Shanghai commuters now have access to a subway lending library

The Metro Line 2 in Shanghai now has shelves of books which commuters can take, read on the subway, then return at another stop.

David Gray/Reuters
A driver in China maneuvers a subway car through a tunnel.

Shanghai commuters who love books, the public transportation system is looking out for you.

The Metro Line 2 in Shanghai now has a lending library, with shelves installed at various stations and commuters able to take a book from one shelf and drop it off at their next station when they’re finished with it. The effort was spearheaded by the Metro Line 2, the Chinese instructional website hujiang.com, and the bookstore Aizhi and began Aug. 18.

“Now you can read a real book, rather than staring at the cellphone through the metro ride," Aizhi spokesperson Zou Shuxian told the China Daily.

Riders won’t have to pay for the use of the library, but donations are appreciated.

According to the China Daily, the program has been a success, with lines cropping up at the shelves.

“Most people returned the books after reading, and many left a coin for our charity initiative,” an unnamed Aizhi staff member said.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.