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The New York Public Library To Offer an Outdoor Reading Room At Its Iconic 42nd Street Building

New York, NY  This summer, New Yorkers can visit far away, fantastic places – right from the comfort of midtown Manhattan.

The New York Public Library is opening “The Outdoor Reading Room 2015: Read Everywhere!” on the plaza of its landmark Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, giving the public an opportunity to sit, read, and relax in a literary oasis that will offer books recommended by expert librarians, author talks, a book swap, and a wall on which people can write their own summer reading recommendations.

The Outdoor Reading Room will open on June 23 and operate from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday until July 17 (weather permitting).

“Reading is the ultimate escape – the chance to get lost in a book and travel to faraway places from the comfort of your seat, stoop, or local library,” said NYPL President Tony Marx. “For 100 years, The New York Public Library has helped and encouraged the public with this journey. This summer, we’re even offering you a special outdoor space to sit and get started.”

The reading room will include colorful lounge chairs arranged on a plush “grass” carpet of soy bean based turf. Its mid-century modern design was inspired by the iconic 1970 Slim Aarons photograph Poolside Gossip, which epitomized the chic poolside social scene of the times. Featured in the photo is a period-appropriate  DoubleDecker umbrella, the same style that will grace the outdoor reading room. Custom-crafted expressly for the Reading Room and donated by California-based Santa Barbara Designs, the shape of the canopy valance on the four donated umbrellas matches the design of the dental moldings on the Library’s exterior (discover more fine design at the Santa Barbara website at sbumbrella.com).

Additionally, the famous Library lions Patience and Fortitude will join in the fun, holding books in their paws throughout the Outdoor Reading Room event to remind the public to read all summer. The books they will be holding are about 20 pounds and more than two feet tall.

In addition to beautiful décor, the Outdoor Reading Room will include:

Books to read on-site, recommended by NYPL librarians.

  • A “book swap” – leave a book for others, take a book home.
  • A magnetic reading recommendations wall on which people can post their own summer reading recommendations.
  • Reproductions of photos from the Library’s collections showing outdoor reading areas at NYPL locations over the last 100 years, including historic images of “book mobiles,” rooftop reading areas, and an outdoor reading room at the 42nd Street building that opened in the 1930s.
  • A rotation of five of New York City’s most innovative food truck vendors. Bryant Park Corporation is working with the Library on the summer reading initiative by launching “Food Trucks on Fifth,” a program to bring one truck to the 40th Street side of the Library plaza each day. Participants will be Phil’s Steaks, Souvlaki GR, Kimchi Taco, Red Hook Lobster Pound, and Neapolitan Express.

A series of free author talks and other programs. The schedule is below:

  • Friday, June 26 from 6 to 7 pm: Open Book Night (when the public can come and discuss their recommended reads with NYPL librarians)
  • Wednesday, July 1 from 6 to 6:30 pm: Author Lauren Acampora with NYPL Associate Director for Public Programs and Events Jessica Strand
  • Wednesday, July 8 from 12 to 1 pm: StoryCorps Listening Event
  • Wednesday, July 8 from 6 to 6:30 pm: Author Sophie McManus with Jessica Strand
  • Friday, July 10 from 6 to 7 pm: Open Book Night
  • Saturday, July 11, from 2 to 3 pm: Live spoken word performance with artists Miles Hodges, Joshua Bennett, and Alysia Harris
  • Wednesday, July 15 from 12 to 1 pm: StoryCorps Listening Event
  • Wednesday, July 15 from 6 to 6:30 pm: Author Rebecca Dinerstein with Jessica Strand 

In addition to the actual reading room, the Library will be asking for reading recommendations online via its #ireadeverywhere social media campaign, which will also launch on June 23. The public will be asked to share a photo of themselves on Twitter or Instagram reading books that they would recommend in their favorite / interesting reading locations. The campaign will promote reading, literacy, and libraries.

For more information on “The Outdoor Reading Room 2015: Read Everywhere!”, visit nypl.org/summer.

The New York Public Library is grateful to Santa Barbara Designs for their generous donation of custom-crafted DoubleDecker ® umbrellas to NYPL’s Outdoor Reading Room 2015.

Media Contact: Angela Montefinise | [email protected]

About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at www.nypl.org. To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at nypl.org/support.  

About Bryant Park Corporation
Bryant Park Corporation (BPC) is the not-for-profit, private management company that manages and maintains Bryant Park. The ongoing mission of BPC is to create a rich and dynamic visual, cultural and intellectual outdoor experience for New Yorkers and visitors alike. BPC is privately funded, and provides sanitation and security services, seasonal horticultural installations, free educational programs and high-level entertainment for people of all ages, and much more. Located in Midtown Manhattan, Bryant Park is visited by over 6 million people each year and is one of the busiest public spaces in the world. Learn more at bryantpark.org.

About Santa Barbara Designs®
Employing the high-performance materials and refined craftsmanship required to build only the finest of yachts, all Santa Barbara umbrellas are engineered to withstand sun and surf, as well as the appraising eye of an elite clientele. Every umbrella is a unique creation, custom crafted and individually registered by the hands that made it in California. For relaxing in the water, under the shade, on the dock or deck, and gracing the world’s finest outdoor spaces since 1981, Santa Barbara Designs is proud to remain the home of the original Santa Barbara Umbrella. Be inspired. Visit www.sbumbrella.com or call toll-free (800) 919-9464.

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