“The Underground Library”

Mar 14 2013 @ 6:13pm

Design students in Miami are trying to bring libraries to subway commuters, and vice versa:

Responding to a revolution in the way we consume books, commuter ennui, and limited cell service on the subway, the idea is fairly straightforward. Use some of the advertising space on a train to display a number of current titles, and embed near field communication (NFC) chips behind each. When a title is swiped by a smartphone, it will send a 10-page preview of the book to your phone — just enough to kill some time and get you hooked — and let you know which library branches have a copy of the entire book. It could also include links to the library catalogue with up-to-date information on availability for when you next surface.

Kimberley Mok is intrigued:

It’s hard to tell whether compulsive smartphone readers would find this inconveniently frustrating or a good excuse to walk into their local branch — not to mention that the project’s success would hinge on the titles selected to be sampled. Nevertheless, it’s a potentially fascinating segue that would piggyback real paper books on top of the growing trend of electronic reading via smart devices — possibly helping to effectively offset declining numbers of people visiting mortar and brick libraries.