Uni offers library to storm-hit Red Hook, meets future librarians

The Uni spent the day in Red Hook, Brooklyn, to serve a waterfront community still struggling after the storm. 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.

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. We were also pleased to be visited by Paul Parkhill of Place in History/Furnace Press (curator and donor of a Uni cube of local history) and Red Hook resident Leslie Shipman from the National Book Foundation. 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.

First some TV (with glimpse of Uni near the end) and then our photos:

Robert Berkman dove in and helped shelve the books.

Staff chose to face-out this title, which seemed appropriate.

Robert introduced us to the “right-turn-only” maze, which was mind-bending.

This boy skinned his knee on the basketball court nearby and received medical attention in the Uni (a first).

Leslie requested and received a tour of the paramedic’s first aid backpack—we’re very into mobile things, kits, etc.

Uni Librarian Leigh Hurwitz attempts the Math Maze.

The boy who skinned his knee, turns out, was a chess master. He stayed for the rest of the afternoon. Bonus.

Looking at a remarkable pop-up book donated to the Uni by Museum of Chinese in America.

Then, things got interesting: at closing time, our patrons asked if they could become staff…

…Leslie was thrilled and gave them all lanyards.

My de-installation crew was professional-grade.

Thanks everyone! Keep on in Red Hook, and we’ll see you soon.

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The Uni Project is the operating name (DBA) of Street Lab, a 501c3 nonprofit.