The Library Underground

| May 4, 2012

When you ride the subway, do you peer at your fellow passengers’ paperbacks, trying to figure out what they’re reading?  You too?  Then you’ll love this fabulous Tumblr blog called The Underground New York Public Library, which houses a wide collection of photographs of subway riders reading paperback books. The “librarian” of the project, Ourit Ben-Haim, rides the subway and takes photos of passengers reading books, then posts the photos along with the title of the book.  It’s a fascinating project, and such a simple concept.

How does she capture the photo without people noticing?  Unclear, but people must be quite absorbed in their books!  She shoots with a Canon 5D Mark II which, in case you were wondering, is a pretty large camera.

You’re probably also wondering if any Teachers College Librarians have been caught reading on the subway.  After all, we’re quite voracious readers.  And the answer is… not yet, though our Circulation Librarian, Michelle, was caught reading her cell phone next to a woman reading Lolita.  (As part of the project, Ben-Haim also displays a link to buy the book.  I would suggest, instead, checking the book out from the library for free!  The call number for Lolita, for instance, is PS3527.A15 L6 1991, and it’s available at both Butler and Barnard.)