Kudos to Brewster, Chris and the entire IA team for providing this service. The National Emergency Library is available globally.
UPDATE March 30, 2020
- Internet Archive on “Why We Released the National Emergency Library” (via Internet Archive Blog)
- Statement from the Author’s Guild: “Internet Archive’s National Emergency Library Harms Authors”
- Statement from National Writers Union: ” Internet Archive Removes Controls on “Lending” Of Bootleg E-Books”
- Comment From AAP President and CEO Maria Pallante on The Internet Archive’s “National Emergency Library”
UPDATE March 28, 2020
UPDATE March 26, 2020
Authors who have books available via the National Emergency Library can chose to opt-out. Instructions are found in the participation section of the FAQ.
To address our unprecedented global and immediate need for access to reading and research materials, as of today, March 24, 2020, the Internet Archive will suspend waitlists for the 1.4 million (and growing) books in our lending library by creating a National Emergency Library to serve the nation’s displaced learners. This suspension will run through June 30, 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later.
During the waitlist suspension, users will be able to borrow books from the National Emergency Library without joining a waitlist, ensuring that students will have access to assigned readings and library materials that the Internet Archive has digitized for the remainder of the US academic calendar, and that people who cannot physically access their local libraries because of closure or self-quarantine can continue to read and thrive during this time of crisis, keeping themselves and others safe.
This library brings together all the books from Phillips Academy Andover and Marygrove College, and much of Trent University’s collections, along with over a million other books donated from other libraries to readers worldwide that are locked out of their libraries.
We understand that we’re not going to be able to meet everyone’s needs; our collection, at 1.4 million modern books, is a fraction of the size of a large metropolitan library system or a great academic library. The books that we’ve digitized have been acquired with a focus on materials published during the 20th century, the vast majority of which do not have a commercially available ebook. [Our emphasis] This means that while readers and students are able to access latest best sellers and popular titles through services like OverDrive and Hoopla, they don’t have access to the books that only exist in paper, sitting inaccessible on their library shelves. That’s where our collection fits in—we offer digital access to books, many of which are otherwise unavailable to the public while our schools and libraries are closed. In addition to the National Emergency Library, the Internet Archive also offers free public access to 2.5 million fully downloadable public domain books, which do not require waitlists to view.
A final note on calling this a “National Emergency” Library. We lend to the world, including these books. We chose that language deliberately because we are pegging the suspension of the waitlists to the duration of the US national emergency. Users all over the world have equal access to the books now available, regardless of their location.
From the FAQ
Is this controlled digital lending?
No. It is close to controlled digital lending but is significantly different while waitlists are suspended. This library is being mobilized in response to a global pandemic and US national emergency. It shares aspects of controlled digital lending by controlling the physical book that was scanned and the redistribution of files through digital rights management software, but differs by having no waitlists for users borrowing books. Once the US national emergency is over and waitlists are back to their normal capacity, the service will return to full controlled digital lending.
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