April’s Awesome grant goes to Mary Beth Baker and her proposal for the Capital Reading Garden. Mary Beth is a librarian here in Ottawa and along with organizing numerous events, helped found the great initiative Open Data Ottawa. The Capital Reading Garden has been in the works since the spring of 2009, when she traveled to New York City and happened upon the Reading Room at Bryant Park, an extremely successful open-air library and park that also hosts literary events.
Coming home to Ottawa from New York, she began research on different spaces in Ottawa to use as a public reading spot as part of a course on design and user behaviour. She was specifically curious about spaces that had existing multipurpose usage and wanted to encourage something awesome beyond normal playing, walking, and biking.
She will use the funds to run the pop-up reading garden for five weekends starting in May and ending in September and hopes to run the project from May 2012 until September 2015. The space will be available to visitors Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. weather permitting. Funds will also go towards furniture; stackable chairs, tables, umbrellas, and outdoor signage. We are excited to see Mary Beth’s progress on this and hope to soon partake in literary pleasures in fun outdoor spaces.