Seattle is looking at this space for some ideas for their waterfront. Originating in the Depression Era, the public space allows everyone to sit and read at no cost and without need for a library card or ID. A spot you're familiar with?
The historic photo looks like it could have been taken here in Court Square. But no; the public space is Bryant Park in New York City. Here's how the outdoor public reading room looks today.
Project for Public Spaces suggested Cossitt Library try to set up an outdoor reading room like this for our riverfront and downtown.