September 1, 2015


IMLS Press Contact
Giuliana Bullard

Washington, DC—A new investment of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) will help libraries provide more e-books and make them more accessible to the public. With the IMLS award of $1,372,154, The New York Public Library, in close collaboration with the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and 19 partner libraries and library consortia from across the country, will further a project called Library E-content Access Project (LEAP).  LEAP will expand and provide outreach for the Library Simplified e-content reader app and unify and improve the e-book borrowing and reading experience for library patrons across the country.

The project expands work begun in 2013 with an earlier IMLS grant for the development of the Library Simplified reader and resources.  It also supports the Open eBooks initiative, an effort to make popular e-books from major publishers available at no-cost to children from low-income families.

With the IMLS award and additional matching funds of $1,372,154, the project partners will work to:

  • expand the functionality of the Library Simplified e-content reader application, available soon on several platforms;
  • share a remediated public domain library of e-books that can be served through Library Simplified or other existing interfaces;
  • develop critical technology components needed to support the first year of Open eBooks including customization of the Library Simplified application so that it can be configured to support users of the Open eBooks collection; and
  • create technical and sustainability plans for a library e-content exchange and the infrastructure to support of a future implementation of the exchange.

Funding for this project is part of the $5 million IMLS investment in support of the Open eBooks initiative, which supports the development of the e-reader app, as well as tools and services to help the public more easily access e-books and other digital content. The project directly supports technology development and implementation of Open eBooks.

“This award helps pave the way for a fundamental advancement in access to library e-books and e-resources,” said IMLS Acting Director Maura Marx.  “It also upholds the broader IMLS strategy priority of supporting a National Digital Platform by enhancing open source software tools for use by public library systems across the country.”

The library implementation partners that plan to implement the Library Simplified application at their institution and participate in convening activities are:

  • Alameda County Library
  • Boston Public Library
  • Brooklyn Public Library
  • Chattanooga Public Library
  • Chicago Public Library
  • Cincinnati Public Library
  • Kent District Library
  • Nashville Public Library
  • Queens Library
  • Twinsburg Public Library

The consortia hosting partners that plan to pilot a Library Content Exchange at their library networks or consortia and participate in convening activities are:

  • Amigos Library Services – Represents more than 600 special, public, and academic libraries in 21 states across the United States
  • Califa – Represents more than 220 member libraries across California
  • CLIC – Provides services to more than 350 Colorado libraries
  • Contra Costa County Library – System of 29 libraries in the San Francisco Bay area
  • Douglas County – System of 7 libraries in Douglas County, Colorado
  • Marmot Library Network – Represents 30 special, public, and academic libraries in Colorado
  • Massachusetts Library System – Represents more than 1,700 libraries across Massachusetts
  • NC Live – Consortium of more than 200 North Carolina public and academic libraries
  • Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) – Represents more than 1,300 private,
    public, and academic library members in northern and western Illinois

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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