In January 2003, eSchool News first reported on an initiative from the University of Maryland to create a massive collection of children’s books from around the world that is freely available to children, teachers, librarians, parents, and scholars worldwide via the internet. Now, halfway into the five-year project, some 600-plus volumes comprise the International Children’s Digital Library. Funded by the National Science Foundation and the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the site has five goals: to create a collection of more than 10,000 books in at least 100 languages; to develop a user-friendly interface that lets children search, browse, read, and share books in electronic form; to provide a deeper understanding of copyright and “fair use” in the digital era; to evaluate the impact that access to digital materials has on school and public libraries; and to explore the relationship between children’s access to digital collections of multicultural materials and their attitudes toward books, reading, technology, and other countries and cultures. The materials included in the collection reflect similarities and differences in cultures, societies, interests, and lifestyles of peoples around the world. The project’s creators hope that tolerance and acceptance can be achieved through a greater understanding of one another.

About the Author:

eSchool News