The Internet Archive has launched am ‘Emergency Library’ to provide over a million digitized books to students and the public amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has suspended waitlists for the 1.4 million books in the online library. This means that users will be able to borrow books from the Emergency Library without joining a waitlist, ensuring that students can have access to books that they may need.
The online library is also aiming to help people who cannot physically access their local libraries because of closures or self-isolation.
“This was our dream for the original Internet coming to life: the Library at everyone’s fingertips,” said Brewster Kahle, a digital librarian for the Internet Archive, said in a blog post.
The Internet Archive notes that it won’t be able to meet everyone’s needs since its collection is a fraction of the size of a large library system or academic library.
It’s interesting to note that the collection is mainly focused on books that don’t have an e-book available. This means that students can get access to books that are only available in paper copies through the digitization on the website.
In addition to the National Emergency Library, the Internet Archive also provides free public access to 2.5 million downloadable public domain books.
Source: The Internet Archive