Locations—where we’ve been
(To see where we’ll go next, visit Find the Uni.)
November 2012: Red Hook, Brooklyn.
The Uni went to Coffey Park in Red Hook, Brooklyn, to serve a waterfront community still struggling after Hurricane Sandy. We set up between FEMA and the food trucks, across the street from a mobile clinic. And we went in partnership with the Brooklyn Public Library—BPL staff did the advance work for our visit as part of their own efforts to serve Red Hook via their branches and bookmobiles. The hero of the day was Robert Berkman, a math educator who created a street math cube for the Uni—he came for the entire afternoon and dazzled us with math games. Thanks to Uni volunteer Leigh Hurwitz, Eleanor and Malcolm Davol, and some outstanding, local kids who donned librarian lanyards and helped strike the Uni in the evening. Photos here.
November 2012: Corona, Queens.
The Uni went back to Corona Plaza (4th time!) for a community storm relief event hosted by the Queens Museum of Art. We offered a place for folks to gather, read, and also donate books to those affected by the storm. Special thanks to Urban Librarians Unite for working on donations. Also thanks to José Serrano at QMA, Uni Volunteers Anna Robinson and Ken Gordon, installer Nelson DeJesus, and Eleanor and Malcolm Davol. Photos here.
October 2012: Corona, Queens.
We returned to Corona in October to keep putting books and learning at street level. This was a return visit for the Uni, and it helped continue the discussion about the future of this newly pedestrianized plaza right under the 7 train. We had to cut things short due to rain—thanks for coming out in the morning. Thanks to Uni Volunteer Librarian Leigh Hurwitz, the Queens Museum, and Alex Garcia. Special thanks to Eleanor and Malcolm Davol. Photos here.
September 2012: Hunters Point, Long Island City.
On Sept. 22 the Uni partnered with the Queens Library and a local Friends group announce a new library branch coming to Hunters Point, Long Island City. Hunters Point is an emerging neighborhood eager for places to gather around books and learning. We set up the Uni at Gantry State Park (Center Boulevard and 48th Avenue) right near the site of a future library branch that will have a view of the UN across the river. Thank you to Uni Volunteer Librarians Meghan Dowell, Leigh Hurwitz, Kelleen Maluski, and Gabriella Radujko.Thanks to Camille Barrett, Community Relations Manager of Queens Library, and all of the members of the Friends of the Hunters Point Library. It was great to see City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, who dropped in as well. Special thanks to Malcolm Davol, Eleanor Davol, and Uni Installer Nelson DeJesus. See photos here.
August 2012: Corona, Queens.
Back in July, we squeezed a reading room onto a narrow strip of sidewalk alongside traffic and parked trucks at Corona Plaza. Here’s a guest post we wrote for the Queens Museum blog about the Plaza. In August, we returned as part of a community event coordinated by the Queens Museum. This time, we had room to spread our wings because the pedestrianization of the plaza was underway, and we joined other groups led by the Queens Museum of Art and the Queens Economic Development Council. Corona is a great place to show what can be done with books and learning once cars are removed from the picture. Thank you to Uni Librarians Stephanie Yee and Anna Robinson, and installer Nelson DeJesus. Thank you to our hosts, especially José Serrano at the Queens Museum. Photos here.
August 2012: Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
The Uni came out on August 5th in Williamsburg on the dead end of Cook Street between Graham Ave and Humbolt Street. Our host was the Graham Avenue Business Improvement District, which is working to foster a farmers’ market and “play street” for local residents on the closed off street. Thank you Uni volunteers: Leigh Hurwitz, Kelleen Maluski, Meghan Dowell, Anna Robinson, Marilyn Kahn. Thank you installers: Evan Bender and Nelson DeJesus. Photos here.
July 2012: Corona, Queens.
