Open Library (openlibrary.org)

by Roberta Woods, Reference and Instructional Services Librarian.

Another little-known web resource by the Internet Archive (https://archive.org) is Open Library. Open Library gives you access to many books that are both copyright protected and those in the public domain. It’s free to join and it lets you check out books that may not otherwise be available to you online because of copyright restrictions. Explore the many features of this online free library. Highlights of a few of the features are presented below.

Books without copyright restrictions have a blue Read button next to the title, as shown below. Here, one record is freely available to read online or even download. The second item on this list shows a book that is in the public domain but has not yet been digitized.

Sample of book entry with bibliographic fields and a blue button labeled Read

Up to 10 books still in copyright protection can be borrowed for a two-week period.

Sample of book entries with image of books, title, author and blue button labeled Borrow

Should you want a book that is currently checked out, you can be added to the Waitlist.

Sample of book selection with orange button labeled Join Waitlist

You can also create a reading list that is private or public. Public reading lists have been curated by individuals to bring your awareness of titles to the forefront.

Sample of text associated with creating a List and any possible lists already set up

It keeps a list of books you’ve borrowed. It checks them back in when time runs out or you return the book.

Sample of panel with books checked out: displays title, expiration date and loan actions

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