Libraries Popping Up in Airports Offer Free Books to Travelers
Free Library Exhibit at Philadelphia International Airport
Traveling by air has become a chore of late. Not only this, God forbid you've left your book at home, because that means you'll either have to entertain yourself with the in-flight magazine or saw off an arm and a leg in exchange for a book from one of the airport shops (and suffer a diatribe about Obama from the cashier to boot—and yes, this actually happened to me).
Fortunately, local libraries are stepping up and providing free reads to travelers, so we don't ever have to find ourselves in the above predicament again. Melville House Books reports that Manhattan Regional Airport in Kansas and Philadelphia International Airport have partnered with Kansas State Library and the Free Library of Philadelphia, respectively, to provide free eBooks to passengers. The downside to this, of course, is the necessity for a lending card attached to that particularly library; non-locals are redirected to Project Gutenberg, where the selection is limited to books in the public domain (Pride and Prejudice, Great Expectations, etc.)
At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, however, the King County Library System has set up Quick Read stations with physical books, magazines, and even places to sit and read. Passengers can chill out and read at the station, or borrow an item for their flight, with no obligation to return (though, according to the library's marketing director Julie Brand, many customers still do, sometimes going as far as shipping books back to the main branch).
I love this idea, and I hope we'll see more libraries pop up in airports soon. Perhaps we'll even see cross-airport libraries with no specific city affiliation, which would allow you to borrow a book in New York City and return it in San Francisco.
Would you fly more often if free books were offered in the mix? I would.
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