MIDTOWN — Burn the midnight oil, not books.
“Gossip Girl” author Cecily von Ziegesar and other scribes will be doing readings in front of the New York Public Library as part of a 24-hour read-a-thon this weekend.
The event will stretch from 4 p.m. on Saturday to 4 p.m. on Sunday in the plaza in front of the NYPL’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and East 41st Street.
The aim of the event is to rally the city to increase its contributions to the budgets of its three library systems.
Daylight hours will feature readings from more than a dozen authors including von Ziegesar, who will kick off the read-a-thon at 4 p.m. with a reading from her new book “Dark Horses,” described by her publisher as a “psychologically complex update of Black Beauty replete with jealousy, romance, mystery, and redemption.”
But the real fun starts when the sun goes down, according to Christian Zabriskie, executive director of Urban Librarians Unite, the advocacy group organizing the event.
From midnight to 2 a.m. volunteers will read from erotic literature and — following a tradition that has grown out of previous read-a-thons — including a half-hour reading of innocent Dr. Seuss books done in “filthy, filthy voices,” Zabriskie said.
“That kind of happened organically, but it’s a lot of fun so we’ve continued doing it,” he said.
For a full list of the day's schedule, visit the group's website.
This will be the seventh annual 24-hour read-in organized by the group, which held last year’s event in front of City Hall and the previous five read-a-thons in front of the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza.
Specifically, the libraries are lobbying for a return to the level of city funding in Fiscal Year 2008, which would mean restoring $43 million that was cut from the systems last year along with an additional $22 million, which would bring the total city operating budget for the three systems to about $385 million, according to an NYPL spokeswoman.
The restored funds would help the libraries provide citywide six-day service, hire more staff, and expand classes and programming, the spokeswoman said.