If you’re searching for library books – whether scholarly works for a research project or literary works assigned for class reading – consider looking in The Internet Archive’s Lending Library

The Internet Archive’s Lending library is a collaborative effort between libraries, museums and educational institutions around the world. Its lofty mission is “to provide universal access to all knowledge”. As of now, the Internet Archive contains more than 20 million electronic books and texts. Each day, approximately 1,000 additional books are scanned for inclusion in this digital library. 

How do you use it? First, visit the Internet Archive’s “Books to Borrow” library. Click on the “sign up” link on the upper right hand of the page. Provide an email address, choose a screen name, create a password, and you’re all set to browse and borrow. 

The digital library’s search interface allows you to search by title, author, subject, year published, language, and more. Archive patrons can borrow up to five books at a time. Lending periods vary from book to book, from as short as one hour to as long as two weeks. 

Why should you use it? COVID-19 has changed so many things, including how we think about borrowing library books. With many students studying remotely, and others commuting to and from campus, it might not always be possible to check out books from our library. Additionally, the pandemic has caused library closures around the country and prompted libraries to institute quarantine procedures for loaned books. As a result, it’s impossible to guarantee that interlibrary loan requests for print books will be fulfilled. If you can’t get what you need at MacPhaidin Library or through interlibrary loan, the Internet Archive’s library might be an option.