Browse, Borrow, Board

The U.S. city of Boston is making borrowing reading material on-the-go more accessible through a pilot program that will offer public transit users access digital content from books and periodicals to audiobooks and newspapers at 20 bus stops across the city – no library card required.

The project – called “Browse, Borrow, Board” – gives riders access to e-books, audiobooks and other material through QR code links. The program doesn’t require an app, according to a news release from the mayor’s office.

“This pilot program builds on our efforts to make public transportation more enjoyable, while also connecting our residents to the resources the Boston Public Library already offers,” Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said in the news release.

Colorful decals with QR codes are conveniently placed on sidewalks at bus stops as well as on bus paths owned by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority throughout the city. The QR codes send users to a Boston Public Library website. The city has also released a map of where they’re located.

“Browse, Borrow, Board” was developed after the city conducted a survey about public transit last year and found that bus riders expressed high interested in accessing the Boston Public Library digitally on commutes, according to Maddie Webster, a program manager at the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics.

Five titles may be checked out at a time for a two-week period. After two weeks, patrons can rescan the QR code to register again and checkout more materials.

“We share in the value that knowledge and transportation could both be ‘Free to All.’ This opportunity connects public library and public transit offerings around learning and movement in our city,” said David Leonard, Boston Public Library president.

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