We were truly disappointed to postpone deployment of the Uni in Brooklyn and Queens today and tomorrow, and I’d like to offer an explanation.

We’re a small nonprofit, and Leslie and I do this work alongside a wonderful volunteer team that scales up when we install the Uni in public space. Our organizational model is very efficient, but it has an Achilles heel: if I end up in the hospital for a series of serious tests, then Leslie and I both need to step back from work. (Turns out, I’m fine and cleared to return to the office, but it took some hospital time to make sure of that.)

Volunteer-staffed, mobile library. The roving book cart at Mass General.

In the weeks ahead, as we move our office permanently to New York, our growing team will be able to install the Uni more independently. Until then, Leslie and I need to be present at full strength to deploy. So, thanks for your understanding. As of this morning, we’re already working to prepare next weekend’s installation in Queens.

Thanks also to the staff at Massachusetts General Hospital. While there, I met a young volunteer who played a role I understood. One morning, while waiting for yet another test, he approached my hospital bed, and asked, in polite voice that recalled a favorite Dylan Thomas character, “Would you like anything to read?”

About our “new” name… Street Lab.

Street Lab began in Boston in 2006. In 2011, we moved the organization to NYC and launched the Uni Project, which was a portable reading room that roamed the city. In 2020, we are re-introducing our original name Street Lab to tie all this work together going forward, with much more to come.