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Introducing the Uni, NYC’s portable reading room

Vision for The Uni (photo: Street Lab)

Street Lab, a U.S. non-profit that creates interactive programs for public spaces, has invented what could be a potential replacement for bookmobile services, which have been phased out in many communities.

The Uni is a portable open-air reading room that can be installed in any location, thanks to a series of 144 stackable shelves and waterproof covers that do double-duty as benches and tables. Volunteer librarians and educators oversee the donated book collection, which focuses on kids’ books, poetry, short-story collections, art books, and other titles that can be read and enjoyed on the spot.

Through donations received on the crowd-funding website Kickstarter, Street Lab is now operating one moving library that travels around New York City, and has shipped a second one to Almaty, Kazakhstan, in a collaboration between the U.S. Embassy and a local children’s library.