Last week, Mr. Smithereens and I were in Madrid. We had plenty of time to read (thanks to a French air traffic controllers strike, and due to the fact that Baby Smithereens had not joined us), and we were delighted to see a local bookish innovation: a library inside a metro station!
Apparently you just need to show some ID to be able to borrow from a wide catalogue of books (in Spanish, of course) in any of the dozen so-called “Bibliometro”, installed in little booths within the station, on the concourse, just a few steps away from the platform itself. It helps that the network is wonderfully clean and welcoming. The first library opened in 2005 and they installed 12 in total. How lucky Madrid people are!
I didn’t exactly see people queue up in front of the libraries, but I saw a lot of people reading in the trains, and many ads promote books and reading in general. For example, inside many cars there were boards presenting the first page of a book, so as to entice people to read further. Too bad I can’t read any Spanish! I wish Paris metro would initiate the same idea, but first they would have to clean it up!