Grab your reading glasses: Chicago Public Library and CTA partner to offer free content

Instead of using phone data to Facebook stalk your ex on your commute to work (don’t lie, we know you do), now there's a more intellectual use for the CTA’s 4G service. Specifically, passengers can now access Chicago-related e-books, blogs, movies and more for free.

The new program is the result of a partnership between the Chicago Public Library and the CTA, which will give transit riders access to the library’s digital content using the CTA’s wireless network. Content will include e-books by Chicago authors, blog posts written about Chicago and other city-focused content.

"Two years ago, Chicago became the first large city in North America to provide free 4G wireless access on our trains. Today, we are taking the next step by providing free Chicago-based content on-demand," Mayor Emanuel said in a statement. "This innovative program will introduce Chicagoans to a new generation of talented, creative authors and works to enhance library services for our residents.”

On the website, special emphasis will be placed on works by Chicago authors, specifically titles written by Carl Sandburg Literary 21st Century Award winners—an award that honors an early-career author with ties to Chicago. Currently the website features a guest blog by Amina Gautier, the recipient of the 2016 21st Century Award from CPL, and a Q&A with Sandra Cisneros, a Chicago-born author who wrote "The House on Mango Street."

Riders will also have the option to sign up for a library e-card on the page, which will provide additional access to audio books, e-books, music and movies through Hoopla and e-magazines through Zinio, according to the statement. 

Passengers can access the Chicago-focused media during your CTA travels now at chipublib.org/CPLonCTA. And in early 2017, the CTA and the library will launch a joint advertising campaign, which will be featured on the CTA, to promote the 4G network and help direct riders to the digital library.

Because you might as well read something of value while you’re squished between strangers during rush hour. Just saying.

@RianneCoale | rcoale@redeyechicago.com

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