An invasion of bookworms continued this summer as reading advocates descended upon Bidwell Parkway Tuesday night in a public flash-mob style event.
The Buffalo Reading Invasion was launched in 2012 by Geoff Schutte, an English teacher at Tapestry Charter School as a way to promote the importance of reading and bring the community together via literature.
“The Buffalo Reading Invasion is sort of like a grassroots [event],” Schutte told WBFO. “It originally started as like a flash mob event. We do it in the summertime; we choose a public space around Buffalo – of which we have plenty. We set a time, and then people just sort of show up; everyone brings a book.”
The unique event aims to celebrate the region's culture of reading.
“One of the things we work on here at Tapestry High School is to get kids to find joy in reading independently and appreciation of it. We set up time here at school where kids read quietly every day, and it seemed like something that would be easily transferrable to the community.”
The invasion is held monthly throughout summer on different weekdays. Turnout depends on the weather and venue. Hoyt Lake, Larkinville, the Outer Harbor and public gardens and parks have hosted past reading invasions.
Those who attend are encouraged to bring blankets or chairs. Many use the event as an opportunity to have a picnic. Once the hour-long reading session ends, bookworms are urged to become social butterflies and meet other reading advocates.
The event creates an opportunity for people to take time out of their busy lives to read and enjoy Buffalo’s many beautiful public spaces.
“As someone who’s really busy – I know a lot of us, I’ve talked to a lot of friends the same way – that just having time set aside to read quietly is something that’s harder and harder to do in our busy world,” Schutte said. “It felt nice to designate a time, even though it’s not that much, to just be able to come together and do that.”
Schutte hopes the visibility of the reading invasions will encourage people to pick up a book and enjoy the act of reading, regardless of the venue.
Reading advocates can keep track of upcoming events at buffaloreadinginvasion.com, on Twitter @ReadingInvasion and on Facebook at Facebook.com/BuffaloReadingInvasion.