Internet Public Library

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Internet Public Library
Web address
Launched March 17, 1995; 21 years ago (1995-03-17)
Revenue Non-profit
Current status Active

The Internet Public Library (IPL, ipl2) was a non-profit, largely student-run website managed by a consortium, headed by Drexel University. Visitors could ask reference questions, and volunteer librarians and graduate students in library and information science formed collections and answered questions. The IPL opened on March 17, 1995. On January 1, 2010 it merged with the Librarians' Internet Index to become ipl2.[1] It ceased operations completely on June 30, 2015.

The digital collections on the site were divided into five broad categories, and include Resources by Subject, Newspapers & Magazines, Special Collections Created By the ipl2, and Special Collections for Kids and Teens. As of March 2011 it had about 40,000 searchable resources.[2]


The IPL originated at the University of Michigan’s School of Information. Michigan SI students almost exclusively generated its content. They also managed the Ask a Question reference service. In 2006 the University of Michigan opened up management of the IPL to other information science and library schools. They stopped hosting the IPL and moved the servers and staff positions to Drexel University,[3] and by January 2007 the "IPL Consortium" was a group of 15 colleges, still including the University of Michigan, that ran the IPL. Drexel's College of Computing and Informatics hosted the site. With a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Drexel also used the site as a "'technological training center' for digital librarians."[3][4][5][6]

ipl2, the new face of the Internet Public Library, resulted from a merger with the Librarians' Internet Index, previously managed by the Califa Library group. This project involved moving ipl2 to a new Drexel-provided website.[3]

According to Dr. Joseph Janes,[7] ipl2 would no longer be supported as of the end of 2014. The last ipl2 monthly newsletter was February 2014. All operations officially ended on June 30, 2015.


ipl2's Mission Statement and Vision Statement, adopted 19 May 2008, are:


The Internet Public Library was generally highly regarded. It was noted for its "clean design" and depth of resources as well as its reference service that by 2011 had answered more than 100,000 queries.[2]

Elimination of site suggestions[edit]

IPL has been closed, with regard to website suggestions from outsiders, since 2010. At that time, the site had more than 21,000 suggestions, of which greater than 85% were deemed inappropriate, based on the site's inclusion criteria.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ a b Hane, Paula J. (April 2011). "Internet Public Library milestones". Information Today 28 (4). p. 8. (subscription required (help)). 
  3. ^ a b c Timeline of ipl2/IPL History
  4. ^ "The ipl2 Consortium — Members and Membership Information". Internet Public Library. Archived from the original on 17 July 2014. 
  5. ^ "Drexel University to Transform Internet Public Library Into Virtual Learning Lab". Drexel University. 21 August 2007. Archived from the original on 19 November 2014. 
  6. ^ "Internet Public Library Gets a New Lease on Life". Chronicle of Higher Education. 31 August 2007. Archived from the original on 3 September 2007. 
  7. ^ Janes, Joseph (November 13, 2014). "RIP,IPL". American Libraries (Chicago, IL: American Library Association). Archived from the original on 19 November 2014. 
  8. ^ "The Mission and Vision Statements of ipl2". Internet Public Library. Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. 
  9. ^ "Contact ipl2!". Internet Public Library. Archived from the original on 3 November 2014. 

External links[edit]