Get more/give more: Volunteer at the Biblioball

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Biblioball 2013: Overdue Romance is coming to the Bell House on Saturday, December 7th and we need your help. To make this event a success, we need excited, charming volunteers, like you, before, during and after the event. If you want to work with a friend, your best bet is Front Door or Raffle Ticket Booth duty–we need two people at each of these stations.  If you don’t want to miss any of the action give Roving Raffle or Photo Booth a try.   All Biblioball volunteers will enjoy 50% off ticket admission and, of course, our undying gratitude and appreciation.  What?! That’s right, fill out the Biblioball Volunteer Form to let us know how you’d like to get involved this year and as a thank you your ticket will cost only $11.  If you have questions, feel free to contact Angie Ungaro and ask away.

The Biblioball is a great place to party, meet fellow book lovers, and win raffle prizes, but it’s also a fundraiser for two great causes. This year, we are proud to be supporting the BOOKlyn Shuttle and LIT: Literacy for Incarcerated Teens. Both of these are fantastic local charities that are helping to foster literacy and a lifelong love of learning among some of our most vulnerable community members. So make sure you head down to The Bell House this weekend and help out by dancing the night away.


Saturday, December 7, 2012

The Bell House 

149 Seventh Street, Brooklyn 

8:00 p.m. – Late

Tickets $23 advance / $30 at the door

Buy tickets:  

Share with the world! And tweet us your thoughts! #biblioball

Partying with a Purpose

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So, you’re still on the fence about whether or not to come to this year’s Biblioball on December 7 at the Bell House. Did you know that besides being a party filled with raffles, live music, and burlesque, that the Biblioball is also a literacy fundraiser extravaganza?! This year, we will be partying for two fantastic local causes – the BOOKlyn Shuttle (featured in last week’s post) and LIT Literacy for Incarcerated Teens.


Founded in 2002, by NYC teacher Rebecca Howlett, LIT is a nonprofit dedicated to providing young people access to books and programming that increase their literacy skills and foster a love of reading. For the detained and incarcerated youth of New York City, these are simple needs that not being met.  Each year, the NYC Department of Juvenile Justice receives over 7,000 children between 8 and 16, 96% of whom read two or more years below grade level. LIT recognizes the importance that reading and literacy serve as a way for young people to focus their identities and outlooks positively. “LIT makes it possible for school libraries serving New York’s detained and incarcerated youth to acquire new books and other library media at a rate three times greater than that of school library allocations received from State and City funding.”

In all of their libraries, LIT works with city and state agencies to:

  • Order and maintain curriculum-approved books and reading materials for young adult readers from the ages of 8 to 17.
  • Coordinate author visits and accompanying peer-directed book discussions. Recent visiting authors include Walter Dean Meyers, Tonya Bolden, Coe Booth, and Torrey Maldonado. The young people receive personal copies of the author’s books.
  • Provide literacy programming relevant to young people’s reading level, with the aim of improving literacy and encouraging enthusiasm for reading in young people.

For over 10 years, LIT has worked to make a difference in the lives of some of NYC’s most vulnerable young people. Here are just a few of their accomplishments:

  • Introduced the critically acclaimed Artists and Authors series, in which established and upcoming professionals visit the libraries to discuss their work and interact in informal settings with the students.
  • Coordinated the visits of authors and artists and the accompanying peer-directed discussions, and purchased individual copies of each author’s book for distribution to the children. In the 2010-2011 program year 17 authors visited and interacted with over 300 students.
  • Ordered new books and maintain stock levels of curriculum-approved and other reading materials for children and young adult readers.
  • Provided shelves, audio-visual equipment and other resources to create modern, user-oriented libraries.
  • Provided literary programming appropriate to the varied reading levels of the youth to develop and sustain enthusiasm for reading.

So come to the Biblioball and support the inspiring work of this fantastic community based organization. Learn more about what LIT is doing by following them @LIT4Teens, checking out their newsfeed, and of course, coming to the Biblioball!



