Beijing Subway Launches Underground Library

Scan a code, read a book.

The National Library of China and the Beijing MTR hope to bring a little culture to the frazzling subway commutes of nearly 10 million daily subway riders in China’s bustling capital. The new initiative, titled “M-Library,” allows passengers equipped with a smart device to simply scan a QR code off of a poster on the subway car in order to gain access to the virtual shelves.

Image via Beijing MTR

The collection of available books are curated by the NLC and will feature a series of 12 free titles as well as activities meant to keep readers engaged. According to PSFK, the first activity, themed “Our Characters,” “focuses on the history, inheritance and cultural meaning of 30-plus ethnic characters in China through websites and exhibitions in both the subways and National Library.”

The M-Library is not the first cultural project of its kind, and considering how maddening public transit can get around the world and how soothing a good book can be, hopefully not the last either.