New York Public Library initiative unites book lovers all over the globe

Readers near and far are encouraged to share what they’re reading by using #ReadersUnite.

After the divisive presidential campaign and the many other tumultous events of 2016, the New York Public Library this week unveiled a campaign that aims to bring people together through a shared love of reading.

“It’s a therapeutic way to be more open with each other around how they’re feeling and how they’re affected to help us move on,” Christopher Platt, chief branch officer of the NYPL, told Metro. “We wanted to just ask people what they’re reading.”

Readers are encouraged to share their books via social media outlets using #ReadersUnite. The response so far has been enormous, with public libraries and school libraries, book lovers, bookstores and authors sharing their books du jour.

Within the first few hours of going live with the hashtag, it was trending nationally. “We’ve had well more than 6,660 tweets, and a lot of traction on Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr,” Pratt said. “And it’s still going strong.”

The NYPL plans to feed the hashtag for the next week or two and “hopefully it’ll continue to get participation for awhile,” he said.

The NYPL system includes 88 neighborhood branches and four research centers in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island.

So what’s Christopher Platt, NYPL chief branch officer, reading right now?

I have a stack that I’m going through, but the one I’m telling everyone about right now is A.S. Byatt’s “The Children’s Book.” It’s not a new book, but it’s about artists, writers and intellectuals in late Victorian-early Edwardian Britain.

The nonfiction book I’m also reading is Alexandra Horowitz’s “Being a Dog,” it’s a fun book to learn a little bit more about how dogs operate.

What was the best book you read last year?
It’s not a new book, but I periodically pick it up and reread it. It’s by Andre Aciman and it’s called “Call Me by Your Name.” It’s a short novel about summer love, it’s really literary, really beautifully written. It’s one of those novels you can read in a couple days, and it takes you back to the summer and the beach and being young.

This story originally published on Metro.us on Jan. 8, 2017.

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