Another Reason to Dance at the Biblioball

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There are plenty of reasons to attend this year’s Biblioball on December 7 – dancing, the fancy pants raffle, burlesque, happy hour,and did I mention dancing? If that’s not enough to get you off your feet and scrambling to find your most literary party outfit, maybe one of the fantastic charities that the Biblioball is supporting this year will. As you know, the Desk Set is committed to promoting literacy and this year’s Biblioball will benefit LIT: Literacy for Incarcerated Teens (more about them next week!) and the Booklyn Shuttle, which I have been volunteering with since January 2012.

Who We Are
The BOOKlyn Shuttle will be a community book bus that will serve the North Brooklyn community. Through this project, we are looking to inspire, stimulate, and improve literacy among North Brooklyn’s youth. We aim to cultivate a vibrant community of active learners who share a lifelong love of reading, introducing new and exploratory pathways towards success and opportunity.
This BOOKlyn Shuttle is a project of St Nicks Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to the revitalization of North Brooklyn. For the past 38 years, SNA has helped meet the needs of low and middle income families . They have developed and preserved affordable housing, provide health care and elder care, workforce and economic development, youth services, and arts classes. read more…
 photo (9)

Why the Project is Needed
According to the Citizens’ Committee for Children (CCC) of New York, Community District 1 of Brooklyn (i.e. Greenpoint/Williamsburg) has the highest child poverty rate out of all 59 New York City districts, with 55% of the children in our neighborhood living below the poverty line. New York City’s overall child poverty rate is 30%, by comparison. read more…

Whether rich or poor, residents of the United States or China, illiterate or college graduates, parents who have books in the home increase the level of education their children will attain, according to a 20-year study led by Mariah Evans, University of Nevada, Reno associate professor of sociology and resource economics. read more..

What we are Doing:

We are currently working to raise $100,000 to launch this project in the spring/summer of 2014. We have had local fundraisers, benefits, and are working to raise awareness in the community.

What We Hope to Achieve:
We will provide books to the children of North Brooklyn while helping to foster a lifelong love of reading and learning. With the help of librarians and reading coaches, we have plans to include a variety of programming and parent outreach. With the design of the bus, we hope to have story times, crafts, readers advisory, literacy tips for parents, and more.

For more information and to see how you can get involved, you can see my previous blog post about this project. So get you, your friends, your neighbor, your ex-boyfriend, and the mailman to buy tickets and support the BOOKlyn Shuttle. If you’re interested in making an additional donation, you can visit the BOOKlyn Shuttle page on the St Nicks website.

See you on December 7th!

UniRead Rocked, More to Come

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The UniRead this past Saturday was an incredible, vibrant, and unique event. The weather was gorgeous, the sky was blue, the sun was shining, it was an utterly marvelous day for a library protest. The event hinged on this idea of having multiple readers recite the same text translated into different languages simultaneously. We chose the first chapter of the first Harry Potter as the text as there are so many great translations available and there is a built in audience/fan base both in the library world and in the wider public. The Unisphere is a great backdrop and it could not have been a more Queens event.

Getting the texts was a task in itself and we were fortunate in our contacts there. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone has been translated into over 80 languages. While you would think that the libraries of New York City would offer these up in the blink of an eye we only found about ten languages available on the shelves in circulation. Our good friends the dauntless workers of ILL were able to come up with another half a dozen or so as well. In the midst of the prep we came across a reference to a professor of Russian at the University of Calgary, Nicholas Žekulin who had a complete set. On an outside chance we reached out to him and he leaped to help. He has been an utter delight to work with, furiously scanning languages to match readers for us turning text around overnight. Thank you Professor Žekulin!

On the day we had readers in: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Irish, Italian, Korean, Lithuanian, Russian, Spanish, and Thai. The readers started off together and it was an incredible babel brought to life. It was just a jumble of language, a tumble of tone and inflection. You would hear the words Dursley, or Dumbledore, pop up occasionally but mostly it was just a wonderful welter of linguistics.

This event also marked the first appearance of Bonnie the Bookworm and her nemeses the Budget Birds. Bonnie is a hard working library professional just trying to do her job, help people, and hang out with her boyfriend Carl the Caterpiller (he’s in a band…so hot). Those Budget Birds keep pecking at her, messing with her storytimes, keeping the books away, and generally stressing her out. Bonnie doesn’t want to get a pink slip and neither do you!

