(Found via here. The Wall Street Journal has an article entitled Libraries Have a Novel Idea. It looks at how the Internet Archive is:-
Starting Tuesday, a group of libraries led by the Internet Archive, a nonprofit digital library, are joining forces to create a one-stop website for checking out e-books, including access to more than a million scanned public domain books and a catalog of thousands of contemporary e-book titles available at many public libraries.
To read the books, borrowers around the world can download and read them for free on computers or e-reading gadgets. Software renders the books inaccessible once the loan period ends. Two-thirds of American libraries offered e-book loans in 2009, according to a survey by the American Library Association. But those were mostly contemporary imprints from the last couple of years—say, the latest Stephen King novel.
But the more interesting news is that the internet archive has set up Openlibrary.org
[which] goes a step further by opening up some access to the sorts of books that may have otherwise gathered dust on library shelves—mainly those published in the past 90 years, but of less popular interest.
If you take an item out, only one copy is available due to copy right restrictions. My main concern though (via a friend mentioning it). If you have a digital copy, could you not just make another another digital copy? Isn't it just trying to put an analogue answers to a digital world?
Definitely would check the two articles.