Co-Library: Peer-to-Peer Lending

I measured my books a few months ago –with the books on shelves, I measured the length of each row of books, and I found that I have about 16 feet of books. Now, I’ve only read about 1/3 of these books. Maybe someone else in my neighborhood wants to read some of them — I have books that aren’t in any libraries in the US, and besides, it can be more convenient to get a book next door than going to the library. So, here’s the sketch:

• We open our personal libraries to neighbors / members.
• Each owner sets their own rules.
• Catalog is available online, by phone, and maybe in print at a nearby social hub (a store or a school).

Those are the basics. Possible names for this arrangement peer-to-peer lending, co-library, book trust network.

One idea: in a neighborhood with a community budget, that budget could buy books about community governance. Then the question is: Where does the book live? Who gets to keep what the community purchased? Idea: put it in the co-library catalogue with a note that group funds paid for the book, so it has particular lending rules.

I think there are other peer-lending sites, but I don’t know of any focused on books. Someday it could even hook into WorldCat, so I can see books available wherever I go. This could save money and build social relationships — instead of building a new building to house books, just leave them in our houses, and invite our neighbors to check them out.

Do you know of any instances of this already in action? What synergies could this enable? What ideas awaken in you as you read this?

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5 Responses to Co-Library: Peer-to-Peer Lending

  1. sugato says:

    Dear Patrick,

    It’s invigorating to find that your views support our belief. We have created (and alpha-launched) http://www.openlib.in – which does exactly this. We would love it if you visit us and provide your valuable feedback by email / facebook posts.

    best regards
    sugato

  2. Pingback: 14 dažādi personu savstarpējās komercijas risinājumi – augošs tirgus. « Digitālais bizness

  3. Pingback: Digitālais bizness » 14 dažādi personu savstarpējās komercijas risinājumi – augošs tirgus.

  4. Francisco says:

    Patrick, Have you checked the BookCrossing community? It´s huge and working very well sharing books.

  5. Patrick Gibbs says:

    Looks like http://www.unLibrary.com has implemented much of what I imagined. The project says nothing about libre software, so I’m guessing it’s proprietary/depriving-of-your-freedom software, and it’s also centralized (on one server, not federated so that I can run it on my server and it communicates with your install on your server). Still, it’s the closest I’ve seen yet.

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