This was the first stunt of the season but there are others in the works, big ones, fun ones. We would love to have you come out and join us. Our events are fun, lively, literary activism. We would love to see you there.

Libraries have taken a serious hit in the budget, let’s not forget that. There is a feeling in the air that “the money will be restored”. While we should all hope for the best at all times this is no reason to be complacent. We got cuts restored for the last two years due to a lot of hard work by a lot of people. If we don’t get out there and fight for our slice of the budget pie you can bet that someone else will be trying to take it right off our plate.

Don’t let the Budget Birds peck poor Bonnie. Please join us, get a postcard in, get lots of postcards in, come out, get active.

The third 24 Hour Read In to protest budget cuts will be held on June 9th & 10th from 4PM to 4PM at the Brooklyn Public Library Central Library in Grand Army Plaza. Please join us there.

To volunteer please contact, or

BINGO for a Great Cause

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Greetings from the Bibliobeat, here today with news from our friends at Books Through Bars:

Books Through Bars Annual Bingo Fundraiser (!!!)

Join Books Through Bars NYC for our annual Bingo Fundraiser.

WHEN: Saturday Jan. 28th. Doors open @ 7pm

WHERE: The Brecht Forum — 451 West Street (that’s the West Side Highway) between Bank & Bethune Streets


Prizes include gift certificates and treats from: Angelika Cinema, Anthology film archives, Babycakes, Book Thug Nation, Bluestockings, Criterion Films, Earth First Journal!, the IFC Center, the Feminist Press, the New Press, and many more!

Free entry; $1 per card to play. Beverages will be available. ALL PROCEEDS used to buy postage to send free books to prisoners.

The Brecht Forum is accessible by A, C, E, 1, 2, 3 trains.

Books B Q Three (third time’s a charm)


You could win your own garden gnome, we think he has kind eyes

Come one come all to the Books B Q Three October 2nd from 4 to 7:30. Ten bucks gets you a plate of food and a chance to help protect libraries in New York City. We’ve tried to do this twice and got sheeting thunderstorms the first time around and a goldurn hurricane the second. This time though we are confident that we will be graced with lovely autumnal weather for a great late season BBQ. Come out and enjoy pleasant company and some of the last outdoor eating of the season, all for a good cause.

Our cause is Urban Librarians Unite and the Save NYC Libraries Campaign that they put on. These are the people who do the 24 hour read in at BPL and who hugged the Schwarzman. They are looking to ramp up their efforts and keep that pressure on for libraries in the city. They were part of a huge win back last year and they are not letting up. They need cash to campaign though so your ten bucks will go to bigger and better rallies and protests.

Relationship therapy

We have the pleasure and privilege of having Vermont Country Store as a partner this time around and they have donated dozens of fantastic prizes for the raffle. There is all kinds of oldey timey goodness fun up for grabs and it might be your lucky day.

It is going to be a fun time for a good cause. Come join us and raise a glass, and your voice, for libraries in the city.

So many pickles

Bibliobeat May 14 / 2011

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Love Among the Stacks

Right now, at this very moment, as I write this, the steps at Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Library are full of librarians, patrons, library supporters, book shoppers, and activists.

It’s Love Your Library Day!

10AM – 3PM

BPL Central Library

Suggested Donation $5

The Repurposed Library,

a Book-Art Workshop with Lisa Occhipinti

The Repurposed Library by designer and mixed media artist Lisa Occhipinti, is a collection of DIY projects that utilize every imaginable part of a book—from hardback cover to individual pages—to create new art objects and practical items for the home. Bibliophiles, DIY enthusiasts, design aficionados, and creative dabblers will find inspiration in the book’s unique art-meets-craft aesthetic. Often using no more than a craft knife, glue, and a little ingenuity, Occhipinti demonstrates how “orphaned” books can become home décor accessories, such as wreaths and vases, as well as functional items, such as shelves, storage boxes, and clocks. This event is free, but $20 buys you a copy of Lisa’s new book, an old book to make art from, instructions and use of craft supplies. Guests of all ages are welcome. Only a love of books is required!

