The Digital Public Library of America Partners with President Obama to Provide Children with Greater Access to Ebooks

By DPLA, April 30, 2015.
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Washington, DC—Today President Obama announced a major new program, with the Digital Public Library of America as a core partner, that will provide children from across the country with greater access to thousands of ebooks. The Open eBooks initiative will include ebooks from DPLA’s extensive collection of openly available content as well as contemporary titles from publishers, which are being generously donated as part of the effort and available for free to students from low-income families. The publisher commitments include $250 million in ebook donations. DPLA’s national network of librarians will help coordinate books for inclusion in the program, and will connect to children and libraries across America.

“We view this initiative as a critical next step in DPLA’s overall mission to maximize access to our shared culture,” said Dan Cohen, DPLA’s Executive Director. “With the centrality of books in our culture and the importance of encouraging reading both for learning and for pure enjoyment, we felt it was essential to find creative ways to increase that access.”

DPLA will work closely with the New York Public Library, First Book, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. NYPL is creating an app that will enable children to read ebooks on a wide variety of devices, including tablets that have been donated as part of the President’s ConnectED initiative and on the smartphones that are increasingly used by Americans at all income levels. First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that already provides millions of print books to classrooms and programs serving children in need, will provide full access to its network of 175,000 educators and program leaders serving children from low-income families, and identify additional programs that can take advantage of the ebooks program.

With today’s announcement, DPLA and its partners will begin to build the Digital Public Library of America Youth collection, or DPLAY. Eventually the overall collection will include thousands of public domain and in-copyright works. For classic books, compelling new covers will be added by Recovering the Classics, a project that allows artists to reimagine these great works.

The Digital Public Library of America looks forward to connecting children with ebooks through new avenues, and is also delighted that this ebook program has been announced at the same time as a new push to get library cards into the hands of all children in America.

Press contact: Kenny Whitebloom,


About the Digital Public Library of America

The Digital Public Library of America ( brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. It strives to contain the full breadth of human expression, including the written word, works of art and culture, records of America’s heritage, and the efforts and data of science. DPLA’s ever-expanding collection includes over 10 million items from 1,600 institutions across the United States.

About First Book

First Book is a nonprofit social enterprise that has distributed more than 125 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada. By making new, high-quality books available on an ongoing basis, First Book is transforming the lives of children in need and elevating the quality of education. For more information, please visit

About The New York Public Library

The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at

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