Giving Compass' Take:
- The city of Boston is fitting 20 bus stops with QR codes to help riders have access to digital libraries by allowing them to browse and borrow audiobooks, e-books, e-newspapers, and e-magazines.
- How can increasing access to library resources help encourage literacy throughout cities?
- Read how funding libraries can help combat misinformation.
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Twenty bus stops across Boston were outfitted last week with quick response, or QR, codes allowing riders to browse and borrow audiobooks, e-books, e-newspapers and e-magazines from the Boston Public Library, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced Thursday.
Users are not required to have a library card or download an app to access the primarily English- and Spanish-language offerings, as the primary goal of the “Browse, Borrow, Board” program is to introduce riders to the library’s resources, the announcement says.
The pilot — which will run through August — shows the value of simple partnerships between large bureaucracies such as libraries, transportation authorities and cities, said Maddie Webster, program manager in the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, which helped develop the initiative.
The pilot program is based on a transit rider survey conducted last year by MONUM summer fellow Bailey Siber amid discussions between leaders at the BPL and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority about a potential collaboration, Webster said.
Through an in-person and online survey, Siber collected more than 250 constituent responses in numerous languages to understand what kinds of resources people wanted to see from the BPL, which services they’d like that BPL doesn’t offer and what they’d like to do on a bus.
The 20 bus stops included in the pilot are scattered across “pretty much every neighborhood,” Webster said. She selected the stops by analyzing MBTA data to see which had the most boardings, finding high numbers at those serving the three fare-free bus routes established in early 2022. In neighborhoods where it wasn’t clear which bus stop was most popular, she contacted liaisons in the neighborhood services office to determine which stop “seems to be more happening than the rest.”
Read the full article about bus stop digital libraries by Ysabelle Kempe at Smart Cities Dive.