Announcing The National Emergency Library

by, published on March 25, 2020


During this unprecedented time in history, access to printed books is becoming difficult or impossible. COVID-19 is forcing students, educators, and everyday readers to rely on digital books more than ever before. That’s why the Internet Archive has temporarily suspended all waitlists, allowing you to immediately check out any of the 1.4 million books currently in our lending library. Until June 30th or the end of the US national emergency (whichever comes later), every borrowable book will be immediately accessible by anyone—creating, in effect, a National Emergency Library.

As of March 19th, almost a billion students around the world have been affected by school closures, obstructing their access to educational materials. Thousands of community and academic libraries have been forced to close their physical locations as well, further complicating the lives of readers. We hope that this new policy will provide everybody with the resources to keep reading—whether you need classic literature, science textbooks, genre fiction, or even just bedtime story material. We have also doubled the number of books you can check out at a time from 5 to 10, so borrow away!

All these materials can also be found on Open Library—our online catalogue of published books. And not only can you find books in Open Library, but you can also curate and share reading lists, browse by genre to find new discoveries, and easily share what you’re reading on social media. If we don’t have the book in our collection, then the Sponsor A Bookfeature lets you decide what we digitize next!

If you have questions about the new policy, you can browse our FAQ here. And if you want some tips and tricks for using our interface to read online, you can visit our help center!

Here at the Internet Archive, we believe that access to knowledge is a fundamental human right—and in a time of quarantines and school closures, providing that access is more important than ever. We hope that this change in our lending policy helps you find solutions during this period of uncertainty.

Thanks for being one of our patrons.

-The Internet Archive Team

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