Open Library is raising 50 Ethereum (ETH) to get books our readers love! Chip-in and help us democratize our bookshelves for all.
In 2006, Aaron Swartz founded Open Library with the vision of creating “one web page for every book ever published”. Over the last twelve years, a lot has changed. Open Library has matured not only into a book catalog spanning 25M editions and 16M unique works, but into a library initiative recognized by the state of California, under the auspices of the Internet Archive. Today, Open Library makes over 3M of Internet Archive’s digital books (2.3M public access, 800k modern borrowable) readable directly from your browser. Last year, over 1.3M books were lent to readers from openlibrary.org.
And we’re just getting started. The dream of an Open Library doesn’t end at cataloging the world’s books. Together, we have the opportunity to create a new type of library which works for its readers. To be a library of the people, by the people, and for the people. A library which democratizes the books on its shelves and empowers its readers to pursue knowledge and fuel their imaginations. But how do we get there?
As a first step, we needed some way for patrons to let us know what books they wanted in their library. In January of this year, Open Library announced a new Reading Log feature which allows readers to keep track of which books they’re reading and which books they wish we had available. Over the last 8 months, a quarter million users have been anonymously helping us identify over 400k books most desired by our community. Next comes the hard part: how can we get all these books for our readers? An answer came to us directly from of one of Aaron’s early presentations on Open Library — crowdfunding and direct democracy.
What if our patrons could help us purchase a collection of books for their library and make them available to the world through our lending library? What if, for starters, we crowdfunded just a single pallet of some of our most requested books, to be purchased and shipped in bulk, and then made lendable to an international audience on openlibrary.org? Something like a global, digital book-drive. And what better way for Open Library to accept donations than with cryptocurrency — decentralized digital currency?
Thanks to the help of a partner, we now have this chance. Starting in November, Open Library is fortunate to be one of a select group of nonprofits to be listed on WeTrust Spring, a platform whose motto is, “Raising Crypto for the Greater Good” and which helps nonprofits accept donations for their causes in cryptocurrency. Through this initiative, Open Library aims to raise 50 ETH (~$10,000 USD) which it can use to unlock a combination of books from Internet Archive’s wishlist and Open Library’s most requested works. We plan to release a blog post about our progress each month in 2019.
Book lovers, help us democratize Open Library for all:
*Have your individual ETH donation doubled by WeTrust Spring (until they’ve hit $100k), through Giving Tuesday, Nov. 27!