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SEPTA customers know that a good book and a great cup of coffee make their commute even better. Thanks to a partnership with SEPTA, the Free Library of Philadelphia and Dunkin’ Donuts, throughout the month of April passengers will only have to make one stop to “enrich their ride”: SEPTA’s Suburban Station.
On April 2, what is believed to be the nation’s first virtual library at a train station was unveiled on 76 advertising boards on Suburban Station’s platforms. The “library” — which is sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts —features books and podcasts available for download from the Free Library.
SEPTA riders can access the books and podcasts by scanning QR codes or logging on to the Free Library’s website. The virtual library at Suburban Station coincides with National Library Week, held April 14-20, 2013. “We are excited to create awareness for the Free Library’s digital collection by offering easy access to our customers via the virtual library,” said SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey. “The train or bus, especially on longer trips, can provide the perfect setting for sitting down with a book for an extended period of time. And the digital library allows commuters to access a great number of books on the go.”
The virtual library at Suburban Station is just a small sample of the Free Library’s complete digital collection.
“We are proud to partner with SEPTA and Dunkin’ Donuts to bring the virtual library to Suburban Station,” said Siobhan A. Reardon, President and Director of the Free Library. “The Free Library’s vast digital resources include access to more than 80,000 ebooks, 8,000 audiobooks and 1,000 author podcasts. We are committed to making as many of our incredible resources available online at freelibrary.org as possible, so that our customers can access great materials wherever they are—including on their daily commutes!”
The virtual library will also include a QR code for commuters to download the Dunkin’ Donuts app for mobile payments and local offers.
In addition to the virtual library at Suburban Station, SEPTA and its partners will recognize National Library Week and the perfect combination of reading while commuting by sponsoring the “What are you reading?” contest. Through April 16, the public can submit the titles of the books they are currently enjoying to SEPTA’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/septaphilly) and the @SEPTA_Social Twitter feed using #enrichyourride. Three entries will be selected at random to win one of the following prizes:
• Grand Prize: A monthly SEPTA pass, Dunkin’ Donuts gift pack and a book and two front row passes to “Obsessed: America’s Food Addiction—and My Own”, a conversation with Mika Brzezinski and featuring Joe Scarborough, at the Parkway Central Library on May 7 at 7:30 p.m.
• Prize #1: Two front row passes to “How to Be Black”, a conversation with Baratunde Thurston, at the Parkway Central Library on April 18 at 7:30 p.m.
• Prize #2: Two front row passes to “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail”, a conversation with Cheryl Strayed, at the Parkway Central Library on April 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Winners will be notified on Tuesday, April 16. The “What are you reading?” contest is designed to start a social media “conversation” about what titles are trending with SEPTA customers and to recommend selections for riders who are looking for new books.
The public will be also able to explore the Free Library’s full digital offerings on April 16 when the Techmobile — a “hot spot on wheels”—is stationed outside of SEPTA’s City headquarters at 1234 Market Street from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Library staff will help the public register for library cards, download digital materials and learn more about the Free Library’s online offerings.
For more information about the virtual library at Suburban Station, National Libraries Week and the Free Library, visit www.freelibrary.org. For more information about the “What are you reading?” contest and SEPTA, visit www.septa.org.