The Internet Archive has launched a National Emergency Library to provide students, teachers and the public around the world access to its volumes with no waitlist.
Suspending waitlists ensures that students have access to assigned readings and library materials. The suspension will run through June 30, 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later.
The announcement goes on to say:
“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. 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”.