New York's three major public library systems—The New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, and Queens Public Library—have teamed up with the Metropolitan Transit Authority and Transit Wireless to launch Subway Library, which offers free e-book downloads in subway stations.
The six-week promotion, according to a press release issued by the New York Public Library, offers free-ebooks, e-shorts, and excerpts from full-length books. The excerpts are meant to be read on New Yorkers' commutes. All content can be downloaded at subway stations, where riders can connect to the Subway Library website by using Transit Wireless WiFi, a city-wide system launched in 2011, and completed last year, providing all subway stations in the city with wireless internet and cell service. The Subway Library site was developed by the NYPL, and is similar to its SimplyE free e-book reader app.
“The New York Public Library’s mission is to make information and knowledge accessible to all, and this exciting partnership with the MTA is certainly right on track,” NYPL president Tony Marx said in a statement. “By making thousands of free stories easily available to subway straphangers, we are encouraging reading, learning, and curiosity."
Along with the promotion, a Library Train—a subway car featuring an interior that evokes the Rose Main Reading Room inside the 42nd Street branch of the NYPL—will alternate running along the 6th and 8th Avenue corridor lines of the E and F trains. A social media competition, in which riders can share photos of themselves by Subway Library posters or within the Subway Library train—offers six possible prizes, including three Amazon Kindle Voyages.
E-books and short stories offered come from the New York Public Library's permanent collection, while excerpts have been made available by publishers including Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Plympton, and Simon & Schuster. Authors whose works are available through the project include Zadie Smith, Mohsin Hamid, Karen Russel, David Foster Wallace, Angie Thomas, and Lemony Snicket.
"It’s a great way to celebrate the introduction of cell service and free Wi-Fi to all underground stations, and highlight the ongoing modernization of New York’s transportation system,” MTA interim executive director Ronnie Hakim said in a statement. “It’s also a great reminder of the natural partnership between public transportation and books—reading has always been a central part of the New York commute."