A “read-in” (or “read in") protest takes its inspiration from the 1960s civil rights “sit-in” protests. “Read-ins” are usually held to protest cuts in a library’s budget, and book are read, petitions are signed, and other activities are held. The term “read-in” was cited in print in 1961 and 1966. “More than 100 opponents of proposed cuts in library service staged a ‘read-in’ at the North Hills Branch of the Queensborough Public Library last night” was cited in the New York (NY) Times of May 3, 1969.
Annual “read-ins” since 2010 have been organized by Urban Librarians Unite and Save NYC Libraries to help restore budget cuts to New York City’s libraries.
A similar term to the “read-in” is the “readathon.”
The main branch of the Jackson Municipal Library became, on Monday, March 27, the scene of the first “sit-in” demonstration in Mississippi, when nine students from Tougaloo Southern Christian College for Negroes conducted what the Jackson Daily News called a “read-in.”
Negro Political Leadership in the South
By Everett Carll Ladd
Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press
The branch gave divided support to the city’s one major series of direct action demonstrations — the 1960 sit-ins. In addition, branch leaders have initiated direct action protests at a number of other facilities: a read-in at the public library, serve-ins at public tennis courts, and a skate-in.
3 May 1969, New York (NY) Times, “Smith Says Council May Amend City Budget to Assist Libraries”:
More than 100 opponents of proposed cuts in library service staged a “read-in” at the North Hills Branch of the Queensborough Public Library last night.
18 January 1976, New York (NY) Times, “7 LIBRARIES SHUT BY FISCAL CRISIS; Residents Protest Closing of Facilities in City”:
Some libraries that did not normally operate on Saturday closed last night, and the Columbia branch library at 53 West 114th Street was occupied by a group of about ten protesters conducting what they described as a read-in, although library had ceased.
New York (NY) Times
24-Hour Read-In Protests Cuts to Libraries
By MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM
Published: June 13, 2010
It was the literary equivalent of a filibuster, a bookworm’s take on 1960s-style protest.
A 24-hour stream of sentences and stories, spanning the canon from George Eliot to “Gossip Girl,” flowed from dozens of book-loving New Yorkers this weekend who were concerned about austere budget cuts to libraries proposed by City Hall.
Not typically ones to raise their voices, librarians staged an overnight read-in on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library on Grand Army Plaza to criticize the city’s plan to close 40 branches by month’s end, and to reduce hours and employees at those that remain.
Urban Librarians Unite
We Will Not Be Shushed Read In June 8 & 9th! Sign Up Now!
Posted on June 4, 2013 by admin
Well friends, it’s our fourth year of hosting our 24-hour Read-In on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library. Once again readers, library lovers, librarians, families, and even unsuspecting people just wandering by in front of the library are joining together to take a stand against the outrageous proposed cuts to our beloved New York City public libraries.The Read-In will take place from 4 p.m to 4 p.m., June 8th and 9th, in front of the Central Library in Grand Army Plaza.
THe Huffington Post
Founder, Urban Librarians Unite
New York Libraries 24 Hour Read In
Posted: 06/05/2013 1:54 pm
Libraries in New York City have been getting slammed with huge budget every year for ages now. Each year library supporters have pushed back with petitions, rallies, and events. Incredibly this will be fourth year for the 24 Hour Read In for New York City Libraries. It is happening this weekend, June 8th & 9th from 4PM Saturday until 4PM Sunday at the gorgeous Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza.