The New York Public Library's flagship building on 5th Avenue is celebrating its centennial this weekend. Paul LeClerc, president of the NYPL, talks about the role of the library.
I have always taken the library for granted (possibly too much ... I always assume it will be there.) Went weekly with my Mom as a child in the suburbs. (She grew up in the city using the library here.) I was astonished when I learned that libraries in England and France (maybe most of the rest of the world) were restricted. People were required to pay a fee and if they wanted a book they had to request it from a clerk at the front desk. No browsing! I have found so many unexpected treasures while browsing!
As a day care teacher I used to take my class of 3-yr olds for story telling and borrowing picture books at the Tompkins Sq branch.
As a mother, likewise, I took my daughter for story telling, borrowing picture books at Muhlenberg. I also discovered borrowing records (yes, vinyl, in the late 80's) which we took home and taped, so I developed a great collection of kids' music and stories.
Other special things I have borrowed: Cuban films and books in Spanish from Donnell.
The picture collection at Mid-Manhattan for inspiration when I was looking for specific image.
Also, in Dec 2008, I enjoyed a wonderful exhibit: "Yaddo: Making American Culture," about the arts community in upstate NY at the beautiful main branch.
I have used the library for 50 years. As a HS student I used the Art and Architecture collection and watched while the young man went to get my books--I felt so powerful!
BUT--I would like to ask that the name of Stephen Schwartzman be stricken off the facade of the library. (yeah right, not likely...) He is the one who compared moderate steps to correct the financial crisis to Nazism. Such a person should NOT be honored by the NY PUBLIC library.
I was glad to hear the 1939 World's Fair mentioned. I worked there and have a souveneir booklet of photos I will donate to the library.Also I thiink the great Print Collection supervised by Roberta Waddell deserves special mention and thanks. Many printmakers are proud to have their work there.
Firstly i LOVE NYPL, and I think it's great that NYPL continues to do things that make the collection more accessable and useable. For the most part I also like Apple and its products.
However, I also think it's horrendous that they've spent (presumably) public funds to develop software for a relatively expensive, proprietary, rapidly evolving platform.
IMHO, to the degree that it's practical public institutions should do their best to stay above the platform wars rather than taking sides. this means doing standards-based cross-platform or platform-neutral developmen rather than platform-specific devleopment. Software developed in this way is not only likely to reach a broader user base, it is also likely to have a longer working life.
IMHO public institutions should not only do this, they should take a leadership role in this area.
The publisher with the restrictive policy on the number of times libraries can lend e-books is HarperCollins. Paul LeClerc did not want to name them on air, but this is a well-known, widely-reported fact in the publishing industry.
It's Harper Collins that wants to limit the check out time of ebooks:
I used the NYPL main branch over 50 years ago to do research for a college paper on ESP - extrasensory perception.
As a teen I used to travel into the city from Jersey to study at the Donnell Library because it was open on the weekend and later for its wonderful media collection where I could project films. I'm heartbroken that it is closed, will it ever open again?I loved the Nabakov exhibit and his index card collection among the many wonderful exhibits shown over the years.
Found a book with a picture of our Victorian house, and a picture tour of many of the other gorgeous victorian homes built in the mid 1800s, along with lots of info about the people and culture of that time in the very place we live now. There is no other known copy of that book.
I check out e-Books and read them on my Sony e-Reader. I also check out audio books and listen to them on my iPod. This is a wonderful service, and more people should know about it.
I love the Picture Collection! I've been using it for 26 years and bring all my students there. It's a relic, in a way, now that we have such a glut of pictures online, but it's still my preferred way to research pictures.
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