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The CSI Library is now a member of the Open Library Project

by Mark Aaron Polger on 2020-12-16T21:14:00-05:00 | 0 Comments

The Open Library is an online project sponsored by the non-profit organization, the Internet Archive. Its goal supports Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) by making books available for free, electronic access.  CDL is a model where libraries lend out digitized versions of their physical books, including copyright protected works, to one user at a time for a limited time period. This is referred to an "own to loan" ratio, since library users can only access the same number of digital copies based on the number of print copies the library's owns. Watch this short video to learn more about CDL.  

Many library buildings remain closed during the pandemic, so the Open Library project helps provides access to students, faculty, and researchers by allowing anyone to virtually “borrow” an ebook for a designated period of time once they create a free account.

CUNY's Office of Library Services has partnered with the Open Library and is now one of the many signatory libraries to support the project. There are 18 participating CUNY libraries, including the College of Staten Island Library. There is a 30% overlap of circulating print material across CUNY libraries, resulting in over 770,000 print books that are now linked in OneSearch to electronic versions freely available in the Open Library.

At the CSI Library, there is a 20% overlap with our circulating print collection, resulting in nearly 44,000 books now available electronically. These selected electronic books are available for “loan” based on an 'own to loan' ratio of either one hour or two weeks.

The digital "loan period" is determined based on the number of print books available for loan if the Library was open. Once you create a free account, you may borrow up to ten books at a time for browsing (1 hour) or borrowing (14 days). If a book title is on loan to another patron, you may “reserve” the item and place yourself on a waiting list, just like you would do at the CSI Library. 

Access to the Open Library is found on the CSI Library's A-Z list of databases, or use the search or browse function on the home page at: The browseable list of subjects can be found at and the advanced search can be found at

To borrow materials, please register for an account at: and then go directly to the Borrowing landing page at . You may keep track of your loans on your account page

Titles that are available will have the “Read in Browser” link, where users can borrow, download, and read in a variety of formats such as BookReader, Adobe Digital Editions, Adobe for Tablet, PDF, text, ePub, and Kindle editions. Most ebook reading platforms are available online for free download. Books with a lock icon are available to persons who are blind or with vision loss. 

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