UW Libraries Blog

March 25, 2020

The New National Emergency Library and Why It Matters for Huskies

UW Libraries

The New National Emergency Library and Why It Matters for Huskies

The Internet Archives recently announced the creation of a National Emergency Library, opening up more than 1.4 million ebooks to address the increased global demand and need for electronic reading and research material to serve the nation’s displaced learners.

Why is this action important? Are others following suit?

Understanding the anticipated need for increased e-resources, earlier in the month, the UW Libraries officially endorsed the move to open the Internet Archives. The new National Emergency Library is a huge development in supporting our faculty and students in teaching and learning online in spring quarter. HathiTrust is also planning to expand fair use access to its corpus to ensure that the academic communities of its members can continue to utilize HathiTrust for teaching and learning. UW Libraries will continue to post news about access to these types of resources on our UW Libraries COVID-19 web page.

As a Librarian, how does this impact your work to facilitate e-book orders for classes?

UW Librarians have been fielding ebook requests for required textbooks over the last week. Before the Emergency Library was announced, Librarians faced a common challenge– in many cases, there was simply no multi-user ebook available for the Libraries to order — this changed dramatically with the opening of the National Emergency Library.

History Librarian, Theresa Mudrock says this has made a real difference, but challenges still exist.

“Today, I was able to inform 10 instructors that the books they needed were now available, whereas yesterday they were not,” said Mudrock.

“That said, this increased access will not address all of our needs for e-resources, particularly for certain disciplines.”

“All of us across the UW Libraries are working hard to identify alternative solutions and provide best practices for selecting e-resources which we will continue to document on our Libraries Services for Remote Learning Page,” noted Mudrock.

Some groups are criticizing the Internet Archive’s move to create the Emergency Library- what is the response to this criticism, and what are the facts?  

The Internet Archives posted a new blog outlining its response to criticism, fact-checking misinformation about the Emergency Library.  Updated FAQs are also posted here.

What should students and faculty be aware of when requesting ebooks? 

Your librarian is the key to finding if an ebook is available. They can check to see if we already own a copy, check the National Emergency Library and other ebook collections, and if need be, order a multi-user ebook for your class needs. Keep in mind not every book will be available so flexibility is the key. Your librarian may also be able to suggest substitute readings.

The National Emergency Library allows an individual to borrow up to 10 books each. To read these ebooks, create your free Internet Archives account. Books can be borrowed for 2 weeks and renewed until June 30th, 2020.

Search First: Be sure to also use UW Libraries Search to find ebooks that we own. Just follow this example to limit your search to ebooks!

For questions on selecting course reserves, reach out to your subject librarian.

#YourLibrary is here to help you, Huskies!

Contributors to this blog:

  • Corey Murata- Director, Collection Analysis & Strategy
  • Theresa Mudrock- History Research Librarian
  • Sandy Hawley- Communications Director, UW Libraries