NEW YORK - Libraries in Brooklyn are trying to change the cultural landscape in New York City and capture the attention of people passing by in an innovative way.
The program is called Whispering Libraries. 10 neighborhood library branches have speakers outside their buildings. Each one programmed to play speeches, oral history, poetry, and music.
László Jakab Orsós, Vice President of Arts and Culture at Brooklyn Public Library, says the in-house quartet wrote the music for the playlist.
The idea behind the program is to engage and educate the community in an innovative way.
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The original plan was to roll out the program before the pandemic and libraries were forced to close their doors. But library leaders say the pandemic ended up being the perfect time to launch it.
"People walk by and they are surprised. They look around. They look into the garden. They try to figure out where the noise and sound comes from," Orsós says. "They slow down. They wander, and they smile."
It appears to be a hit.
One man said, "I love it any way we can promote books, reading, and listening. It's amazing."
School closed and all that. It's important that kids read a lot more and listen to books more," Brooklyn resident John Cassese says.
Brooklyn Public Libraries will also have volunteer cyclists driving around the borough playing the playlists.
The goal is to expose more people to different sounds and something new that libraries have to offer. Playlists can be heard five times daily on weekdays, Monday through Friday, at the following times: 7:30 & 11 a.m.; 1, 6, and 8 p.m. Each branch library's playlist has a running time of 10 to 12 minutes.
The participating neighborhood libraries include:
- Bay Ridge
- Kings Highway
- New Utrecht
- Park Slope
- Sheepshead Bay