All aboard for books: “Traveling Readings” on the Medellín Metro
The Medellín Metro rapid transit system in Medellín, Colombia, transports passengers across a metropolitan area spanning almost 20 miles.
The Lecturas Viajeras (Traveling Readings) program now brings the library to the more than 155 million riders the Medellín Metro serves every year.
A partnership between the Biblioteca Pública Piloto, EPM Foundation, Comfama, Comfenalco Antioquia, official OverDrive Latin American reseller Talenta and the Medellín Metro, Traveling Readings provides free Wi-Fi to enable riders to connect with books. By scanning QR codes on Medellín Metro train cars and busses, riders are encouraged to download the Libby app to browse and borrow digital books from any of the participating libraries’ OverDrive collections for 15 days.
The combined digital collection of 22,000+ ebooks and audiobooks spans genres and a wide range of subject matter and includes titles for young readers and in multiple languages. Users can explore specially curated collections on topics including Columbian and Antioquian authors, Columbian history, science fiction and female travelers. And it’s all free with a library card.
“The Traveling Readings program has helped Medellín Metro riders expand their worlds through reading, as well as strengthened their relationship with the city’s library system,” Biblioteca Pública Piloto Deputy Director of Content and Heritage Carlos Arturo Montoya said.
Colorful imagery adorns Medellín Metro stations, trains and busses promoting Traveling Readings, contributing to what has been an overwhelmingly successful initiative to bring virtual libraires to the community and promote reading. Since launching in December of 2020, Traveling Readings has facilitated approximately 22,500 checkouts by 13,050 readers.
“I really like reading and being able to do it for free on my Metro trips has been very positive,” said Medellín Metro rider Camila Mejía, a university student studying psychology. “Exposing young readers like me to new authors and subjects is a great way to encourage more reading.”
For Montoya, the innovative Traveling Readings program has been crucial to growing a culture of reading in Medellín. Plans are underway to expand to the famous Metro Cable gondola system to reach even more readers.
“By expanding beyond the physical walls of the library and leveraging our city’s most popular forms of transportation, this powerful partnership has improved access to books for millions of readers,” he said.
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