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For Immediate Release:      October 19, 2018
Information:                         Joy Testa Cinquino, 716-858-7182, testaj@buffalolib.org

Library invites community to celebrate downtown’s

newest outdoor Space on Sunday, October 28

launch of Buffalo’s new reading park!

The public is invited to “Fall in Love with Buffalo’s Reading Park” on Sunday, October 28 from 12:30 to 5:00 p.m. at the downtown Central Library, 1 Lafayette Square.  This free afternoon of fall festivities, which includes family-friendly musical performances, hands-on craft activities, story times, a pumpkin patch, petting zoo, cider and donuts, poetry, and more, will launch downtown Buffalo’s newest public space on the Central Library’s front lawn, adjacent to Lafayette Square and anchoring Buffalo’s Literary Corridor on Washington Street.

Ceremonies launching the Reading Park will take place at 2:00 p.m.  Children are encouraged to attend in costume to participate in a festive Kazoo Parade in the Park at 3:00 p.m. The afternoon performance schedule includes family entertainers Kevin McCarthy and The Hill Brothers, hip hop performers Differential Flava Crew, Latin beat with Son Borikua, Taylor Made Jazz, Just Buffalo Literary Center’s spoken word poets, hula hoop master Benjamin Berry and a chess workshop.

Buffalo’s Reading Park was made possible through the national Southwest Airlines® Heart of the Community program, with planning/design support from Project for Public Spaces.  The Library’s main entrance ramp and adjacent  greenspace were targeted to be improved and with performance spaces, seating, public art, and new landscaping, plus regular all-ages outdoor programming to highlight literacy, the arts, and the heritage and diversity of the city.  Design and programming ideas were suggested through a series of public meetings and surveys, and through design development student work at the University at Buffalo School of Architecture & Planning. Reading Park construction is projected to be completed by early summer 2019.

“We are so excited to launch this new space in the center of downtown with our many generous partners, particularly our friends at Southwest Airlines,” stated Library Director Mary Jean Jakubowski.  “This project will undoubtedly make a visible, lively difference in downtown Buffalo and for the Central Library.  We can’t wait to have everything fully completed and available to everyone in our community for fun, learning and exploring.”

“At Southwest Airlines we build strong communities wherever we are, whether at airports we serve, in our airplanes with our Customers, or in the communities where our People and Customers live and work,” said Linda Rutherford, Southwest Airlines Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer. “By investing in authentic relationships and creating spaces and opportunities that bring People together, we can build connections and strengthen communities.  This is the inspiration behind Southwest Airlines’ Heart of the Community program.  We’re excited to see the positive impact each of these spaces will have as a result of these grants.”

"Placemaking is all about finding ways for everyone in the community to feel a sense of ownership over their public spaces.  Our mission with Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community grant recipients is to help them create a sense of place — bringing communities to their full potential," said Phil Myrick, CEO of Project for Public Spaces.

The Reading Park is a collaborative venture by the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library with partners: the City of Buffalo, Buffalo Place Inc., Just Buffalo Literary Center, WNY Book Arts Center, Plurality Press, University at Buffalo School of Architecture & Planning, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Visit Buffalo Niagara, Hispanic Heritage Council of WNY, Literacy New York Buffalo Niagara, Restoration Society, Young Audiences of WNY, Project Flight, Association for a Buffalo Presidential Center, and County of Erie, Home Depot and Townsquare Media.

About Southwest Airlines Co.

In its 48th year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other air carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by more than 57,000 Employees to a Customer base topping 120 million passengers annually, in recent years.  Southwest became the nation’s largest domestic air carrier in 2003 and maintains that ranking based on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s most recent reporting of domestic originating passengers boarded.  During peak travel seasons, Southwest operates more than 4,000 weekday departures among a network of 99 destinations in the United States and 10 additional countries.  Southwest has announced its intention to sell tickets in 2018 for service to Hawaii, subject to requisite governmental approvals.

From its first flights on June 18, 1971, Southwest Airlines launched an era of unprecedented affordability in air travel described by the U.S. Department of Transportation as "The Southwest Effect," a lowering of fares and increase in passenger traffic wherever the carrier serves.  With 45 consecutive years of profitability, Southwest is one of the most honored airlines in the world, known for a triple bottom line approach that contributes to the carrier's performance and productivity, the importance of its People and the communities they serve, and an overall commitment to efficiency and the planet.

About Project for Public Spaces

Project for Public Spaces is a nonprofit planning, design and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities. Its pioneering Placemaking approach helps citizens transform their public spaces into vital places that highlight local assets, spur rejuvenation and serve common needs. PPS was founded in 1975 to apply and expand on the work of William (Holly) Whyte, the author of The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces. Since then, the organization has completed projects in over 3,000 communities in 43 countries and all 50 US states and is the premier center for best practices, information and resources on Placemaking.