05/16 at 7:00 pm at Housing Works

Stories: Not Just IN Libraries, Also ABOUT Libraries

The Moth, in conjunction with LIVE at the NYPL, presents:

Reading Between the Lions: Stories of the New York Public Library
Join The Moth for a special show celebrating the Centennial of New York’s finest fueling station for the mind and soul, The New York Public Library.
at The New York Public Library
Saturday, May 21
$25 general public; $15 Library donors, seniors, and students with valid ID.
Purchase tickets online or call 1.888.71.TICKETS (1.888.718.4253).

Graphic Nonfiction

Josh Neufeld, whose A.D. New Orleans After the Deluge is a Desk Set favorite, has collaborated with Brooke Gladstone of NPR’s “ON the Media” on this new account of the world’s news media, The Influencing Machine. The book will be released on Monday, May 23rd, and you can get your copy and hear from the author and illustrator.

Monday, May 23

7:00 PM

McNally Jackson

52 Prince Street, New York, NY

Return of the Mini Zine Fest

Join Marguerite Dabaie and tons of rad zinesters at Pete’s Candy Store for the upcoming Mini Zine Fest!

Saturday, May 28th

3PM – 7PM

More info

Bibliobeat April 23 / 2011

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Well Kids, the Cruelest and/or National Poetry Month is almost over and here in Brooklyn, it sure does still feel like winter. Baseball games rained out, the cherry blossoms not completely fulfilled, the wind and the rain and the heigh ho hum. But here are a few things to do indoors while we wait for the season to catch up with our needs.

Literary Magazine Salon featuring Electric Literature and BOMB

The New York Society Library might sound like an elite and stuffy place, what with the use of the words “Society,” “Library,” and heck even “New York” in their name. But some readers’ version of the Knickerbocker Club it most certainly is not. While the collections are only available to members, the first-floor reference room and most of the events are open to the public. And, by the way, membership – which gets you entrance into one of the quietest and most lovely libraries in the city – is yours for a pretty darn reasonable price, should you be interested. But that’s not why NY Soc Lib made the beat this week.  Here’s one of the aforementioned events – open to you for $10 or $15 (depending on how far in advance you make your plans) . Hope to see you there!

The Writing Life
A Literary Magazine Salon

Join host Sally Dawidoff for a special evening of refreshments, conversation, readings, video, and more showcasing two great literary magazines:

  • Electric Literature is a year-old quarterly short-story anthology whose mission is to use new media and innovative distribution to return the short story to a place of prominence in popular culture.  Featuring readings from Nathan Englander.
  • BOMB is a quarterly magazine whose aim is to deliver the artist’s voice through the 21st century as a multi-platform brand. The magazine has been publishing conversations between artists, writers, actors, directors, musicians, and architects, as well as First Proof, the magazine’s literary supplement, for thirty years.

Thurs, April 28, 6:30 pm

The New York Society Library

53 E. 79th Street

$10 with advance registration/$15 at the door

To register, please call or email the Events office: 212-288-6900 or

RSVP on Facebook

Spring time is the right time for crafting

So here are a few of our favorite bookish places to get crafty in the next few weeks.

Crafts Night at the City Reliquary

Monday April 25th,
FREE! (But please consider making a donation!)
They say:
Join master craftstresses Anna Grant and Marissa Hiller as they usher in spring with fabulous creations of the garden-type variety. Expect flowers, felt, full color explosions, bunnies, chocolates, and enough c-u-t-e to shake a maraca at. Please do not expect maracas.
And what do you know, we might very well have Brooklyn Beer for those who decide to bestow upon us a donation.

And early next month, be there when crafts meet zines at

Handmade Crafternoon at NYPL

Hosted by Jessica Pigza and Maura Madden, Handmade Crafternoons are monthly DIY salons for adults at New York Public Library’s Schwarzman Building. Each event “connects working artists and crafters with library users through hands-on projects that draw creative inspiration from the library’s collections.” The next Handmade Crafternoon features one of our favorite zinesters, Ayun Halliday. Participants will be introduced to NYPL’s impressive zine collection and learn how to create their own mini periodicals.

This is a FREE event and there’s no advance registration required.  The seating will be first-come-first-served, and  the doors will open at 1:45pm.  There is space for a total of 96 crafters.

