Wednesday, September 8, 2010

International Literacy Day: Reading al fresco

September 8. International Literacy Day--a good day to mention a creative way to remind people of all ages of the fun of reading.

Here in Iowa this week the weather makes me want to set up tables on our porch and invite neighbors and dog-walkers, kids and mail carriers to stop and read for a bit. Reading outside on mild September day sounds just about perfect.

This reading al fresco notion is not new with me. On a recent trip to New York City we happened to be in Bryant Park, which abuts the main branch of the New York Public Library. In the park, next to the Library, is the Bryant Park Reading Room--outdoors! And there were plenty of people reading. If I lived near Bryant Park, I'd make a habit of the outdoor reading room. The September air had just enough breeze to be comfortable. The sounds were park sounds, laughing, playing, chatting. Reading outdoors in the park I would be "alone" with my book but accompanied by a summer soundtrack.

What would it take for my hometown library--or any library--to set up an outdoor reading room? a couple of awnings, a couple of book carts, a few tables and chairs, and a volunteer to keep track of the books.

I'd like to know if other libraries have tried this and how it has worked. It seems so user friendly-- a great way to remind people that reading is fun--every day.

1 comment:

  1. My magnificent Monterey Library has an outdoor reading room! Tables, chairs, quiet space for reading, writing, being. It was one of the things that helped us choose Monterey when we were house shopping.

    Today it is raining, so I sat by my window and luxuriated in reading Chiru cover to cover, copyright to acknowledgements. It is absolutely stunning. Poetic and gripping. I love this book!