence the ways all of us think about the decentralized Web.
How is this not illegal? How do authors make any money after every book is available for free both in libraries and online? Will people will want to write books if one person can buy it and make it available to 7 billion people online with instant access?
Our lending program uses controlled digital lending to make modern books available to one user at a time. You can learn more about CDL at https://controlleddigitallending.org/
im asking if i got a book and it is not on your list of books, what can i do?
The last link, below the #saveabook graphic, is incorrect!