Because illiteracy is a major problem in the Windy City, the Chicago Transit Authority launched the ‘Books on the L’ program to encourage more passengers to read.
Chicago may be known for its poor education system and rife gang violence, but there’s another issue plaguing the Windy City few are aware of: illiteracy.
For a week in October, the city held Chicago Ideas Week, a seven-day celebration of innovation and local business. One of the bright ideas during this week was for Chicago Transit Authority to launch the ‘Books on the L’ programs.
During the week, city officials allowed – and encouraged – commuters to sift through some of the hundreds of books on the train cars and read while transiting.
The passengers were asked to leave the books behind once they got off at their stop so that other riders could also benefit from the words of wisdom.
“It fits in with our general mission to spread ideas,” said Chicago Ideas Week managing editor Erin Robertson. “It’s great for people to find something on the El that’s such a positive initiative. It’s a really positive way to start or end your day.”
The concept actually began in London with a program called ‘Books on the Underground’. It then made its way to New York City with a program called ‘Books on the Subway’.
So far, the project is getting an array of feedback on social media through the hashtag, #BooksontheL. And it’s not just riders who push the ideas – publisher support is a key element to the success of the project.
Perhaps other cities will hop on board and adopt similar in the future!
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