Sticky fingers force Polish mobile library to go digital

The initial idea was simple:

Acknowledging  that Poland is not one of the “European nations which read a great deal” the mayor of the Polish city of Gdansk Pawel Adamowicz took part in a plan to outfit a fleet of 35 brand-new trams with books from local libraries in an effort to promote reading.

Special nets were placed on the back of the seats and librarians worked hard in selecting the 5000 books that would stock these new mobile libraries. The program launched in January of this year.

By April all 5,000 books had been stolen!

So, what next?

A digital approach.

Now all trams are replete with virtual shelves where traveler’s scan codes from the “book-spines” to read for free on their mobile device.

A Virtual Shelf


Perhaps the true solution lies somewhere in the middle. Let’s not make this an all or nothing proposition. 

What if the books were free and the rider’s could take them with them? Still a great way to promote reading and the physical book without straining library budgets through theft. Get the publisher’s involved, keep the librarians as curators and offer both physical and digital choice.


Gdansk turns trams into mobile libraries
Gdansk installs thief-proof e-books on trams

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