The idea at its most simple – put QR codes with a link to join the local library in bus stops, public toilets, benches in shopping centres – those places where people end up having to spend time but where they don’t have anything to do. Why? If you want to increase reading for pleasure, you can start from one of two places: 1. That reading is already a wonderful, pleasurable thing to do and the reason more people don’t read is that they haven’t discovered it. If you take this approach, you will try to find ways to increase people’s discovery of reading. 2. That we need to change something about either people or reading to make reading more pleasurable for people. If you take this approach you will find a way of using technology/innovation to change reading or advertising to change people. Not only is the first approach simpler, it seems to be supported by the number of young people still reading lots of books once they have discovered reading. This proposal asks: – where are the spaces people find themselves with unavoidable blank time but at present no opportunity to fill that time with a book? And how do we make it really easy for them to fill that time in that way? If we can do that we increase the time available to people to read and increase the likelihood of them reading at other times. Thanks to apps like Overdrive, it has never been easier to borrow books from libraries electronically from a local library. Yet most people still don’t realise this is possible, and library use is on the decline, with 800 closing in the UK in the past 10 years. “Queues, Loos, and Libraries” combines all these factors to allow people to discover reading in the places they go every day rather than having to find a way of drawing them into unfamiliar places. A QR code with a simple message (“discover something new” or “bring your library to your screen” or “do you keep meaning to take a look round your local library? It’s right here!”) would be easy to display at very low cost (there would be no placement costs for councils displaying them in council spaces; and shops could make them part of existing “shop local” campaigns, displaying them in windows or by counters or the best location of all – on loo doors!), and would enable people to sign up and download books almost instantly. It would increase the discovery of reading, and increase the use of libraries.
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