Tag Archives: New York Public Library

Reader Leaves $6M to NYPL In Will

IMG_0050Well, one thing’s for sure. Lotte Fields certainly loves the library — so much so that she left $6 million to the New York Public Library in her will.

According to The New York Times, the 89-year-old woman died last year, but had been an avid reader and frequenter of the New York Public Library. Fields inherited her wealth from her husband’s family, which had a long history of wool merchants.

Her executor said she spent most of her weekends reading with her husband. The library president said she donated to the library over the years, so this final — and massive — donation came as quite a surprise … but a good one.

The donation will be evenly divided between he branch library system and the main building, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street.

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Cuts, Moves, and Downsizing at NYC Libraries

IMG_0050Yet again, another sad story about libraries losing funding — and this time, it’s regarding one of the most well-known libraries worldwide, the New York Public Library.

According to The Screwy Decimal, a blog written by a public librarian from Brooklyn, New York City’s preliminary budget is proposing a 35% cut in library funding, the largest funding cut that NYC libraries have ever faced. The $106.7 million library budget could result in slashing library hours in half, eliminating almost 1500 jobs, and closing more than 60 libraries.

This comes just after news broke that the Brooklyn Public Library (which is included in the New York City Library System) would be selling its two libraries — one in Brooklyn Heights and one in Boerum Hill. According to NYC real estate site The Real Deal, the library in Brooklyn Heights will be sold, with the lower floor remaining a library and the upper floors being converted into apartments. The library in Boerum Hill will be relocated to an as-yet unnamed space, set to open in 2016. It will remain open in its current location until the new space is ready.

With all the moves, cuts, and closures, it’s obvious that libraries aren’t able to offer what they once did simply because of financial restraints. And it’s a shame because with the economy the way it is, and with libraries advancing in a technological capacity, library usage is on the rise. If my library closed or cut hours, I would be devastated. Thoughts?

 

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NYPL Unveils Controversial Renovation Plans

It’s been almost a year since the New York Public Library announced plans to renovate the historic space on 5th Avenue in Manhattan. But until last month, they still hadn’t released any design plans to the public. Now those plans have been released, and it’s stirring up controversy.

According to The New York Times, the $300 million renovation includes plans to replace the stack space with shelf space, sitting areas, and desks, while allowing people to view Bryant Park from inside the library for the first time since 1911. The initial plan was to move the iconic stacks to a storage facility in New Jersey, thus stirring part of the controversy. But those plans have since been scrapped; thanks to another $8 million acquired by the library, the majority of the stacks will move underground and remain on site.

The plan also calls for a consolidation of some of its other branches, which will save money and allow the library to enhance the flagship location, by adding more books, operating hours, and librarians.

Second-floor offices and storage rooms will be turned into a work space, children’s room, teen center, and education center. The renovation is expected to be completed by 2018.

While library officials say this is a positive way to modernize the century-old staple, others are upset that any part of the famous building is being changed.

I’m personally a huge fan of the New York Public Library, but don’t have a problem with the changes, especially if it means saving money, offering more space for education and scholarly work, and will add hours, books, and job opportunities. What do you guys think?

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Old Truman Capote Story Found

An old, never-before-published Truman Capote story is now available for the first time. Capote died in 1984 at the age of 59, but three years after his death, Answered Prayers was published. It was made up of three excerpts that were originally published in Esquire in 1975 and 1976.

But according to The New York Times, Capote always talked of additional excerpts. Earlier this fall, one of those stories, “Yachts and Things,” was found among Capote’s papers in the Manuscripts and Archives Division of the New York Public Library. It has since been published in Vanity Fair and online.

Without Capote alive to explain the story, editors and writers are left to analyze the newly discovered material, as John Williams explains.

In Vanity Fair, Sam Kashner writes that, “In [‘Yachts and Things’], the narrator is clearly Truman, and ‘Mrs. Williams’ is possibly The Washington Post’s publisher Katharine Graham.” Gerald Clarke, the author of “Capote: A Biography,” told the magazine that the story was “vintage Truman. ‘A new moon, skinny as a slice of lemon rind’ — you can’t beat that. The title, ‘Yachts and Things,’ is indeed the title of one of the chapters he planned for ‘Answered Prayers.’ But that chapter would have been much longer than six pages, and it would have moved the narrative in a way that this piece, which is entirely self-contained, does not.”

