READ NYC, a pop-up reading room

READ NYC is a pop-up reading room that offers a curated collection of books and a place to read together in public. Designed for New Yorkers of all ages and always free, elements include:The Uni Project READ cart

  • 200+ high-quality books—picture books, art books, books about the city, and more, with special collections from museums and bookstores, curated to reflect the history, culture and languages of the city;
  • a mini book review activity, with a gallery of reviews and instant photos for people to take home;
  • The Uni Project book reviewsa custom-designed cart that stores, moves, and displays the collection (which can be closed and locked in place), and eight benches for seating;
  • staff to set up and run the program (one program staff member and one manager);
  • an option for hosts, libraries, bookstores or literary organizations to participate by adding special collections, read-alouds, and other activities.

Books have either been purchased by us or donated by individuals, publishers, and institutions. (Learn more about our collection.)

The Uni Project readersHere’s what happens: people gather and browse books on the shelves, sit down, and read, sometimes for hours. People read alone or together. Children are sometimes read-to by staff, volunteers, or other patrons. Sharing books often leads to conversations between people and the discovery of common interests. People are transformed into readers on a kind of stage, and feel good about themselves and more connected to the city. Passersby love the scene. This program has served New Yorkers since 2011.

How you can help Your support helps us take READ NYC to New York neighborhoods. Make a donation here. Or, donate books. Visit our wish list at Strand Bookstore. We love bilingual and international titles. We also accept used books in the categories above. Uni Book Donation Policy. Contact Leslie Davol.

The Uni Project reader

The Uni Project READ

The Uni Project READ

READ NYC is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Susanne Beck and Billy Parker, Daniel Handler and Lisa Brown, Leaves of Grass Fund, Sam and Esme Lee, Karen and Daniel Taylor

We're getting a "new" name... Street Lab.

The Uni Project is the work of Street Lab, a nonprofit launched in 2006 in Boston, where we created community-oriented programs for public space. In 2011, we migrated Street Lab to New York City and launched the Uni Project. The Uni began as a single, portable reading room and has since grown into a city-wide initiative offering more than 700 days of pop-up programming in 150+ public spaces across the city. In 2019, we are re-introducing our original name Street Lab to tie all this work together going forward, with much more to come.

For now, details about our programs are available here on the Uni Project web site. Soon, that content will move to Thanks for sticking with us!