The Internet Archive launched a public no-wait digitized library of over 1 million books that are normally only available to schools and libraries
- The Internet Archive is a non-profit library of Internet sites and digital collections of books and other materials.
- It recently launched the National Emergency Library, a collection of books typically only available in schools and libraries that have been digitized and made available to the public.
- The National Emergency Library will close on June 30 or at the end of the United States national emergency, whichever falls later.
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The Internet Archive, a non-profit library of Internet sites and other digital, cultural artifacts, has launched the National Emergency Library by suspending waitlists for its full lending library.
The move frees up 1.4 million books amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has disrupted learning and library access for students across the United States. During the duration of the National Emergency Library, which will close on June 30 or at the end of the United States national emergency, whichever date falls later, users of the archive will be able to borrow books from the library without joining an online waitlist.
The emergency library is a "response to the scores of inquiries from educators about the capacity of our lending system and the scale needed to meet classroom demands because of the closures," per a blog post from the Internet Archive announcing the library's launch. It was developed in tandem with librarians in the Boston Area and led by Tom Blake of Boston Public Library, and brings together the Archive's collections of books from Phillips Academy Andover, Marygrove College, and Trent University alongside over a million books donated from libraries worldwide.
While the collection is not intended to be a comprehensive resource, it fills a gap in materials accessible online with a focus on books published in the 20th century that are not available as ebooks. The elimination of waitlists to access the materials ensures that the library is suitable for classroom use, and provides access to books that are by-and-large unavailable to the public with schools and libraries shuttered amid the pandemic. The "national" in National Emergency Library signifies the duration of the library rather than its access scope; users worldwide will be able to access the collection of books without having to wait.
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