13/12/2011 05:44 GMT | Updated 12/02/2012 05:12 GMT

Boris Johnson Supports London Underground Book Lending Scheme

London major Boris Johnson has given his blessing to a proposal to set up a book sharing scheme across the capitals tube and train network - providing it "doesn't cost the taxpayer a penny", the Guardian reports.

The idea belongs to Chris Gilson, a researcher at the London School of Economics who won Ideas4Mayor, a recent initiative that encouraged Londoners to tweet ideas for how mayoral candidates can improve life in London. Gilson has already piloted his scheme at his local station West Ealing and wants to see it rolled out across London's 700 other stations in time for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Speaking at a London policy conference Johnson said: "I think it's a very good idea and would say something powerful about the kind of city we are and our commitment to literacy, which obviously we are trying to demonstrate in lots of ways particularly with young people.

"All I can say that provided it doesn't cost a penny to the taxpayer... then we would be only too thrilled to take it up. I will see what we can do."

However Johnson, who is the chair of Transport for London, admitted it might be "difficult" to get Tfl on board.

West Ealing isn't the first example of a London tube station trying to inject a little culture into the morning commute. Clapham North station uses its whiteboard to publish an inspiring 'thought for the day' while Tim Pinn, a tube assistant, became the subject of his own Facebook page after his cartoon drawings and historical facts delighted travellers passing through Warwick Avenue. At Caledonian Road, assistant Kim Kalan's whiteboard artwork even inspired a local to write a song about her.