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A new digital library in Rome lets commuters read unlimited e-books for free.

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May 13, 2021, 1:02pm

A good idea to steal: the city of Rome has created a free digital library that spans the entire city, available to users of ATAC, Rome’s public transportation. Passengers waiting at bus stops or subway stations will be able to simply scan a QR code and download e-books, audiobooks and music on their smartphone or tablet, all for free.

The digital library provides titles for all tastes and age groups: classics from all over the world, children’s books, poetry, theater, nonfiction, art and travel essays, special local sections dedicated to Dante and Trilussa and to Roman poets, and foreign language texts. There is no limit to how many books or songs a single passenger can download.

I personally love this project: it improves the commuting experience and promotes reading without trying to squeeze extra cash from the public, a true public good. Said Giovanni Mottura, director of ATAC: “Offering customers a free cultural service is a way to remind everyone of the function of public transport, which not only means moving millions of people, but also means offering quality services that improve the transport experience.” Are you listening, certain U.S. officials? When outdone by Rome . . .

[via Rome]

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