The Brooklyn Public Library is welcoming visitors to enjoy the bliss and safety of reading outside by installing outdoor reading rooms with seating and WiFi connectivity in twenty of their locations this spring. In the ongoing effort to maintain relationships with readers who have been unable to go inside the libraries, the new and innovative outdoor reading rooms will supply patrons with more than simply a socially distanced place to read.

Outdoor reading room by Heinrich Spillman

Patrons will find the sidewalk libraries are places to sit, relax, work, pick up a book on hold and connect to WiFi. The idea, a spokesperson from Brooklyn Public Library tells us, “is to duplicate our indoor branch space.” Some locations will also provide book carts for browsing. In addition, Brooklyn Public Library will have outdoor programming including Story Walks (panels of stories or songs and rhymes placed on fences) and more.

Woman seated in outdoor reading room at Brooklyn Public Library

At the Central Library of the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza, the outdoor reading room is particularly unique, designed by artist Heinrich Spillman. The seating is all made of wood reclaimed from landfills are saved from destruction by woodchippers, with the majority of the wood sourced from Green-Wood Cemetery. The wood comes from a variety of tree species and according to the library, are “treated by fire scorching, using the ancient Japanese technique of Shou Suji Ban, with wood sealers and/or clear varnishes or are intentionally left exposed to the decaying elements of nature.”

heinrich spillman's Outdoor reading room

Spillman’s work is entitled “Celestial Heroes Banquet” and each work is a concept for seating in a public park-like setting. “As concepts created for Celestial Heroes, the installation invites viewers to rest, spread a banquet of their own and celebrate community,” writes the library.

Brooklyn Public Library Outdoor reading room

If you happen to go to the Central Library at Grand Army Plaza, be sure to also check out the massive 50 foot entryway portico. Then take a look over your left shoulder and you will see the historic Grand Army Plaza and Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in all its glory. Keep tabs on upcoming events by checking the Brooklyn Public Library calendar.

Next check out the Top 10 Secrets of the New York Public Library’s main branch.