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By Libraries, For Libraries

Libraries and organizations nationwide are working collaboratively to create a better e-reading experience for their patrons.

About Library Simplified

As readers increasingly turn to eBooks, libraries have a responsibility to provide them with the same open, easy and free access to eBooks from their libraries that they have enjoyed with physical books. Since 2012, dozens of libraries and organizations nationwide have worked collaboratively to create a better e-reading experience for their patrons, initially by coming together as Readers First, an organization of nearly 300 libraries, representing 200 million readers and dedicated to ensuring access to free and easy-to-use eBooks.

Library Simplified is an e-reading software suite that allows libraries to manage their collections and control the patron experience for finding, borrowing and reading library e-books.  The goal of the project is to advance a national digital e-reading platform to help library patrons find, borrow, and enjoy the largest variety and inventory of e-books and audiobooks possible, demonstrating that improving the user experience, especially in the area of discovery, increases the impact and value of library e-books.

Library Simplified is built on open-source principles. Library Simplified utilizes interoperable, accessible standards and technologies and promotes their consistent use throughout the digital publishing and library industries.

The Library Simplified community are united in our belief that through libraries and reading people gain access to the knowledge and culture to which they are justly entitled, leading to greater opportunities and personal growth.


In 2012, recognizing that there was a growing need to transform the  relationship between patrons and their libraries, The New York Public Library joined nine partners to propose the creation of a library owned and controlled, national e-reading platform to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The IMLS granted NYPL and its partners a National Leadership Grant, and the Library Simplified project was born.

Three years later a larger group of libraries nationwide expanded on the Library Simplified work and organized themselves behind a further exploration, again led by NYPL and funded by IMLS, called the Library E-Content Access Project (LEAP). LEAP allowed the partners to facilitate a national discussion on the challenges and opportunities of self-hosted options, to build consensus around possible solutions, and looked into the potential for building a shared national e-content marketplace. Work resulting from the LEAP effort led to improvements in the borrowing and reading experience for e-content resources, platforms and media types.

The New York Public Library was the first library to launch SimplyE to their patrons in July 2016. Today, libraries across the country have joined in simplifying e-content access for their patrons.

The Community Leadership Advisory Council

The SimplyE Community Leadership Advisory Council launched in April 2019. The charter of the council is to increase awareness and adoption of the platform, and to provide input and feedback based on the needs of libraries and their patrons. The current members of the inaugural SimplyE Advisory Council are:

  • Michele Kimpton, Business Development Director, Digital Public Library of America – Chair
  • Paul Swanson, Technology Director, Minitex – Vice Chair
  • Kendall Wiggin, State Librarian, Connecticut State Library
  • Michael Blackwell, Project Manager, Maryland State Library Digital eLending Consortium
  • Deirdre Brennan, Executive Director, Reaching Across Illinois Library System
  • Christine Peterson, Engagement and Emerging Technologies Coordinator, Amigos Library Services
  • Paula Mackinnon, Executive Director, Califa
  • John Herbert, Technology Director, LYRASIS
  • Jessica Want, Director of Digital Products, The New York Public Library
  • David Giles, Chief Strategy Officer, Brooklyn Public Library

Open Source Projects We Support

Readium Foundation

Readium Foundation is an Open Source Foundation collaboratively developing technology to accelerate the adoption of EPUB 3 and the Open Web Platform by the Digital Publishing Industry.


Publishing@W3C is a working group within the W3C that provides the necessary technologies on the Open Web Platform to advance accessibility, usability, portability, distribution, archiving, offline access and reliable cross-referencing through standards development documentation.


The Open Publication Distribution System (OPDS) is an application of the Atom Syndication Format intended to enable content creators and distributors to distribute digital books via a simple catalog format.


We are grateful for the support these institutions have provided to advance the roles of libraries:

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Help us build a solution that benefits readers.