NHP commuters get their own library

NHP commuters get their own library

During her daily commute on the Long Island Rail Road into Manhattan every day, New Hyde Park resident Katina Grigoraskos said she noticed that very few of her fellow commuters reading books as she liked to do.

“I’m always saw people on the smart phone and other things,” Grigoraskos said. 

Then her neighbor, Carmin Terrone, told her about a bookshelf she was giving away and she had an idea: Why not set up a shelf filled with books that commuters could borrow, perhaps with several copies of the same book.

“I thought this was something that could bring the community together by reading the same books,” Grigoraskos said. 

Grigoraskos pitched the idea to Jennifer Uihlein, the LIRR branch manager, and the result was the installation a month ago of a community bookshelf in the New Hyde Park station intended to serve a lending library where people can borrow and contribute books.

Grigoraskos said Uihlein told her she had been considering the same sort of idea for several LIRR stations along the railroad’s main line. 

“We both really connected,” Grigoraskos said.

Grigraskos brought the bookshelf to the LIRR and LIRR staffers painted and decorated it and installed it in the station.

“In this day and age when we are so connected by technology, it is nice to see people connecting with one another,” Uihlein said.

Grigoraskos seeded the idea she had planted with books she owned and she’s been monitoring the progress since then. 

“I went though all of my books and donated a bunch,” she said.

She also put a pix of the bookshelf on her Facebook page and got in touch with the Hillside Library, which donated some books, mostly non-fiction, for the bookshelf. 

Terrone also donated some books along with another New Hyde Park neighbor of Grigoraskos, who had a cache of classics, including John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath”.

The impulse to encourage her fellow commuters to read came naturally to Grigoraskos, who teaches English as a second language to adults at Be Fluent NYC.

“Sometimes we focus on ourselves and our own little world. Technology is great but sometimes it’s secluding ,” she said.

She posted a note explaining the intended function of the bookshelf.  She’s also been posting pages from a “Random Acts of Kindness” calendar a neighbor gave her.

So far, she said, it seems that people are borrowing books. But she said she can’t tell yet whether anyone has contributed any books to the effort.

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