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Stockholm stations to get library book dispensers

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16:20 CET+01:00
Stockholm commuters are amply provided with reading material for their daily journeys on the city's underground system. But the thriving free morning papers that dominate train carriages, with or without readers, are about to face some unexpected competition - from library books.

The City Library has unveiled a plan to put automatic book dispensers on station platforms, starting with test machines at Liljeholmen, T-Centralen and Gullmarsplan.

"We want to expand interest both in reading and in literature in general, said the vice-librarian at the City Library, Martin Hafström, to Svenska Dagbladet.

He told the paper that the idea is to reach out to people who wouldn't otherwise be reading books.

"I think that this is an interesting experiment, since Stockholm has the country's biggest public transport network," said Hafström.

The idea is that residents will be able to stick their library card into the 'bookomatic' and choose from up to 700 titles.

It was inspired by a similar machine in Lidingö library, which, since its launch a year ago, has been happily loaning out around 500 books a month.

Expanding the project to the underground network is expected to cost 3.1 million kronor. The trial will last for six months and if it is a success, machines will be targeted on stations serving low income populations.

"We know that reading follows class patterns," said Social Democrat politician Roger Mogert to SvD.

"As a culture politician I would happily see book machines becoming as commonplace as candy machines," he added.

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