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Margaret Liebman Berger Forum (on the Second Floor, Room 227)

Saturday, May 7th,

2:00 to 4:00pm (doors open at 1:45pm)

Check Hand-Made at NYPL for additional details as the event nears.

and, finally, this one doesn’t depend on our bleak Northeast weather forecast at all, because it’s happening in San Francisco

Public Library: An American Commons

Photographs by Robert Dawson, April 9 – June 12, 2011

If you happen to be in the Bay area, check out this exhibit in the library about libraries. Love that.

Public Library: An American Commons is an exhibition and photographic survey of public libraries throughout the U.S. by San Francisco-based photographer Robert Dawson. There are more than 17,000 public libraries in this country. Since Dawson began the project in 1994 he has photographed hundreds of libraries in 16 states. From Alaska to Florida and from New England to California, the photographs show a vibrant, essential yet vulnerable system.

Photograph by Robert Dawson, from Public Library: An American Commons

And if you don’t happen to be in the Bay area, terrific news: celebrate our country’s libraries from your very own computer. Architectural journal Places has published an online slide show of Dawson’s photographs here. How many of these have you visited?

Exhibition on view April 9-June 12 in the Jewett Gallery at the Main Library, 100 Larkin St., San Francisco, CA.

Bibliobeat March 13 / 2011

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More than Just Green Beer

The Irish and Irish American contribution to our culture is particularly felt in the literary world. As it turns out, there are better ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s expulsion of the snakes than dressing up in green and getting your drink on at an Upper East Side douchebagary. Reading books, for example. Or better yet: passing out free (!!) books to passersby.

The Irish Arts Center celebrates Irish Book Day 2011 by distributing literature by Irish and Irish-American writers, and they need your help. Here’s what they tell us:

Irish Arts Center is in need of a few good volunteers for our first annual Book Day event on March 17th.  We’ll be sending teams of volunteers to each of the five boroughs to greet the public and distribute 10,000 free books by Irish and Irish American authors.  That’s a lot of books so we’re going to need a lot of help.

Volunteers are still needed at select locations in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx.

Essentially you’ll be an ambassador for a day, handing out books, chatting with the public and Book Day and the Irish Arts Center, as well as promoting Irish arts, culture, and literacy on the whole helping us reach New Yorkers of all ages and ethnicities.

Interested in helping out? Please call the Irish Arts Center at 212-757-3318 x 202, or e-mail Jen Browne at

Beware the Ides of March

March 15th approaches, and it has me thinking of old Julius Caesar, which makes me think of Shakespeare, and that reminds me that the Royal Shakespeare Company is coming to NYC this summer. Which is cool under any circumstances, but the fact that they’re performing at the Park Avenue Armory makes it infinitely cooler. No, of course the tickets aren’t remotely affordable. But if you’re looking to splurge on live theatre, it sure beats Spiderman.

Check it: RSC at the Armory

Follow the Debate, Be a Part of the Solution

No matter your personal opinions on digital media, if you’re buying eBooks for a library collection, you need to understand the implications for your users. The recent decision by HarperCollins to limit eBook checkouts to 26 got me following Alycia Sellie’s take on it all, which lead me to learn more about her work on The Readers Bill of Rights for Digital Books. Alycia says:

We will be presenting the Readers Bill of Rights for Digital Books on April 1st at ACRL annual in Philadelphia. We’ll be discussing all of these issues and more. Right now we’re considering actions that could be taken then, and ways that we as librarians can collectively battle oppressive restrictions upon our right to read. I hope many librarians will be able to attend!

If you’ll be in Philly for ACRL, check out the April first presentation and report back. In the meantime, share your comments.

Image released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

Next Week: Just Seeds and Books Through Bars Present:

An Art Exhibit & Benefit Auction to send books to prisoners
Saturday, March 19 7PM
At the Not An Alternative/Change You Want To See Gallery
84 Havemeyer Street, Williamsburg Brooklyn
The Desk Set loves Books Through Bars, and we hope you will support their work next Saturday.
For more information:

Stacks and Shelves and Rooms of Our Own

I like reading about libraries in journals and magazines meant for practitioners of other arts, particularly when they draw from our namesake movie for inspiration. For example James Murdock’s recent article from Architectural Record celebrating the past and future of library design.

