The Underground Readers

by Intern Ginny


Have you checked out a book from The Underground New York Public Library? We haven’t either, which is probably because it’s not an actual library, but rather a beautiful blog created by Ourit Ben-Haïm. It’s got a straightforward concept: take and post photos of fellow subway riders who are reading books. For such a simple premise, the blog is surprisingly engaging and thoughtful. According to the website: 

“The Underground New York Public Library is a visual library featuring the Reading-Riders of the NYC subways. This library freely lends out a reminder that we’re all capable of traveling to great depths within ourselves and as a whole.”

In addition to posting photos and information about the books people are reading, Ourit also regularly responds to questions submitted by readers, making the blog feel very much like a community space.

It’s obvs interesting to document the persistence of physical books in an increasingly digital publishing world. However, my favorite thing about the blog is how varied the books and readers appear, and how non-judgmental the blog feels. Readers are shown with guilty-pleasure reads, best sellers, classics, and religious texts.

As the election year progresses, I am getting exhausted by the political rhetoric that aims to segregate and divide voters. Perhaps that’s why this blog feels so fresh and understated:  it’s a quiet celebration of public-transportation riders everywhere. 

Images:, Courtesy of Ourit Ben-Haïm.


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