in response to the ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 crisis, non-profit organization, the internet archive, has launched the national emergency library, an initiative allowing anyone in the world to access the 1.4 million (and growing) books of its lending library. the platform addresses the immediate need for access to reading and research materials, as the ongoing crisis has shuttered the classrooms for one-in-five students worldwide, plus an additional one-in-four from higher education classes (according to UNESCO). the internet archive’s suspension of waitlists will run through june 30, 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later. after that, waitlists will be dramatically reduced to their normal capacity, which is based on the number of physical copies in open libraries.

internet archive lets anyone access 1.4 million books for free on national emergency libraryimage by truong dat on unsplash

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the internet archive is a non-profit building a digital library of internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form, providing free access to researchers, historians, scholars, the print-disabled, and the general public. as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has caused a global need for access to materials, on march 24, 2020, it announced the launch of a national emergency library to serve millions of displaced learners. as such, the internet archive has currently suspended all waitlists, putting books in the hands of people who need them, supporting emergency remote teaching, research activities, independent scholarship, and intellectual stimulation while universities, schools, training centers, and libraries are closed. though operating in the united states, the digital library is free to read for anyone with an internet connection, anywhere in the world.


‘the library system, because of our national emergency, is coming to aid those that are forced to learn at home,’ said brewster kahle, digital librarian of the internet archive. ‘this was our dream for the original internet coming to life: the library at everyone’s fingertips.’

internet archive lets anyone access 1.4 million books for free on national emergency libraryimage courtesy of internet archive