A (Global) National Emergency Library

The Internet Archive is a huge resource, used by many students and researchers across Durham University (we suspect some without realising what a treasure trove they have stumbled upon). It provides immediate access to:

But during the current Global Covid-19 Pandemic, their services for displaced scholars globally have temporarily removed a further barrier to access to one of their services…

The Archive includes borrowing service, where users can borrow a digital copy from over 1 million “modern” books for up to 14 days, through their open library service. However, there has always been a ‘wait list’ whereby if someone else had ‘borrowed’ that item, you would enter a digital queue and have to wait until they had ‘returned’ the item before you could access it.

But on March 24th, the Internet Archive announced a National Emergency Library, aimed at serving displaced learners. Until the 30th June 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later, the Internet Archive has suspended Wait-lists!

But most importantly:

How do I download a book from the National Emergency Library?

It’s really simple (we promise), but here are a few quick pointers.

(We’d recommend you sign up for a free account first, but the steps below take you through how to borrow a book and register)

  • After accessing the National Emergency Library and finding a book you’d like to borrow… click on Borrow


  • You’ll be given access to a limited preview of the book, and prompted to sign in or register in order to borrow the book for 14 days. Click on Log In and Borrow.


  • If you already have an account, sign-in now. If not, click on Sign up for free!


  • Provide your email address, choose a display name and a password, select the email notification options and click on Sign up.


  • You’ll  now need to log-in to your emails… you will have received a verification email, and you will need to click on the link in the email to finish registering your account.
  • Once you’ve done this, you can either click back in your browser to return to the book and sign-in, or go back to the National Emergency Library homepage, sign in to your account, search for the book you wanted, and click on Borrow.
  • Once you’re back to the Limited Preview Screen, you’ll have the option to now borrow this book (by clicking on Borrow this Book) in an epub or adobe format, or reading it in your browser, for up to 14 days! Enjoy!




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