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"The April rain, the April rain,
Comes slanting down in fitful showers,
Then from the furrow shoots the grain,
And banks are fledged with nestling flowers;
And in grey shawl and woodland bowers
The cuckoo through the April rain
Calls once again."

Mathilde Blind, April Rain

Announcing The National Emergency Library - free digital library

mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,562 ✭✭✭✭
I have already shared the website www.archive.org which allows you to borrow for up to 14 days books from their digital library. They can be viewed on your browser, and unfortunately unless you live in the US, cannot be downloaded to your Kindle. I think usually it works like your lending library, with a limited number of each book, but so that more people can read while restricted to their homes, it seems that now there are no waiting lists. You can borrow books just by registering on the site.

I have already used it to read Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile and am reading Jo Nesbo's Police. I think @verom_gonzalez has also used it to read this book.

I received this email from them this morning:

"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!

Why don't you tell us about any books you have read using this resource? This is a wonderful way to access books for free that otherwise you might not be able to access easily. Browsing I have been able to see they have many books I want to read that are otherwise out of print and expensive to buy.

What a treasure trove!


Open Library is an initiative of the Internet Archive, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Other projects include the Wayback Machine, archive.org and archive-it.org


  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,562 ✭✭✭✭
    And here are some books recommended in today's Guardian on how to keep calm in times of adversity - and take joy where we find it.

    Eula Biss - On Immunity - starting with the story of Achilles, whose mother dipped him in the river Styx only to leave the vulnerable spot on his heel where she held him. The story’s moral, in Biss’s words, is that “immunity is a myth … and no mortal can ever be made invulnerable”.

    Turkish journalist Ahmet Altan - I Will Never See the World Again - written while serving a life sentence on trumped-charges of treason. This wise and defiant book, composed in a tiny shared cell and smuggled out in notes to his lawyers, celebrates the power of words to dissolve human isolation.

    Irina Dumitrescu’s - Rumba Under Fire – available to download free from Punctum – is full of stories of people still managing to write, teach and learn in the cruellest circumstances.

    Katherine May - Wintering: How I Learned to Flourish When Life Became Frozen - Sometimes we need to hunker down just as nature does, paring back to the basics of existence so we can thrive in sunnier days. It can be a time for taking stock and reassessing our priorities.

    George Orwell’s essay - “Some Thoughts on the Common Toad”- “At any rate, spring is here, even in London N1, and they can’t stop you enjoying it.” Dark times shouldn’t stop us living our lives and taking joy where we can find it. Spring is here, even in the time of coronavirus, and they can’t touch you for it.

    Angus Calder - The Myth of the Blitz
    Pat Barker - Noonday - novel set in the actual blitz
    Denton Welch - Memories of a Vanished Period about the hedonistic habits of young Londoners during a bombing raid.

    I haven't checked it they are available on the open library.

  • verom_gonzalezverom_gonzalez Posts: 8,296 ✭✭✭✭
    edited March 26
    Thanks, @mheredge for that information! As you have said, I have borrowed Police from archive.org, but I had no opportunity to explore further on this site. For instance, I'm not sure what 'waiting list' means. Can anyone borrow more than one book at a time? Or what if you don't finish reading a book within the 14 days allowed? Can you ask for more time or borrow it again?

    Anyway, I have also received that email and think it is good news in this complicated and uncertain context.
    Post edited by verom_gonzalez on
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