Saturday, May 18, 2013

Outdoor Reading Rooms aka ReadFi Hotspots

Looking at this map, Manhattans Community Board 4  is a library poor community.  Our community will be growing with the addition of new High Line buildings construction,  the Hudson Yards  and Manhattan West. And some of the libraries we have are already  short of space.

Adding more libraries to our community will be a very expensive proposition costing millions of dollars and even if money is made available  will take years to  get implemented .  However adding  Outdoor reading rooms to our libraries and community open spaces can be done at a very  low cost, and in a very short amount of time.

There are 5 libraries from 14th St to 110th St, 7th Ave to the River. There are over 40 parks and playgrounds in the same area.

Outdoor Reading Rooms at Libraries


- Place a bench on the sidewalk outside of a library.
The library now has an outdoor reading room, backed up by a collection of thousands of books. . However not every will realize that it has this function.
-Place a sign on it that this is now an Outdoor Reading Room 
Bench with proposed sign h to create an Outdoor Reading Room for the Muhlenberg library. Here patrons will check out material from the library to use the reading room

Proposed Sign

The bench shown in front of the Muhlenberg library was installed by the NYC Department of Transportation as part of its Citibench program.  1500 benches will be installed in NYC as part of this free street furniture program.  Any library can request a bench to be installed in front of it . This creates the potential of adding hundreds of outdoor reading rooms throughout NYC, simply by filling out  Citibench request forms.

-Add a waterproof enclosure for reading material 

 green design, eco design, sustainable design, Urban Librarians Unite, pop up libraries, Hurricane Sandy, sandy relief, Coney Island, Red Hook, Gerritsen Beach, mini libraries

Urban Librarians Unite has been coming to the rescue of book-loving residents in many of NYC’s Hurricane Sandy-hit neighborhoods.

Read more: Miniature Pop-Up Libraries Begin Appear Around Hurricane Sandy-Hit Neighborhoods | Inhabitat New York City

Option 3 Combine the two

 Lately, I've noticed reading has lost its gusto! As virtual realities and games becoming increasingly prevalent, reading and literacy must be redefined as a fun, engaging experience. An aesthetically pleasing, outdoor reading room can begin to accomplish that-. Books for the People

Jointly Operated Parks Dept/Library Outdoor Reading Rooms

-Around $200 buys a  plastic outdoors  storage cabinet, that can be used to stock books , magazines and newspapers,
-Place a  cabinets  in parks that have staff supervision, to close the cabinet at nights and when it rains.
-. Have the local library system interlibrary loan trucks  restock them with reading material once a week
-To make sure there is always new reading matter swap some material on a weekly basis . Take a basket of books from location A move to location B, the B basket goes to location C, the C to D etc.

-Allow community residents to add books and magazines too.

More Outdoor Reading Room Examples and Ideas

This is the Bryant park Outdoor Reading room. It is stocked with reading materials.

Bryant Park Outdoor Reading Room

Bryant Park acts as an outdoor reading room for the NYPL Mid Manhattan and 42nd St building. But there are also several secret  outdoor reading rooms in the area.

Woman reading at 445 5th Ave,  the Mid Manhattan's Library's Secret Outdoor Reading Room

 At 445 5th ave @39th st,  around the corner from the Mid Manhattan Library is this Secret Outdoor Reading Room (aka privately owned public space)  that could  better serve as an outdoor reading room for Mid Manhattan, if people only knew about it!

How can books be more accessible in urban neighborhoods? At a time when public libraries are underfunded and bookstores are closing, the Uni Project is hoping to help get more people reading by bringing books to the streets, literally.-link

Uni Project Outdoor reading roomUni at Corona Plaza, Queens, NY, 2012.

The Uni Project is working on a new version, that will hopefully be weather protected.

