Bloom | Community Library

Morgan Jourdin
Inspired by the “Little Free Library” cabinets found around communities. These cabinets invite residents to take a book from the cabinet, and replace it with one for others to read. Bloom is a larger scale version of this project, with the opportunity for community activation also present.


Pre-teens in under-resourced communities struggle with reading in school. East Harlem school districts, specifically middle schools, have been labeled some of the most under-resourced in the city. An NBC news report claims that about 70% of students fail reading in the East Harlem middle school district. This fact gives way to the statistic that 64% of the population have not been able to graduate from college.


Bloom aims to make reading fun and accessible for the youth of East Harlem. Through Bloom, the kids of East Harlem should be connected with each other and provided with educated mentors, so that their perspective on reading changes for the better.


While Bloom serves as a Little Free Library 24/7, it is also home to A Blooming Voice bookclub. The club is open to all middle schoolers in East Harlem, aiming to bridge the existing division between the public housing facilities. 


To programmatically accommodate gathering, opportunities for movable seating have been explored.




Bloom is placed just to the side of the stage in Jefferson square because of the site’s accessibility, acoustic levels, and foot traffic. Closer Johnson, kids from other houses won’t feel as intimidated to participate in A Blooming Voice, as it is not so far into Jefferson. Right outside of a school and church, this could easily become a spot for parents to wait for their kids, or for the school to interact with Bloom on a regular basis. Lastly, since this is a reading space, It should be placed as far away from the basketball courts as possible, to prevent excessive noise while users are trying to focus.




Bloom falls into the Prevention touchpoint in the Design for Restorative Justice, as it aims to change attitudes towards education and literacy for the better. 

It is more than just reading, it is providing Harlem’s next generation connection, resources, and mentorship so that through books, there is a window to a brighter future.