Distributed Library

A distributed library is a member-based library system that lacks a central storage or ownership model. Individuals share a wide variety of media resources (books, articles, maps, video, audio, zines) directly with each other. The library catalog exists in a database form that is usually made available to users via the Internet.




The first distributed library software was designed by Moxie, a Bay-area anarchist, software developer and hacker in early 2003 in order to create a city-wide book sharing system. Although the San-Francisco distributed library is now offline, the project has been picked up in a number of other cities, such as Barcelona and Toronto.



Distributed Library Project is the original software designed for use by San Francisco activists, since publicly released and rewritten for use in other communities. Users upload information to and search a database of media by ISBN. Descriptions and reviews may also be included. As of yet, the DLP has not seen widespread use.

Unlibrary is a distributed library whose users do not exist as a regional group per se, but are usually grouped according to demographic (individuals with similar interests, organizations, etc.) Using Unlibrary software, the users may also make their libraries private.

Bookcrossing is a bookswap system launched in the spring of 2001 by Ron Hornbaker that encourages its users to “make the whole world a library” by leaving books in public places to be picked up by others or more directly via “book rings” of Bookcrossing users.












Related Nodes

Project Gutenberg


Anarchist Free University

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