I always think it’s so interesting when “lost” material is newly “found.” I have to wonder: was it really just found or is it something the NYPL has been knowingly sitting on for years?

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Penguin Publishing To Offer E-Books at NYC Libraries

As e-book sales continue to rise, e-book borrowing is not as popular. Some of that is because publishers fear that offering their e-books in libraries will stagnate sales. Such is the case with Penguin Group USA.

But now the company is changing its tune. According to The New York Times, Penguin will begin offering e-books to New York City libraries through a new pilot program next month. If successful, the program will expand to libraries throughout the country.

The program, in conjunction with 3M, will allow library users in several boroughs to borrow e-books on compatible devices. New titles will not be immediately available. There’s no word on how long the pilot program will last.

Despite their concerns about diminished sales, I still think offering e-books in libraries as well as bookstores is a move in the right direction. Whether they like it or not, e-books are the way of the future, and it’s important for publishers to be ahead of the curve. What do you guys think?

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Mad Men Reading List

Every once in a while, two of my favorite things combine and make me a very happy girl. In this case, it’s books and Mad Men. With the show’s 5th season set to premiere this Sunday (my God, FINALLY!), I thought it would only be appropriate to post a list of books referenced in the series — the Mad Men Reading List.

Compiled by the New York Public Library, the list includes each book that’s referenced in the show, in which episode, with links to the library’s site so you can get yourself a copy.

Though I don’t always read the books that my favorite TV shows or movies reference, I firmly believe that all literary references represent deeper meaning in much of what’s happening in the storyline of said show/movie. The literary references tend to draw crucial parallels and can be excellent foreshadowing techniques for a show or movie.

It was brilliant of the NYPL to put this list together, and I hope you find some goodies on the list like I have! Who knows? Pick up a copy of something and you just might feel inclined to wear a skinny tie and sip some scotch at work tomorrow.

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Read Whatever You Want, It’s Banned Books Week

It’s the last week of September and you know what that means! It’s Banned Books Week! Oh, you didn’t know?

Well, each year during the last week of September, libraries nationwide sponsor events to honor books that have been banned and to teach the importance of freedom of speech.

While many classic books that have been banned — like Catcher in the Rye and Grapes of Wrath — there have also been a number of recent books that have been banned, including the supernatural tween hits from Twilight and Harry Potter.

Here’s some more information, if you’d like to find out what Banned Books Week events are happening at a library near you.

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Why the NY Public Library is Flourishing

“The New York Public Library is getting webbier by the day,” wrote The Atlantic reporter Alexis Madrigal in his compelling piece about the NYPL, one of the most famous libraries in the world.

In an age where libraries are dying due to e-books, budget cuts, and the ever-expanding “go green” and “paperless” movements, the New York Public Library not only remains open, but it makes significant profits. Granted, the NYPL receives massive donations unlike most other small libraries around the country. But the reason it’s succeeding is because of its  web-savvy ways. By connecting with library users through social media, the library is allowing people to expand on the information it’s already collected. Madrigal explains.

“Every magazine, television network, or radio station with an archive is sitting on gold. Get that stuff out of the basement and put it online for free, where people can link to, remix, and use it. But don’t just dump it there. Take advantage of what the web can do. Structure the work, as NYPL’s strategy head says, so that people can improve on your collection…When you put information in the hands of people, they come up with all kinds of stuff that people within an institution might not think about.”

For instance, the library has created its own iPad app, Biblion. And most recently, it launched a new log-in system through Bibliocommons, which both simplifies and strengthens the library’s catalog.

You can read much more about all of this in Madrigal’s article, “What Big Media Can Learn from the New York Public Library.”

It’s lengthy, but interesting and might give other media a clue about how to better connect with users, increase profit, and improve resources simultaneously.

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