A Guide To Finding Digital Books: Free Online Library In Education Sector


Online libraries have emerged as a very important component of global information infrastructure, adopting the latest information and communication technology (ICT) to promote an organizational structure that encourages communication and resource sharing between the academician and scholars across the nation.


A new dimension to information technology has been added due to the emergence of the internet; which gave birth to new concepts of Digital Libraries (DL’s) or online libraries. Online libraries have emerged as a very important component of global information infrastructure, adopting the latest information and communication technology (ICT) to promote an organizational structure that encourages communication and resource sharing between the academician and scholars across the nation.

The origin of online libraries is no new thing, yet there is a large amount of population who are unaware of online libraries. The knowledge of free online library is unknown to a great number of people and many don’t use it knowingly. They can immensely vary in size, scope, and can be maintained by individuals or organizations. The digital content in these online libraries can be stored locally or can be accessed remotely via computer networks. There are great varieties available of Databases, books, research papers, videos, audio recordings, e-books etc. with great updated data and information; which is just a click away to be used and viewed.

The free online library helps ardent readers, serious researchers, and casual surfers in a great manner by the supply of endless free books and information they need. In India, a number of free online library initiatives and digitization programmes have been initiated throughout the country. Most of the Online Library initiatives are government funded. The Ministry Of Communication And Information Technology has also established the Digital Library of India. In India, in recent years several online library development initiatives have been seen. They have certainly gained insight, assess and growth. A lot of scholarly journals have reflected light and have come to the conclusion that there are 63 published studies on digital libraries in India which have been reviewed.

The study reveals that there are more plans and initiatives to come in the future, whose major focus is on developing the status of free online library and digital collections in India. The National Digital library of India (NDLI) is a project under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, India. The major objective of NDLI is to integrate several national and international digital libraries into one single web- portal. The NDLI provides free of cost access and serves as a free online library of many books in English and the Indian languages. Free online libraries are growing with great significance especially in India. Some of them include the following:

  • National Digital Library of India
  • Open Library (India)
  • Public Library of India
  • The Better India
  • Internet Archive

Contribution in the educational field (for teachers)

Free online library fundamentally has proved itself to be an organized set of resources, which not only includes human services, but also the entire spectrum of media (e.g., text, video, images, etc.). They possess both physical and virtual components such as space, equipment, and storage media. They also include intellectual components like, collection policies that determine what materials will be included and organizational schemes that determine how the collection is accessed.

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A free online library offers classroom materials and professional development which help teachers effectively and efficiently to use primary sources from the Library’s vast digital collections in their teaching. This builds partnerships with educational organizations to support effective instruction using primary sources. Many schools, educational institutions, and colleges have already begun the task of converting their traditional collections of books and educational materials to electronic format or online format; with the option with some files which become available in HTML format while others can be downloaded in PDF format, to be printed if necessary. However, from being easily accessible and user-friendly, the free online library holds much more benefits in the educational field not only for the students but for the teachers as well. Here are few of the major benefits of the free online library.

1. A heightened amount of variety and choice

Free Online libraries give complete and easy access to multiple contents with a potentially infinite number of resources and selections at hand. Teachers and students don’t have to limit their source of information from traditional libraries which are represented by physical space; more time consuming and difficult as books consume a lot of space and people often have to walk round in search of a particular material. With the help of Internet and cloud storage, free online libraries have overcome this limitation, expanding teachers’ horizons in teaching and learning. The facilitation of the expansion of education is automatically done as teachers can access an enormous amount of knowledge and share contents with others.

2. Building a heritage for the next generation

Free online library contribute a lot in helping the scientific society as they act as a reservoir for the storage of important research data, information and findings. This certainly, helps the teachers in the easy access of such resources as these libraries serve in the preservation of artifacts and ideas. The critical issue of the physical records of scientific studies and researches of being destroyed or lost has been solved with the emergence of digital libraries.

Free online library provide free and easy access to the online copies of studies and researches which help the teachers in the complete inculcation of knowledge to his/her students. They not only serve a cultural role in preserving and organizing artifacts and ideas, but also make great works of literature, art, and science must be preserved and made accessible to teachers and future learners. In addition to preservation, free online library ensures access to materials via indexes, catalogs, and other finding aids that allow learners to locate items appropriate to their needs.

3. Instant access to educational content

As long as an Internet connection is available, free online libraries are accessible anywhere and at any point of time. They can be easily accessed with the use of any simple technological device, such as a PC, a tablet or even a smartphone, and information and knowledge can be gained easily. Certainly, this means teachers can consult online books, images, videos, and all the other educational contents, without any delay of going to the nearest physical library. This can easily be done in a formal environment as well, for instance at school, or they can relax at their homes getting instant access to the information they need.

4. Fight against deterioration

The online storage of books and other sources of information from the entire spectrum of media like images, audios, videos, etc. the problem of deterioration is solved. In the traditional libraries, audio cassette tapes, vinyl records, CD’s etc. are shared among a lot of teachers and students causing the problem to stand a large number of playings, which hamper the cassettes, CDs and the audios. Ancient documents or fragile photographs need to be resisted of several handovers and consultations, with the risk of being subjected to breakages or other damages. Digitizing of materials and resources has made it possible to access contents how many times a teacher or a student needs, using much safer formats (mp3, digital images, online textbooks, etc.)

5. An easy information retrieval

Over the years, free online library have developed a great range of search features; like boolean and proximity operators, truncation, etc. They facilitate access to data collections and information, which allows the teachers, researches, and students to perform sophisticated searches for a variety of queries. Even novice users can start using free online library and accomplish their searches independently. Not only this, the most encouraging thing is that, as the digital collections grow larger, the level of sophistication of these searching features increases rapidly.

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6. Inexpensive resource

Free online library serve a practical role in sharing expensive resources. Physical resources such as books and periodicals, films and videos, software and electronic databases, and specialized tools such as projectors, graphics equipment, and cameras are shared by a community of users. Librarians (also called information specialists or media specialists) respond to the requests of teachers and students (responsive service) and initiate activities for teachers and students (proactive services) with the help of support instructional programs. Responsive services also include services like maintaining reserve materials, recommending books or films, answering reference questions, providing bibliographic instruction, developing media packages, and teaching users how to use materials. Proactive services include services like selective initiating thematic events, dissemination of information to faculty, and students,collaborating with instructors to plan instruction, and introducing new instructional methods and tools. In these ways,free online library serve to allow teachers, instructors and students to share expensive materials, and expertise.

7. Social and intellectual role

The free online library serves social and intellectual roles in bringing together people and ideas. They allow people with different perspectives to interact in a knowledge space that is both larger and more general than shared by any single discipline or affinity group in a physical library. Browsing a catalog in a free online library provides a global view for people engaged in the specialized study and offers opportunities for essential insights or alternative views. In many respects, the free online library serves as centers of interdisciplinarity which are the places shared by learners from all disciplines. Free online library extends such interdisciplinarity by making diverse information resources available beyond the physical space shared by groups of learners. One of the greatest benefits of the free online library is bringing together people with formal, informal, and professional learning missions.


Of all the benefits and advantages, free online library holds a great scope in future as well. They are not only a collection of digital resources but are also accessible for retrieval over computer networks.  Digital information of various types can be incorporated into the collection, including both retrospectively converted printed materials and those that exist only in digital form. They may vary according to a broad range of material formats including, books, journals, pictures, manuscripts, sound recordings, videos, etc.

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