One of the worst things about adulthood is that reading for pleasure often becomes “necessity or nothing.” Especially now that smartphones, tablets, and ever-present TV screens are sapping attention spans everywhere, tempting people to abandon their imagination in favor of pregnancy rumors about former reality show stars.
The New York Public Library’s “Underground Libarary” concept is a quick and easy way to get subway riders back into the habit of reading during their commute. Quit listening to songs you’ve heard a thousand times before and playing picture-identification games. The library’s end goal is for the Metro trains, which aren’t known for their wonderful wireless Internet connections, to have Public Library posters hanging throughout. The posters can be accessed via phone using near-field communication, the same technology that allows you to pass something from one phone to the next just by putting them next to each other.
When the phone swipes the poster, the user is given the option to read the first 10 pages from a variety of books, which the readers will then be prompted to go and finish reading for free at the closest library, which the app can map and guide you to. The video below provides a visual component, but isn’t it visual components that this campaign is trying to overcome? Maybe just get someone to transcribe the video so that you can read it afterward.
This would be a very low-cost way to bring readers back to the library, as well as giving subway riders something to do aside from avoiding eye contact with the three-lipped harmonica player.