The Uni went to Corona on July 29 and transformed a part of Corona Plaza near the 7 train’s 103rd St station into a reading room all day. We were invited here by the Queens Museum of Art to support the New York City Department of Transportation and other local organizations in transforming the area into a vibrant open space for residents as part of NYC DOT’s Plaza Program. Thank you to today’s special partners: Queens Library and the Louis Armstrong House Museum. Thank you Uni volunteers: Allie Janvey, Meghan Dowell, Stephanie Yee, and Christine O’Heron. Thank you installers: Evan Bender and Nelson DeJesus. Photos here.
July 2012: East New York, Brooklyn.
The Uni went to market on Saturday, Jul 28 on Schenck Avenue between New Lots and Livonia Avenues. Our host was East New York Farms!, a project of United Community Centers which hosts a twice-weekly farmers’ market from Jun – Nov. Thank you Uni volunteer: Kelleen Maluski. Thank you installers: Evan Bender and Nelson DeJesus. Photos here.
June 2012: Waterfront at Boston Children’s Museum.
The newly-fabricated, second Uni was tested in public space on the Boston Waterfront before being shipped to Almaty Kazakhstan to create a roving library there. Photos here of the Uni with lighted cubes in front of the museum. Shortly after, it was packed up and shipped abroad to become the second ever Uni in operation in a collaboration between the US Consulate in Almaty and the Children’s Library of Almaty.
April 2012: Lower East Side, with Jumpstart.
The Uni came out on Saturday, April 28 at Sara D. Roosevelt Park on the Lower East Side in New York City. We were there as part of a kid-oriented “Read-A- Palooza” festival sponsored by the early education and literacy organization, Jumpstart. Lots of books to read and fun activities. Thanks Jumpstart! More photos here.
December 2011: Biblioball 2011!
The Uni went out on the town on Saturday, Dec. 3. Learn more about Biblioball here. This year’s event benefited Literacy for Incarcerated Teens. Librarians who brought a book for public space and donated it to the Uni received a complimentary raffle ticket.
On Sunday, the Brooklyn Public Library and The Uni Project joined together to create a children’s reading room on Borough Hall Plaza at the 2011 Brooklyn Book Festival. The Uni took on a new form, or forms actually. The Brooklyn Public Library added BPL books which could be browsed on-site and even checked out by BPL patrons.
The Uni was put into service for the first time on Sunday, Sep. 11 at the New Amsterdam Market on the East River in Lower Manhattan. Read more about our decision to launch a reading room at this location.
Here are examples of what we offered in the Uni when we launched on Sept. 11, 2011:
- a selection of children’s picture books,
- curated book cubes from 826NYC, New York Bound Books, Furnace Press, and others.
- a set of book cubes selected specifically for the location, focusing on themes suggested by Market founder Robert LaValva and others: urban waterfronts, markets, Lower Manhattan history, small business, and urban living.
YOKO ONO WISH TREE
Yoko Ono’s WISH TREE project began in 1981 and was inspired by her childhood memory of going to a temple in Japan where the trees were filled with people’s wishes written on pieces of paper and knotted around tree branches. The specific tree that appeared in the Uni on Sep. 11, 2011, was originally used for Ono’s retrospective exhibition at the MIT List Visual Arts Center in 2001. Visitors were invited to write a wish and attach it to the tree.
Artist and educator Deb Putnoi created an interactive exhibit called The Drawing Lab, which was installed across four Uni cubes. The exhibit provided an opportunity to draw, and it featured a working Zoetrope where visitors created their own hand-powered animation.
I AM A CAMERA—Flash Fiction Cube
A Uni activity cube created by Jared Green. Flash fiction is a very short story, usually no more than 1,000 words, that captures a little piece of life “in a flash.” Flash fiction can be funny, serious, sad, exciting, or anything else you want—but it has to be short. Visitors were invited to pick up a clipboard, walk around the market, and write.
DONATE A BOOK FOR PUBLIC SPACE
There was no ribbon cutting or ceremony to mark the launch of the Uni. Instead, we invited people to drop by the market and donate a favorite book for public space, which Uni Librarians shelved right then and there.
Thanks for joining us on the waterfront that Sunday.