We followed up on the two concepts survey respondents seemed most interested in:
- real-time transit information at BPL branches (bringing the MBTA to the BPL)
- digital pop-up libraries at bus stops (bringing the BPL to the MBTA)
The former is currently on pause due to technical difficulties. The latter is now out in the world as of May 10, 2023, at 20 bus stops around Boston. We've called the prototype "Browse, Borrow, Board."
If one of the main goals of the prototype is to introduce riders to the Library’s offerings. We needed to meet people where they're at (and where they might be for a while): waiting for the bus. Additionally, the BPL had to figure out a way to get riders browsing as easily as possible. To that end, library cards are not required to use this service and readers don’t need to download an app.
Reading On the go
The Library has focused on items that are easy to browse and enjoy on the go, including:
- short stories
- short audiobooks, and
- titles for children and teens.
The newspaper and magazine content includes 7,000 titles from over 125 countries. We imagine these may be the most popular offerings.
The digital pop-up library is essentially a QR code linking to a website. We needed to create a physical presence without getting in the way of pedestrians. Vinyl sidewalk decals seemed to do the job. Unlike eye-level signage, they have a footprint and stick out from their surroundings (not a lot of bright blue on the ground).