Tel Aviv Beach Offers Some Reading

The portable library at Metzitzim Beach in Tel Aviv. 
The Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality The portable library at Metzitzim Beach in Tel Aviv.
Gone to the beach and forgotten your paperback? If you’re in Tel Aviv, at least, you’re in luck. Israel’s largest city on the Mediterranean just opened its first beach library, a portable cart stocked with more than 500 books in five languages including Arabic, English, French, Hebrew and Russian.
Parked at the city’s Metzitzim Beach throughout the summer, the cart provides loaner books on an honor system, with no registration required and no fines if you keep your paperback for an  extra day in the sun. Selections range from children’s books to poetry. link


Little Free Library

  The library is free for all to use. We operate on the honor system and only ask that if you borrow a book please return the book. Or feel free to add a book to the library. We want to make sure that everyone who wants to is able to enjoy the free library.The library has no operating funds. Maintenance and upkeep of each Little Library is taken care of by volunteer library stewards. We rely on borrowers to return their books and on book donations.

 a Little Free Library adjacent to a bench.

Columbus Ohio

Be sure and check out our new outdoor reading rooms on the Tribble side of ZSR Library and on the Terrace outside the Green Room in Reynolda Hall! Take a break and read a magazine or a chapter from one of the pleasure reading novels.  link

Magazine and Newspaper racks designed for an outdoor reading room in Atlanta. The structures are mobile, visually appealing, and withstand the elements with an all aluminum construction.

New York Designer Creates the Most Polished Phone Booth Library Yet

When's the last time you used a pay phone? We're guessing it's been a while. Those fixtures of urban living are fast becoming relics and John Locke, architectural designer and "spontaneous interventionist," can upgrade any old drab phone booth into a pocket library in five minutes flat. "Is the pay phone an anochronism, or an opportunity?" asks Locke.    link

There's an eclectic collection of books for sale outdoors at  Chelsea's Revolutionary Books, and a bench is also in front of the store . Currently the books are only for sale, but anyone can sit on the bench. Adding a few words to the bench, "sit down and browse our "books for sale" would both increase sales and turn the spot into an outdoor reading room.

Add seating  and a enclosure with reading material  to a Citibike kiosk and it becomes a outdoor reading room

A tiny outdoor library in a park in Überlingen, Germany  link

The above bookcase is great but not weather proof... the one is

Pop up library on Market St.
Pop up library on Market St.

Low Cost Attended ReadFi Unit

This is a really low cost ReadFi unit. The box is $13.49 at Staples.  ($6.00 on sale)

Iris 53.65 Quart Stack-N-Pull Box, Clear with Navy Lid

Milwaukee 150 lb. Capacity Folding Hand Truck

The hand truck $30.00 at home depot

 Park Chelsea 2104 Outdoor reading room, as seen at Elliott Chelsea Houses

Phone Booth Library
In Westbury-sub-Mendip in the county of Somerset, United Kingdom, the traditional red phone booth has been recycled into one of the country’s smallest lending libraries, stocking hundred books. The villagers can use the micro-library 24 hours a day, selecting books, DVDs and CDs. The idea is simple: users leave an item (a book they’ve read, for instance) and take one item. When Westbury-sub-Mendip lost its phone booth and mobile library at the same time, a resident of the village came up with the idea to re-use the booth as a small book center. It became a big success. The council bought the phone booth from British Telecom for £1. Meanwhile, the telecom company has received “770 applications for communities to ‘adopt a kiosk’, and so far 350 boxes have been handed over to parish councils”. Classic red phone booths have been turned into art installations, a shower and even a public toilet.
 (As good an idea as this is in NYC these would ALL become public toilets)

DSC 0035 Librarian and Designer Pop Up a May Day Library on the Street
The shelving units held about 60 books at a time, Day said, but they had to be refilled several times from their stock of 200 throughout the day as visitors took books home with them. People took “everything,” said Day, but “kids’ books would have been the majority if we had had more of them.”

CPL’s BookBox: Shop the Market. Pick up books.

If you’ve been to Ohio City’s Market Square recently, you’ve probably noticed the giant box in the back.
This is none other than the Cleveland Public Library BookBox, a mini library where you can check books out or pick ones up, all while shopping at the West Side Market. The BookBox will be open on Saturdays from 9am – 1pm.

from Cool Cleveland

Woodruff Park Reading Room

The Woodruff Park Reading Room is an open-air reading room in northern portion of Woodruff Park. In partnership with the Atanta- Fulton Public Library, carts are stocked with a selection of books, periodicals and newspapers, with readings and programs at lunchtime. Movable furniture creates an intimate environment. The programming, publications, and environment of the Reading Room are available to everyone for free, without any need of cards or identification.


