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Finding Free Literary Resources: Digital Libraries and Portals

This guide is intended to acquaint you with how to access literary resources free of charge.

Basic Library Information

Check the easy-to-use interactive  Library Basics Tutorial to find out what we have, where to find it, how to access it, and what services we offer you.


  • Visit us at the Reference Desk on the main floor of Axinn Library
  • Call the Reference Desk: 516 464-5962
  • Use the buttons below to quickly type us a question or chat with a librarian

Digital Libraries and Portals

The sites listed here include not only literary books and manuscripts, but archival resources of many kinds in a variety of formats. Although you can locate many resources through these portals that can be freely downloaded, some are subject to copyright and may be viewed, read or listened to, but not downloaded.

  • Digital Public Library of America (DPLA): The DPLA is a kind of "catalog of catalogs," serving as a discovery tool for books, images, historical documents, arts objects, audiovisual materials that are housed in libraries, archives and museums. It provides direct access to those materials that are freely available in the public domain.
  • Internet Archive: Similar to DPLA, the Internet Archive is a kind of "library of libraries." It is a non-profit digital library, providing free access to  non-copyrighted books, movies, software, music,websites, etc.. Many of these items have been digitized from libraries and museums all over the world.
  • Internet Archive Scholar: Provides full-text access to over 25 million freely-available and open access scholarly resources.
  • Library of Congress Digital Collections (LOC): In addition to being the largest library in the world and being the main research tool for the U.S. Congress, the LOC's resources are available to the public. The LOC provides a variety of finding aids, available from anywhere, as well as many digital materials on a wide-range of topics that can be examined and downloaded remotely.
  • Digital Bodleian Library: The Bodleian Libraries are the research libraries of Oxford University. Digital Bodleian brings together in one collection many of the resources the library has been digitizing over the last twenty years. Over 650,000 digital objects (including maps, manuscripts, images, historical documents and records, etc.) are freely available and downloadable.

Contact Information

Ann Grafstein, M.L.S, Ph.D.
Professor of Library Services
902H Axinn Library

Contact me by phone or email. Click on the button below to arrange an appointment during a scheduled time slot.

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