Your public library enables you to access its books by scanning its walls with a smart device it loans you whilst you’re hanging out, so that the library building itself is freed up to offer a host of other space-dependent activities…well, that’s precisely what could flow from forking the digital library introduced to a Bucharest subway station by Vodafone Romania – which is, simply stated, a flat representation of books bearing QR codes on their spines, enabling users to pull out their phone or tablet and scan the QR code to download a book of their choice.
At present, this hinges upon whether the EU Court of Justice moves to agree with the Advocate General that public libraries are free to digitise some of their own book stock. A great deal also depends upon definitions – specifically, whether digital library wall-paper can be developed to function as a ‘dedicated terminal’ – unless libraries loan appropriate devices to their users. Public libraries would also need Wi-Fi – does yours have it already? – unless they opt to make use of a LibraryBox.
Of course, the library without shelves is only liable to take-off where library users are able and willing to read books in libraries themselves – that is, unless they opt to take a print copy away with them (also, part-subject of the AG’s opinion). Is there, then, scope here for new print services to be developed, if we get the copyright and environmental dimensions sorted? Libraries as local publishers – albeit limited to facilitating private research and learning? And, what will happen when libraries without walls emerge later this year – with growing interest in the potential for near field communication (NFC) to facilitate access to your library service anytime, anywhere – in particular, when you’re on the move?
We asked @librarieshacked about the opportunity, following a discussion with @publiclibnews, and they very kindly produced a blogpost on the subject by way of a response. If this is something you’d like to take a closer look at, we’d love to hear from you!
PS thanks, as ever, to @LibraryCamp – in this instance, for flagging the EU situation!