Project Details

Library corridor full with books


Portable, private digital distribution

By The LibraryBox Project

Project URL:
Project Twitter: @libraryboxen

  • Civic Empowerment
  • Social Exclusion
  • Internet
  • Physical Computing

Part of the promise of global internet is the capacity to freely share information. Much like a public library, encyclopaedias, classroom material and research papers are available to those with a connection. However, sometimes this connection is limited or difficult, especially in underdeveloped or tightly controlled countries and regimes. In this case – and for every individual looking to share data – Jason Griffey has the answer. 

LibraryBox is a small, very portable device that acts as a WiFi hub. Running off low power (suitable for solar, bicycle generators or USB), the box creates a network that anybody with a smartphone, tablet or other device can connect to. The owner of the LibraryBox plugs in a flash drive with media that they’d like to freely share, allowing everybody on the network to see and download the files. Importantly, the owner of the box retains control over the material hosted, though LibraryBox can also host a chat portal for everyone connected. 

Jason developed LibraryBox through a successful Kickstarter campaign, and has since raised prototype grants from the Knight Foundation to continue development. Version 2.1 is now out, and shares the ethos of the original model: LibraryBox is available to buy, but Jason has also made both the hardware module and the software open source – allowing anybody, anywhere to build a box with clear instructions. 

Early on in the project LibraryBox proved its value. An English teacher working in a political hotspot got in touch with Jason, telling him about using the device to share classroom information with students freely and anonymously. 

While internet access may be intermittent, the ever-growing number of smart devices with WiFi capability means that using technology to share information over local networks is immensely valuable for society. Take a look at the LibraryBox website for more.

Image 'Vanishing library' courtesy of Miguel M. Almeida.

Last updated: 27th of September, 2015

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