May 16, 2022

U.S. Navy Wants to Provide eBook Lending Libraries to Sailors at Sea, RFI Published

Bob Brewin at NextGov reports on a new RFI that the U.S. Navy released the other day.

Today’s sailors and Marines increasingly opt for e-books, but surface vessels have limited bandwidth, and submarines have none, to download e-books.

The Navy Supply Systems Command plans to rectify this situation through shipboard e-book libraries, and it wants some contractor help to do the job.

The complete RFI titled: “eBook lending library” is available here.

From the Document:

Recent changes in the publishing industry and price cuts for e-reading devices have resulted in a large segment of the population being served with e-Reader devices. These devices have made the circulation of eBooks an everyday option for library customers on shore with end users able to access an ever growing number of eBooks via direct purchase on personally owned devices. To keep pace with these publishing trends many libraries on shore also lend eReader devices to customers, and provide access to web-based digital libraries. eBooks in the current publishing and library marketplaces is dependent on customers having reliable internet access and sufficient bandwidth for file transfer. While underway, sailors on surface going vessels DO NOT have access to sufficient bandwidth continuously, and sailors deployed on submarines have NO access to recreational internet connections. Submariners also have a severely limited Surface Library Multimedia Resource Center (LMRC) collection because of storage restrictions. LMRCs that are able to store a physical library collection could be greatly expanded to provide access to current publications. All sailors, surface and submarine, also have restrictions on personal gear storage, and may not be able to pack and store every electronic device they wish to use while underway.

Library services ashore and aboard ships are a mission essential component of the U.S. Navy’s Morale Welfare and Recreation services, and the Navy General Library Program (NGLP) has provided on shore customers with access to a web-based digital lending library since 2005.


This RFI is for an all-inclusive and expandable non-web-based eBook lending library that would bring a similar level of service to shipboard LMRCcustomers. The end product shall provide the NGLP with the capability of:
(1) offering a high quality, easy to use, stand alone eBook library to afloat commands;
(2) implement space saving technologies to streamline LMRC footprints on smaller vessels: i.e. submarines; and
(3) improve diversity and broaden the appeal of LMRC collections currently limited by physical constraints on all vessels. The stand alone eBook lending library shall save storage space, provide enhanced access to leisure and educational reading materials, and bring LMRC customer service levels in line with industry standards.

Deadline for responses is July 23, 2012.

Direct to Full Text RFI (via FBO)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.