Taipei International Airport opens e-library for transit passengers

Taipei’s main airport, Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, has opened what it is calling the world’s first in-transit ‘e-library waiting lounge’. Passengers waiting for flights can browse through a selection of 400 English and Chinese-language e-books featuring a wide range of genres, as well as 2,000 regular books and dozens of newspapers and magazines. The e-library aims to give passengers a new option while waiting to board flights and is located adjacent to gate C5 in the airport’s Terminal 2, which commonly handles stopovers between North America and Southeast Asia. 

The e-books are stored on around 30 devices, a mix of iPads and other e-readers, which are loaned out on a first-come first-served basis. However, passengers can’t download the books to their own e-reader, which somewhat limits the usefulness of the service. Besides the available electronic and printed content, passengers can make use of free Wi-Fi and charge their cell phones at any of 42 the molded-plastic seats which have integrated power outlets and pullout tables. In addition, the room is equipped with GPS navigation systems for travellers interested in searching for maps of their destinations, and also features a photo station where passengers can take self-portraits and send them to family or friends by e-mail. More pictures of the e-library here and here

The 198sq m (2,131sq ft) e-library, which was proposed by Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, is a collaborative effort between the Ever Rich Duty Free Shop and the government-funded Institute for Information Industry. An Ever Rich spokesperson told DFNIonline that, “Since EverRich Duty Free is dedicated to promoting Taiwanese culture, it came up with the idea of integrating the library concept with the technology industry which is the pride of Taiwan.” As a tribute to Taiwan’s high tech pedigree, the e-Library’s facade is designed from an amalgamation of circuit boards. According to DFNIonline, a further two e-libraries have been built in the airport’s T1 north wing (area A) and south wing (area B) along with one at Kaohsiung International airport.

Digital Nomads
Taipei Airport’s e-library isn’t the first initiative that provides travellers (aka ‘Digital Nomads’) with free digital content on-the-go. During 2009, airline alliance oneworld offered travellers passing through Brussels, Milan Malpensa and Rome Fiumicino airports the option to download free audiobooks via Wi-Fi to their laptops, and smartphones. Passengers could pick from forty titles from oneworld’s ‘Travel Library’, covering fiction, business, society and travel; available in English, Dutch, French and Italian. 

In the USA, a 2010 campaign by Colorado-based FirstBank at Denver International Airport placed billboards with large QR, or quick-response, codes displayed. Passengers carrying a smartphone could take a picture of the QR codes to unlock free e-books, crosswords and sudoku puzzles. 

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, meanwhile, opened the world’s first ‘Airport Library’ in June 2010, where visitors can read books, watch short movies and listen to music. The library features several ‘reading towers’ filled with Dutch literature translated in 29 languages, a reading table equiped with iPads, and laid-back reading chairs and seats with integrated listening devices. Passengers can also download digital content to their personal devices via a download station

Related articles:
Airline alliance offers free audiobook downloads at airports (Springwise)
Ad campaigns at airports offer travellers free content by scanning large barcodes
Schiphol Airport opens new airport library to highlight Dutch culture

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