Read a Book, Play a Game – The Dallas Morning News sponsors the Reading & Games Room.  This outdoor “room” offers books, newspapers, and board games  to play in the park.  Check out a book or a game by simply leaving your ID.  It was such fun to “check out” Candyland with the kids and play a game or two among the big towers of downtown Dallas. - See more at:

 Read a Book, Play a Game – The Dallas Morning News sponsors the Reading & Games Room.  This outdoor “room” offers books, newspapers, and board games  to play in the park.  Check out a book or a game by simply leaving your ID.  It was such fun to “check out” Candyland with the kids and play a game or two among the big towers of downtown Dallas. - See more at:

10.  Public Bookshelves

Public Bookshelves in Germany
Photo by Windgeist/Flickr

Spread throughout Germany, these bookshelves function as free-for-all libraries financed by donation and cared for by local volunteer groups. Each shelf holds around 200 books and it takes about six weeks for a complete turnover.

7. Libraries in the Park

Bogota, Colombia

This little library in the park is one of about 47 in various neighborhoods of Bogota, Colombia. They were established by the Paradero Para Libros Para Parques (PPP), a program created to promote literacy across the country. Patrons can check books out, and each stand is staffed by a volunteer for around 12 hours a week.

functional mobile room space design for reading room

This is an indoor design, an outdoor version would keep the rain out of the books, and be open

Pickup Lockers

The Muhlenberg Library is short of seating. Building a new library for seating is expensive. Adding pickup lockers to Community Locations with seating, would turn them into extensions of the library, at a fraction of the cost of creating  a new branch.

Can't get to the Library during regular business hours? Try our after-hours pickup service!
Woman picking up book from lockerWhen you reserve materials in the library catalog, you have the option to have your items placed in a locker outside Old Worthington Library or Northwest Library for pickup after the library is closed.
All you have to do is select a locker location when you place your reserve request. (Look for "WL Northwest After Hours Pickup Locker" or "WL Old Worthington After Hours Pickup Locker" in the list of pickup locations.) When your item arrives, it will be placed in a locker and you'll be notified it is available for pickup.
When picking up your items, use the keypad to enter 9 plus the last six digits of your library card number, followed by the pound/number sign (#). Note that items are checked out to you the day they are placed in the locker.
If your reserve has already arrived and you'd like to pick it up in a locker, just call 614-807-2626 during regular business hours. Please have your library card number ready. Your materials will be placed in a locker for you to pick up outside either Old Worthington Library or Northwest Library.

Foster Elementary has Pickup Locker!

June 14, 2013
Great news! Our Library LiNK initiative continues to expand to provide access to library materials and resources in the community. Foster Elementary now has a locker and book drop located just outside their main entrance. Patrons in this community can have items sent to the secure lockers by selecting Foster as their pickup location, and return library materials in the outdoor book drop. Because they will get an e-mail with an access code to open the lockers, an e-mail address will be needed on their account.  It’s also our first 24/7 accessible location since the locker are located outside. It joins TCC Southeast Campus and YMCA South Cooper Branch locker locations.
Need library items but can’t make it to the library? Try our pick up lockers.
Call the library your local MCDL library  with your library card number ready.
Your items will be checked out on your account and placed in a locker when the library closes for the day. Enter the last 7 digits of your library card number as the code to open the locker. Retrieve your items before the library opens again. Items not picked up by the next library business day will be taken off of your card and returned to the shelves. link

In Colorado the Aurora public library, created this satellite library in a K-mart. It offers computer terminals and  item pickup/return. AuroraLibatKmart Colorado Library Opens Outpost Inside Kmart

Outdoor Reading Spots

An outdoor reading spot is any place you can comfortably read outdoors. If it has a selection of reading material it is also considered am outdoor reading room.

The Gothamist is running a contest on what is your favorite outdoor reading spot


The Death of Bookstores
In the early 1980s, before the crackle and hum of a dial-up modem invaded our living room, my dad and I went to a local bookstore most Saturday evenings  link