National Emergency Library

The Internet Archive has opened up their collection of 1.4 million books with no waiting list during the COVID-19 crisis.

They’re trying to support schools which are doing online learning, and trying to support everyone who has been shut out of their local library.

Their collection consists of mostly 20th century materials, mostly still in copyright, that are out of print and not easily accessible as ebooks. I’ve used some of their books in the past, when you had to “check out” books for a specific period of time (and if the book was in use, you had to wait for it). It’s a small but excellent collection. Best of all, their online reader is excellent — their reader makes Google Books look absolutely sick in comparison.

So if you’ve been suffering from book deprivation, access the National Emergency Library here.

4 thoughts on “National Emergency Library”

  1. Thank you for this, Dan. I just “borrowed” DeFoe’s “Journal of a Plague Year.” Should be an interesting read.

  2. Jean, I’ve just been re-reading “Journal of a Plague Year.” A dozen years ago, I got obsessed with epidemics and pandemics and read a whole bunch of books on the subject, one of which was Defoe’s book. For my money, it was the best of the books I read on the subject.

  3. I’m about to embark on the same reading adventure. After DeFoe’s book, Camus’s “The Plague” which I read long ago in college. Suggestions for more titles welcome!

  4. If you can find it, The Black Death: Natural and Human Disaster in Medieval Europe by Robert S. Gottfried (New York: The Free Press, 1983) is good history book; I remember it being a good book to read alongside Defoe, to get a modern understanding of the Black Death.

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