Unfortunately, paging through printed books is increasingly being pushed into the background these days. With the advent of tablets and e-books, the popularity of book-buying began to decline rapidly. But it’s not just the paper format that’s the problem: it’s a common phenomenon worldwide for adults to read very little and rarely in their spare time. The library of the city of Łódź, Poland, also wanted to change this, so in the summer of 2020, a 24-hour book dispenser was installed in the popular arts and leisure center of the town, the Manufaktura.
Due to the pandemic, many Polish libraries were forced to close, so during the first quarantine, a project called Szuflandia was intended to overcome the difficulties and make the institution’s book selection available at all times. The not-so-aesthetic-looking vending machines, which could easily be confused with luggage lockers, were greeted with joy and enthusiasm by the general public. Already during the opening weekend, the pioneering concept gained a lot of fans, shedding new light on the beauty of reading. Equipped with 93 compartments containing one book each, the machine is simple and easy to use with a chip card for regular library visitors. Thanks to the relentless success, with the support of the Ministry of Culture and local governments, the machines became widespread throughout the country last year and are easily accessible to people who avoid public places and may be afraid of contracting Covid: only in December in Gdańsk, the palette was expanded with four brand new units.