Internet Public Library Facing Money Crunch

“The Internet Public Library, which began as a University of Michigan (UM) School of Information project in 1995 yet now has a global audience, is facing a money crunch. Its private and foundation funding has run out, and it currently survives on a base budget of more than $150,000 from UM. “The question of how to fund public goods on the Internet is a very difficult one,” said Maurita Holland, associate professor and assistant to the dean and director of academic outreach at the school.”

“The IPL–the first Google result when you search on “public library”–gets 12 million hits a month, one quarter from outside the United States and one-half of them from students working on reports. It gets about 1000 e-mail reference questions a month and answers about 80 percent of them. It contains an annotated directory of about 40,000 web sites, plus 22,000 e-texts. It relies on student labor as well as several hundred volunteers.” (from Library Journal)