Free holiday reading picks from the DPLA Open Bookshelf

By Kathleen Williams, December 18, 2020.
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DPLA’s Open Bookshelf is a collection of more than 8,000 free ebooks that includes a wide range of titles from classics to children’s books to textbooks, and everything in between. Anyone can get instant access—no registration required— at or by using the free SimplyE app and choosing “Digital Public Library of America” as your library. 

The DPLA Curation Corps is a group of librarians from across the country who work together to build and organize the Open Bookshelf collection. This year, we asked the Curation Corps for their top picks for free holiday reading from the Open Bookshelf. Here’s what they had to say:

An Exciting Christmas Eve, Arthur Conan Doyle 

“A thrilling short story from a master of mystery novels, this tale provides a taste of Arthur Conan Doyle’s work beyond his well known Sherlock Holmes stories.” – Michele Huie, Systems and Cataloging Librarian, Santa Clara County Library (California)

My New Year’s Eve Among the Mummies, Grant Allen

“This is a fun short story about a man on holiday in Egypt that attends by accident a secret party that occurs every thousand years.  Those mummies like to party, who wouldn’t want to join them?” – Mary Ann Lema, Director, Prairie Trails Public Library District (Illinois)

The Chimes, Charles Dickens

“I haven’t read this book yet but it’s on my list for this year! Dickens wrote The Christmas Carol, which is actually the start of a series of five novellas called his “Christmas books.” I’ve read the first one (a classic!) so I’m going to tackle this one next.” – Georgia Westbrook, Open Educational Resources and Instruction Librarian, Touro College (New York)

Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

The Gift of the Magi, O. Henry

“All three novels are classic reads for the holidays.” -Brianna Furcron, DPLA Curation Corps Team Leader, formerly Special Collections Librarian, State of Arizona Research Library and Archives (Arizona)

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, Clement Clark Moore

“It’s a classic poem that heavily influenced how Americans see Santa Claus.” -Stacy Tomaszewski, Electronic Resources Librarian, Alameda County Library (California)

“My mother read this classic poem to me before bed on Christmas Eve as a child. I am continuing the tradition and read it to my children.” – Michele Huie, Systems and Cataloging Librarian, Santa Clara County Library (California)

Happy reading, and happy holidays!

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DPLA’s ebook work is supported by Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.