In the past, a central aisle offered the only way to navigate through these buildings. In the future, users must be allowed to make their own paths. But rest assured, books will always be there in both paper and digital form. In a world where everything is digitized, there is knowledge to be gained from the simple, tactile act of holding a printed work.

Oh, and don’t miss the slide show.

Austrian National Library

Got something to include in the next Bibliobeat?


Bibliobeat January 28 / 2011

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Did you make some New Year’s resolutions to do more literary things? Or perhaps to support more good literacy based causes? This Deep Mid Winter edition of the Bibliobeat is here to help.

One Year Later

From the American Library Association:

January 12th, 2011 marked the one year anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Thanks to many recent donations ALA has raised $35,000!


National Library of Haiti

ALA has chosen to raise funds for three libraries: the Petit Goave Public Library, the Centre Culturel Pyepoudre Community Library, and the Bibliothèque haïtienne des Pères du Saint-Esprit, which was founded in 1873 and held resources documenting the history of Haiti, French colonization, slavery and emancipation.  Even without buildings, the staff of these libraries have been continuing to provide services, visiting displacement camps to provide story times or handing out books in front of their demolished location.

Funds raised through ALA have helped to clear and prepare land and create designs for new facilities. Thanks to all who have contributed so far.  Our Haitian colleagues are so very grateful for donations from individual members, library staff associations, friends groups, student chapters, Cub Scout Pack 77 of Ridgewood, NJ, and other library supporters.

Unfortunately, much more is needed, as the estimated cost to rebuild just the Petit Goave Public Library is $350,000. ALA encourages you to make tax deductible donations to help rebuild libraries in Haiti.

ALA suggests a variety of ways to make a donation.

Authors of Hungarian Heritage

From the American Hungarian Library and Historical Society:

The Library and the Hungarian Consulate General of New York invite you to a special literary evening with two celebrated writers of Hungarian heritage as they read from and discuss their new novels. Book signing and reception to follow.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 7 p.m.

Hungarian House
213 East 82nd Street (Between 2nd & 3rd Avenues)
New York, NY 10028

This is an English-language event, free and open to the public. (Suggested donation of $10 gratefully accepted.)

Books will be available for purchase and dedication by the authors.

RSVP at (212) 289-5488 or

Kalotay‘s Russian Winter is “An auspicious first novel, elegantly written and without a false note.”

Kirkus Review (starred)

“A magnificent tale of love, loss, betrayal and redemption. …a final riptide of revelations leaves the reader profoundly moved.”
–The Washington Post

“What begins as a jewel-box romance soon breaks open
into a harrowing saga of war. Orringer . . . conveys a
piercing sense of what it means to be fated by one’s

“Truly breathtaking… A sensual feast.”
–San Francisco Chronicle

Ten Days of Walls & Bridges

There’s something for everyone at the first of three 10-day culture festivals.

Over the course of three 10-day series, in the winter, spring and fall of 2011 in New York City, Walls and Bridges—a program curated by the Villa Gillet (director: Guy Walter) and presented by the Conseil de la Création artistique (general representative: Marin Karmitz)—will present nearly 50 cultural events, combining about 100 speakers and artists, 30 partners and over 20 venues, ranging from the New York Public Library, Joe’s Pub and the Brooklyn Flea to bookstores, universities and various galleries.

January 27 – February 4th

Read all about it.

Books, wine, and snacks for teachers

Greenlight Book Store is hosting an educator’s night on Wednesday February 2:

Open exclusively to educators (teachers, librarians, and administrators in K through 12 schools), this evening is a chance for educators to hear from publishers about wonderful new books for their students, chat with fellow educators over drinks and snacks, and hear about Greenlight’s new offerings for schools — and get 20% off for one night only!  It’s a great opportunity to enjoy the company of our book-loving community and experience professional development at the same time.

Free goodies from sales reps, a healthy 20% discount on Greenlight’s stock, and complimentary wine and snacks add to the appeal.

Deadline for RSVPs is Monday, January 31, by 5:00 PM.

Please email to RSVP.

Wednesday, February 2, 7:30 PM

Greenlight Book Store

686 Fulton Street
(at South Portland)
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 246-0200

Have a suggestion for a future Bibliobeat? Please email us at

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