Pop-ups–boutique, market or museum have entered the psyche of hip New Yorkers, but if you are really lucky, you will have experienced the pop-up library known as the Uni Project.
Part-library, part-performance space, the Uni Project, a portable library kiosk with curated cubes, popped up on a stretch of waterfront at the Gantry State Park in Long Island City, Queens on the first day of fall. The blustery weather wrestled with the portable bookshelves and seats, but passersby, especially the short, cute variety with parents hovering close by, intuitively browsed, read and celebrated books, played games and explored portable worm bins for indoor composting.
The objective of Leslie and Sam Davol’s non-profit initiative is to unite a community through reading and learning. By partnering with the Queen’s Library and the Friends of the Hunters Point Library on the locale which will be the dedication site for the new library branch on October 5, 2012, they gave the emerging neighborhood in Hunters Point, directly across from the United Nations on the East River, a taste of the future library branch.
Writer David St.-Lascaux shares, “When I was a child, bookmobiles brought the wonder of books – which are, after all, doors to learning about everything, the telling of our stories, and the magic of imagination – to my neighborhood. Now the Uni Project promises to bring the wonder of books to children in the nurturing company of their parents and caregivers. The Uni Project is truly a kinder-garten where books are the earth in which young minds flower.”
With the help of local community leaders, their self-aware family members, and volunteer librarians, the founders of the Uni Project clearly understand that libraries are communities and about communities. Unifying communities with books is a worthwhile cause.