Urban Librarians Unite has been coming to the rescue of book-loving residents in many of NYC’s Hurricane Sandy-hit neighborhoods. The literary Samaritans have begun installing miniature libraries outside of flooded New York Public Library branches, making access to books easier for kids and adults looking for a read. The orange kiosks may be small in size but they help restore the feeling of normalcy and community for these areas in a big way.
So far, pop-up libraries have been installed in Coney Island, Red Hook and Gerritsen Beach. Like many businesses and homes in these neighborhoods, most libraries were also flooded, their stock of books having little chance to survive the damage. Luckily, through these little repurposed plastic newspaper boxes, these communities can be reminded of the importance of reading, or at least see a few smiles as people pass them.
Urban Librarians Unite is a private organization of professional library staff in the five boroughs. Together, they’ve gotten the approval of the Brooklyn Public Library to set up these temporary mini-libraries, that will hopefully act as a free book exchange for the locals near them. Not meant to replace the library institutions that have closed due to the storm, the pop-up libraries are the ULU’s way of showing that they care, while allowing a child or adult in these areas to grab something interesting to read.