The New York Public Library Just Set Up an Outdoor Reading Room on 5th Avenue


It’s set to get hot, humid and occasionally stormy this week, as New York’s weirdest summer ever (weather-wise, anyway) continues. But it’s still summer, dammit, and that means you should be spending your leisure time at the pool, smearing an ice cream cone on your face, or buried in a book. The New York Public Library would very much like it if you’d do some of your reading with them. And so they’ve set up a glorious outdoor reading room at the main branch on 42nd Street and 5th Avenue.

The outdoor reading room, consisting of two long tables set up in the 5th Avenue plaza, will be open until August 22. It’s staffed with volunteers from 6 p.m., has free wi-fi, and even a selection of recommended books, if you decide to use your library time to read an actual book instead of scrolling through Twitter.

Outdoor reading rooms actually have a bit of an elegant history in that particular piece of midtown. Bryant Park set one up back in 1935, creating a place where people who’d lost their jobs during the Depression could go for a little camaraderie and something to do. That reading room closed in 1944, but the park still operates a smaller reading area today. Governor’s Island also offered an outdoor reading area last year.

Considering that the NYPL’s Rose Main Reading Room will be closed for six months after some plaster fell from the ceiling, the outdoor reading room comes at a nice time. The library’s asking that you take a “reading selfie,” (sigh) and hashtag it with #IReadEverywhere. Everybody’s doing it, even Lt. Bookman:

Just make sure to return your library books promptly and shield them in the event of afternoon showers. You really don’t want to make Bookman angry:

[H/T Gothamist]