Morningside Lights is an annual outdoor procession featuring lanterns built by volunteers from Columbia University and surrounding neighborhoods during a week of free public workshops. Students, families, and members of the community are all welcome to attend the workshops and procession.

Morningside Lights has often been a place where the collective exploration of texts come to life as mobile works of collaborative art. Over the past 12 years, our community-built procession of lanterns has illuminated and interpreted works by Homer, Shakespeare, Langston Hughes, and Pulitzer-honored poets. This year, we are asking our community of makers to share the works that they value most—the books that have inspired them, enlightened them, or shaped how they see the world. The Open Book is a celebration of the free exchange of ideas and an homage to the libraries that preserve access to knowledge and affirm our freedom to read. Partnering with the Columbia University Libraries and The New York Public Library, Morningside Lights will create an illuminated catalogue of “Great Books,” empowering workshop participants to design original covers and pop-up illustrations of their chosen texts, transformed into lanterns. As we circulate through Morningside Park with our luminous library, each glowing volume of The Open Book will honor a unique perspective, while renewing our collective resolve to keep our libraries free and our minds open.