In response to the shutdowns of schools and universities during the COVID-19 crisis, the Internet Archive, a non-profit digital library, has launched the National Emergency Library.  Now anyone in the world can access their 1.4 million (and growing) books for free, without a waiting list: each book can be ‘checked out’ for 14 days, so its online reading only, after which access must be re-granted.  But, it’s a great way to check out some of the 495 books listed in a ‘motorcycle’ search, as well as the million+ other titles of sometimes amazingly obscure works.

Start browsing on your ‘motorcycle’ search…[Internet Archive]
The National Emergency Library, according to DesignBoom, “addresses the immediate need for access to reading and research materials, as the ongoing crisis has shuttered the classrooms for one-in-five students worldwide, plus an additional one-in-four from higher education classes (according to UNESCO). The internet archive’s suspension of waitlists will run through June 30, 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever comes later.  After that, waitlists will be dramatically reduced to their normal capacity, which is based on the number of physical copies in open libraries.”

One preview sample, ‘Dream Garages’. Give it a look. [Internet Archive]
You might have found the Internet Archive on a search for old websites: it’s a non-profit  digital library of Internet websites that includes ‘snapshots’ of literally everything on the Internet, and their storage capacity is enormous.  I’ve even used it to refer to lost Vintagent posts!  The Archive provides free access to researchers, historians, scholars, the print-disabled, and the general public. And now, it’s available to anyone with an internet connection, without a wait.

Because this is what the Internet was intended to be… [Internet Archive]
The Internet Archive’s digital librarian Brewster Kahle states, “the library system, because of our national emergency, is coming to aid those that are forced to learn at home. this was our dream for the original Internet coming to life: the library at everyone’s fingertips.”

Start digging in here.


Paul d’Orléans is the founder of He is an author, photographer, filmmaker, museum curator, event organizer, and public speaker. Check out his Author Page, Instagram, and Facebook.