Reading Circle


The Reading Circle program expanded this year with the installation of a third free library aka book box in Marcus Garvey Park. Artist Susan Stair designed the new book box creating tile mosaics depicting the Fire WatchtowerDrum Circle, Public Art Installation InHarlem by artist Simone Leigh and the children’s playground. We also refurbished the two book boxes installed back in 2014. Collaborating with community residents, Urban Innovations and the AHRC Fisher Center we have distributed approximately 8500 books to children and 500 books to adults. The Little Free Library program is sponsored by Partnerships for Parks and the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance. Special thanks to Paul McIntosh for leading the reading circle events that keep children interested in reading throughout the summer months. We also want to thank Ms Griggsby for supplying the blankets and bringing many of the children from nearby daycare centers.

Poets in the Park, In Celebration of the installation of the third free library in Marcus Garvey Park. Def Poetry Alum Kraal “Kayo” CharlesIyabo Ibo MandingoElisabet Velasquez were joined by next generation poets Parlay and Victoria Awogbemi. This event was sponsored by Partnerships for Parks, Carla McIntosh and the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance.


The Reading Circle

The Reading Circle is an ongoing program that encourages children to read and continue learning during the summer months when they are not in school. Guest authors and community volunteers read to the children for about 10 weeks each summer. Librarian Paul McIntosh is the foundation of the program and a favorite of the children.


The Reading Circle

Authors and Children’s Entertainers Sammy and Tudie come back every year and share some laughs and life lessons.

Little Free Libraries

The little Free Libraries are two outdoor structures installed near the playground at West 124th street between Fifth Avenue and Mount Morris Park West. They are the corner stone of the Reading Circle Program which is designed to promote literacy and early reading. One Library is for children and early readers. The other library is for young adult readers ages 8 years old and up. In July and August we distributed approximately 225 books each week to children. With help from Urban Innovations our community partner we are collecting books and maintaining the libraries daily. The stewards from Urban Innovations have been a critical component to the success of this program.

Little Girl in silhouette selecting a book from the Little Free Library

Little Girl in silhouette selecting a book from the Little Free Library

Artist Ron Islar

Ron Islar painted the library that houses books for younger children. He is a self taught Harlem artist and chose to render the historic fire watchtower on one side and the world trade center on the other side to emphasize the importance of architectural landmarks to communities.

Artist Ron Islar

Artist Ron Islar

The Fire Watchtower rendered on one side of the library with the drummers and also the nearby playground.

The Fire Watchtower rendered on one side of the library with the drummers and also the nearby playground.

Artist Andrew John Dyck

Andrew Dyck painted the second library which houses books for slightly older children 8 years old and up. Andrew is a mural artist and chose to create one of a kind characters that incorporate pages of a book into the design. You can meet Andrew in person by stopping by Artist & Craftsman Supply Harlem.

Books as wings designed by Andrew Dyck

Books as wings designed by Andrew Dyck

Book Tree

Book Tree

Coming Spring 2017 a third Little Free Library will be installed and will hold books for grown ups. Artist Susan Stair is currently designing the library.


5 Responses to Reading Circle

  1. Community Member says:

    I wish there was one of these for adult books too. I would have lots of books to donate to that one.

  2. lrifkin1 says:

    To donate a children’s book, can I just place it in the children’s library?

  3. Pingback: Barbershop Books ~ Harlem – GothamToGo

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