Picture this.

Joe Bloggs walks into a local coffee shop and orders a cup of coffee. He gets out his phone or his tablet and checks to see if there is wifi. He sees a network called ‘Local Libraries’ & clicks on it. Among the files listed are ebooks , music by up and coming local bands, info about ‘Local Libraries’ – all ready to be downloaded right then and there.


What is Library Box? 

In basic terms a Library Box is a mobile wireless router connected to a flash drive (and sometimes a battery pack).

For a good introduction to the Library Box and its uses read this article by Matthew Ennis at The digital shift.

Matthew Gunby sums it up thusly: “Unlike the pirate box, the library box is primarily used for file distribution instead of file sharing.  This means that users cannot upload data onto the library box; the exchange is exclusively one way.  This means there are fewer legal implications.  If the content on the box is illegal, the distributor is at fault.

What Can Be Shared?

So what can be shared, and what is the value?  Any document that is within the public domain may be shared.  The primary value of this is that it allows for works to be shared in areas that may have limited Internet access. It also allows works to be shared that may be legal to be shared, but not easily found.  A primary focus of librarianship is increasing access, and this device absolutely works towards this goal.  Project Gutenberg for books in the public domain and LibriVox for public domain audio books provide great free starter materials for the library box.”

My experience.

I have built one library box and am about to build a second.

They are relatively inexpensive to build.

The router costs between $25-$50 (I got one at a computer swap meet a couple of weeks ago for $10)

A flash drive costs <$10.

Then it was just my time -it probably took a couple of hours and a fair bit of swearing initially.

How could we use library boxen? (yes the plural is boxen not boxes)

Nursing homes, booktalks, Click goes, coffee shops, farmer’s markets, storytimes, cart markets, any where we want to have a ‘pop up’ digital library presence.

How else could we use library boxen?