"Powered by ideas, ideals, and by idealism." This is one of the first few lines in the mission statement of Project Gutenberg, a Web site stating that it is the first—and largest—single collection of free eBooks. Another tidbit worth mentioning is the fact that it is completely run by volunteers, and there are no dues or membership requirements. While they do gladly accept donations and new volunteers, the site makes its main goal clear: “...provide as many eBooks in as many formats as possible for the entire world to read in as many languages as possible.”
While I don't own a Kindle, iPad, or an eReader of any kind, I can still say this is one of my favorite Web sites. I still remember, while working as a temp at previous job in a rather dimly-lit office, scrolling through Project Gutenberg and reliving the terror and fascination that is Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein
. That is the beauty of Project Gutenberg after all: as long as you have access to the Internet, you can read its 40,000-plus eBooks or download them to your eReader. If you should need help with that, there is a Mobile Reader Devices How-To
section on their site, or you can come to one of the CRRL branches
where our staff would be happy to assist you
The main page of Project Gutenberg does come off as a little cluttered, with a list of various announcements and links in the main area and the site’s navigation in an orange-esque colored box to the left. While the Web site’s aesthetic is a tad outdated, this is one instance where you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and please, pardon my terrible cliché.
At the very bottom of the main page is a small section entitled, “Special Areas.” Overall this seems to be a hodge-podge collection, including a link to a now dormant project of digitizing sheet music. Though the list of completed scores on Gutenberg’s site is small, there are couple other websites mentioned with more sheet music to offer, including Classical Archives
Project Gutenberg’s dedication to the belief that knowledge should be available to everyone is evident, and for someone who is a big fan of libraries, ardently admirable. Whether you love music, literature, or just the classics, it's almost guaranteed that Project Gutenberg
will have something for everyone.