Internet Archive launches National Emergency Library with no waitlists

Editor’s take: Trying times like these can be incredibly stressful and invoke lots of change but as is evident here, lots of good can also come out of it. Reading is an excellent way to pass the time and who knows, you might actually learn something new.

The Internet Archive is doing its part during the Covid-19 outbreak by suspending its waitlists and creating a National Emergency Library to help serve what it calls displaced learners.

From now through June 30, 2020, or until the end of the US national emergency (whichever is later), the Internet Archive will lend out books from its growing digital library of more than 1.4 million titles without imposing any wait times.

Despite the correlation to the US emergency timeline, the books are available to users worldwide and are in addition to the 2.5 million fully downloadable public domain books that do not require waitlists to view.

The collection includes all of the books from Marygrove College and the Phillips Academy Andover as well as a large helping of titles from Trent University’s collection and more than a million other books donated from other libraries. Support for the emergency library has poured in from over 100 individuals, libraries and universities around the world, the Internet Archive said.

The program will help ensure that students have access to reading material for the remainder of the US academic calendar. It’ll also benefit those who cannot access local libraries due to closures or self-quarantine.

Brewster Kahle, a digital librarian with the Internet Archive, said, “This was our dream for the original Internet coming to life: the Library at everyone’s fingertips.”

Masthead credit: ImageFlow

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