Better off Read
Municipalities are reinventing libraries for the digital age
Media / 27 Mar 2013
E-readers may be forcing their hardbound predecessors into museums, but the demand for public access to stories and libraries hasn’t dissipated. Having drawn mixed responses initially, bookless library concepts are now helping readers adapt to the digital era by facilitating easy access to new and classic literature and ensuring that younger generations have reading options other than their Twitter feeds.
San Antonio’s BiblioTech, which opens this fall, will be America’s first bookless public library. Intended to supplement, not replace, the existing physical book libraries in the city, the pilot program gives patrons the ability to borrow books via e-readers either on-site or by checking them out to take home. Those who have their own tablet, smartphone or e-reader can access the library’s collection remotely using their library cards. Inspired by the sleek design of Apple stores, the space will feature 150 e-readers, 50 computers, 25 laptops, and an inventory of 10,000 current titles, plus thousands of classics.
Project Ingeborg:
Austrian city Klagenfurt lacked a main community library, so a pair of local innovators developed Project Ingeborg to transform the city itself into a virtual library. The non-profit group behind the effort scattered 70 NFC tag stickers throughout the city, directing readers to free downloads of public domain books from Project Gutenberg’s 40,000 e-book catalog. Oftentimes, the book relates to the reader’s particular location. For example, Arthur Schnitzler’s “The Killer” can be found near the police station. The project has proven so popular that it has expanded to include work from local artists and musicians as well as authors.
Underground Library:
Spotting a passenger engrossed in a novel on the New York City subway may be commonplace, but empty-handed bookworms will appreciate a project undertaken recently by Miami Ad School students. Called Underground Library, the concept turns public transit into a virtual library that, in turn, encourages riders to visit the physical branches of the New York Public Library. Passengers can read the first ten pages of a book by swiping their smartphones across NFC-embedded virtual bookshelf posters. When leaving the subway, a map pops up on readers’ phones and identifies the nearest library branch so they can finish what they started.
©The Intelligence Group