and 150 libraries create 80,000 lendable ebook library

Rick Prelinger sez, "Internet Archive (disclosure: I'm a board member) has joined with 150 US and Canada libraries to develop a cooperative collection of (mostly 20th-century) eBooks that library patrons can "borrow" on a laptop, an e-reader or a library computer while visiting a participating branch. This "digital lending" dramatically expands the collections of each library, and updates the traditional library model to embrace digital titles. Many rare and one-of-a-kind titles (e.g., genealogy, family history) are included."
The reasons for joining the initiative vary from library to library. Judy Russell, Dean of University Libraries at the University of Florida, said, "We have hundreds of books that are too brittle to circulate. This digitize-and-lend system allows us to provide access to these older books without endangering the physical copy."

Digital lending also offers wider access to one-of-a-kind or rare books on specific topics such as family histories - popular with genealogists. This pooled collection will enable libraries like the Boston Public Library and the Allen County Public Library in Indiana to share their materials with genealogists around the state, the country and the world.

"Genealogists are some of our most enthusiastic users, and the Boston Public Library holds some genealogy books that exist nowhere else," said Amy E. Ryan, President of the Boston Public Library. "This lending system allows our users to search for names in these books for the first time, and allows us to efficiently lend some of these books to visitors at distant libraries."

"Reciprocal sharing of genealogy resources is crucial to family history research. The Allen County Public Library owns the largest public genealogy collection in the country, and we want to make our resources available to as many people as possible. Our partnership in this initiative offers us a chance to reach a wider audience," said Jeffrey Krull, director of the Allen County Public Library.

Internet Archive and Library Partners Develop Joint Collection of 80,000+ eBooks To Extend Traditional In-Library Lending Model (Thanks, footage, via Submitterator!)



  1. This is undoubtedly a good thing. It takes inter-library loan to a whole new level, and expands access to books. Many libraries together can afford to get rarely-used titles no one of them could afford individually.

    OTOH, as I’ve learned from my university library’s e-books, there’s something disconcerting when you get a message that says that all copies of a file are in use, come back later.

  2. I must be slow today, but can someone explain to me *WHY* out of copyright books are being loaned out and returned?

    Books under copyright I get, but checking out their website it appears as though long-free books are being lent around in electronic form. Why not just copy them from institution to institution?

  3. The Internet Archive is one of the better things along the information super highway. Their collections include an appreciable library of “The Computer Chornicles” and other early computer and Internet-related television program.

  4. I’m sure there’s plenty of folks that’d disagree with me, but that which is in a Public Library ought to be Public Domain. No more of this “lending” crap when it comes to digital bits (ebooks); it just hurts my brain, it’s so contradictory, as bits just can’t be truly locked away, no matter how much the DRM lords kick and scream as if they can be.

    Oh, and donate to libraries. That’s how they’re supposed to get by. Because the libraries do have to deal with some scarcity to operate, like electricity bills and such, and it’d kind of suck if the libraries went away because nobody was donating to keep them going.

  5. So why exactly do I have to “visit a branch” to be able to borrow? You know, this new-fangled internet thing would allow to browse and download these books from the comfort of my home. But I suppose our corporate overlords won’t have it.

  6. Will there be late fees if you forget to delete the copy you downloaded? What if your hard disc dies and you “lose” the copy?

    This is obviously a good thing, as opposed to not being able to access these books but how long did someone try to explain the difference between atoms and bits to the powers-that-be before giving up and implementing something this self-evidently ridiculous?

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