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A computer screen displays Google eBooks online.
The National Endowment for the Humanities is providing a $1 million grant to launch a new nonprofit effort to digitize the nation's libraries and create a Digital Public Library of America.
Endowment chairman Jim Leach announced the grant Thursday to help create the infrastructure for a national digital library. Digitizing books and building a common platform for libraries to contribute will take years and millions more dollars from private partners.
The project is being spearheaded by Harvard University's library in Cambridge, Mass. Leach says an independent board will be formed within two months to establish a new nonprofit to lead the effort.
Google's efforts to digitize books have at times been thwarted in court due to copyright laws. Those restrictions may also limit content for a digital public library.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.