Bibliotech, the digital-first public library system in Bexar county, Texas, has gotten a lot of press attention over the past few years for launching digital "branch" libraries locations such as the county courthouse, a hospital, and local bus stations.
Now library book distributor Baker & Taylor is making it easier for all libraries to follow suit.
They have a service called Pop Up Library that helps public libraries set up what are essentially digital branch libraries virtually anywhere. East Baton Rouge Parish Library, for example, just launched a pop up library at the Baton Rouge Airport, and libraries in Florida, Illinois, and New Jersey have launched pop up libraries at high schools, community centers, juvie hall, hospitals, and homeless shelters.
This video explains more about how the pop up libraries work.
Yes, you could always borrow ebooks from your public library anywhere you have public Wifi, but that would require having a compatible reading app. Baker & Taylor's new service makes it a whole lot easier.
According to reports from Louisiana, all users have to do is access the local Wifi network at a pop up library location and select “Pop Up Library”. They can both browse and read available ebooks in their device's web browser.
WAFB 9 reports that the available digital collection is updated on a monthly basis, and will reflect user interest based on frequently borrowed titles. East Baton Rouge Parish Library also plans to install a book vending machine where patrons with library cards can check out print books. to supply physical books to travelers with Library cards.
Baker & Taylor has been developing this service for over a year, and they launched it at the American Library Association’s (ALA) Midwinter Conference in Seattle in January.
The Baton Rouge pop up library is the first installation in an airport. Or at least, its's the first to use B&T's new service.
One library, Broward County PL in Florida, had previously offered a similar pop up library at their local airport as far back as 2011. Also, King County Library System in Seattle launched a digital branch at their airport in 2016.