The Free Library of Philadelphia, SEPTA, and Dunkin’ Donuts have unveiled a virtual library in Suburban Station. The idea is to introduce commuters to the library’s extensive online catalog.
Smartphone owners can access the library by scanning QR barcodes displayed on posters in the station. Those codes are supposed to connect commuters to an e-book or podcast.
If you want to access a best-seller, you need to have a Free Library card and the Overdrive app, which you can download for free from FreeLibrary.org. You also need a wi-fi connection, which is already provided in Suburban Station, though that connection can be finicky.
Lauren Groenendaal, a digital resource specialist thinks that this will be a convenient and revolutionary way for commuters to access the library’s e-catalog.
“In a short amount of time they can get a podcast or an e-book on their mobile device and then that can be an enriching and entertaining experience for them while they are on their SEPTA ride,” she said.
“This is great. It’ll be a good addition to my virtual library that I have on my iPad. It’s a great selection,” said commuter Danelle Cooper. “I see Grimm’s fairytales and stuff like that, so this should be good.”
But when Cooper tried to download a book with her phone, the QR code would not scan. She decided to come back another day to borrow an e-book from the library.
This is a common problem with the QR codes. To combat these technical difficulties, the Free Library is stationing troubleshooters at Suburban on Tuesday afternoons this month.