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BKM Project Gutenberg: Home

This is a guide on how to find the best Project Gutenberg eBook for you.

Intro to Project Gutenberg

         We have been excited to find that more people are using Overdrive and Libby (the application form of Overdrive) than usual. This is wonderful news, but it also means that patrons are on average having to wait longer for books than usual. While this is unfortunate, I am happy to announce that there are some ebooks that are always available on Overdrive and Libby! In fact, over 2,000 titles! These books are made available via Project Gutenberg. They are within public domain and most were published before the 1920’s and more recently converted to the digital form by volunteers. These books can be accessed online at https://www.gutenberg.org, but I recommend using Overdrive or Libby to access them if you have a library card for ease of use. For more information on these resources, check the tab labeled "Guide to Overdrive & Libby."

         Now, back to Project Gutenberg. You might be wondering, why should I bother to read some stuffy old books? Let’s start by setting aside our stereotypes—just because a book is older does not necessarily mean it is “stuffy.” Many people feel that they dislike classics because they were forced to read them in school. What they forget is that they were probably not ready to fully enjoy them when they were at that age and, how often do we really enjoy things we are forced to do?

Most classics are classics for a reason. They are books that continue to have a readership because people have continually found something in them that is worth reading. One could say you have a much better chance in finding a good book among old books than among the latest bestsellers, for if people have liked them for the last hundred or even two hundred years, there must be something good about them. Many classics were also the first of their kind. Reading older books can be a great way to find out the beginnings of your favorite genre or the book that inspired your favorite author. 

Still, preparing to read an older or “classic” novel can take a little mental preparation. The pacing is often different and much slower than what we are accustomed to, which can become part of the charm of the reading if one has time to enjoy it, which we certainly do now! Different forms of speech and vocabulary can take a bit to get used to, the older the book the more so. Audiobooks can be a good way to ease into reading a classic. Reading a classic children’s book can be fun too if you’re daunted by the long page counts of some of these books. 

So, you’re ready to take the plunge but aren't sure where to begin? After all, with over 2,000 options, choice fatigue is inevitable. With this in mind, I have selected a few novels from each genre for those of you who are at a loss. You can scroll down and consult the flow chart to help you find a book that fits your preferences. Then, read the the description of the book you selected below the flowchart. You can also click on any of the book covers to the right (and below) to view them in our catalog. 

Project Gutenberg Titles

Flow Chart

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Project Gutenberg Titles