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Vodafone and British Library to send Shakespeare around Globe

22 Apr 2016Digital Society
2 minute read

On the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, Vodafone and the British Library have made some of the earliest and rarest editions of Shakespeare’s plays available to all, allowing people around the world to download the Bard’s most popular works from specially-designed wallpaper featuring virtual library bookshelves.

The Shakespearean ‘Digital Library’ will make its first official appearance in London’s Trafalgar Square on 23 April, the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. The Digital Library will then be taken on a tour across the UK and will appear in public spaces and schools in multiple Vodafone markets. More than 400 rolls of the Digital Library wallpaper will also be given to schools around the world.

The Digital Library provides new, unprecedented access to free digital copies of Shakespeare’s quartos by allowing people to simply scan the QR codes printed on 400-year-old versions of plays including Romeo & Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hamlet. These original works can be downloaded for free.

The wallpaper will also provide digital links through to the British Library’s Discovering Literature website, revealing more about the world of Shakespeare and his plays, from King Lear and madness to the violence of Romeo & Juliet and the life of the Bard himself.

The initiative is a continuation of Vodafone’s commitment to using technology for good. Education and literacy programmes are a key focus for the Vodafone Foundation, Vodafone’s philanthropic arm, and other initiatives at the company are focused on helping young people and their families improve their digital skills, safety and confidence. For example, Vodafone recently launched the Be Strong Online education modules for schools, which focuses on helping young people build their digital skills, and the #BeStrong anti-cyberbullying emojis, which help people support friends who are being bullied online.

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