Tag Archives: Libraries

What Happened to Schwarzman’s 100 Million to NYPL, and Woes for Queens Library

New York Public Library's Humanities and Social Sciences Library

New York Public Library’s Humanities and Social Sciences Library

First things first.

Another negative article on NYPL, this one in the Daily News.

Stephen Schwarzman gave $100 million to NYPL, which was the biggest donation in the history of the library, prompting the trustees to rename the Humanities and Social Sciences Library at 42nd Street–the flagship, main library–the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.

Reporter Scott Sherman wants to know where the money went. NYPL just recently got back $39 million in funding from  New York City to stay open 6 days a week.

No one at NYPL has said much, including Schwarzman.

In the meantime, an article in The New York Times reports financial improprieties at Queens Library, one of the three public library systems in New York City. Thomas W. Galante, the president of the library system who was fired last December, is at the center of a $310,000 misappropriation of funds that the city comptroller has discovered during an audit. (Galante looks like a happy camper in the accompanying photograph.)

The comptroller, Scott M. Stringer, turned over the information to the IRS. The taint from Galante extends to the acting president, Bridget Quinn-Carey, as well as others, which prompts one to ask, whose snout isn’t in the trough?

Just the type of negative publicity that libraries need. Already there are people who think that public libraries are expendable; during budget cuts the libraries are the first to get hit.


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Holidays at the New York Public Library

Though NYPL is embroiled in a controversy to “remake” the main building at Fifth Avenue  and 42nd Street in Manhattan into a “library of the future,” the building is spruced up (as usual) for the end of the year festivities.

The entrance from Fifth Avenue brings the visitor into Astor Hall, which is made out of marble and truly is a grand entrance. The tree is beautiful. Though Hanukkah is over, the menorah was completely lit when I visited.

Perhaps the most ridiculous thing are the wreaths around the necks of the famous lions outside the library. The wreaths are far too big, and the lions literally get lost in them. A much smaller wreath around the necks of the lions would look so much better. Perhaps the wreaths (and bows) are so big to make it harder for someone to steal. After all, what would one do with such big wreaths?

Then again, just a little bigger and those wreaths could probably fit comfortably around Lady Liberty’s neck.

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George Washington’s Presidential Library

The entry sign across the street from the Mount Vernon complex

The entry sign across the street from the Mount Vernon complex

Mary and I arrived a bit early, and after parking in the lot on the opposite side of Mount Vernon, we moved to the parking lot right next to the library. The library sits back from the road among trees. The landscaping is not finished as yet, and there are still some things missing in the library itself, like the signature of George Washington which will hang in the entry lobby.

Washington's library surrounded by barren ground

Washington’s library surrounded by barren ground

I knew Mark Santangelo from the Onassis Library at the Met. He had assisted me in my research before I went on sabbatical. I was surprised that Mark had left and took the job at Mount Vernon, but this was helping to finish a new library for George Washington–the only president who didn’t have a presidential library. It was Mark’s wife’s birthday, so all his in-laws were there. He gave them a tour and invited Mary and me along.

This is the main reading room from the outside. The walls have busts of Franklin, Hamilton, Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison mounted

This is the main reading room from the outside. The walls have mounted busts of Franklin, Hamilton, Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison

There is no photography in the library. I might have been able to get away with some pictures, but I decided not to try. Special collections houses the books that were owned by George Washington. There’s a vault for the papers of Washington, which are slowly being transferred from the University of Virginia. In the 1960s, the Ladies of Mount Vernon worked closely with UV to gather and publish Washington’s papers, which are now being digitized.

Mary and me at the reception with the library in the background

Mary and me at the reception with the library in the background

The reception was nice, but it was held outdoors in the high humidity. As a result, the cheese had started to melt. This, however, didn’t stop people from eating. A nice couple talked to Mary and me and offered to take our picture. I also took one of them and promised to send them the photo.

What a wonderful place. Finally, Washington has the library that he always wanted, even if it is 214 years after his death. (Better late than never.)

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Filed under History, Libraries, Travel

Kent, Connecticut

Kent CT-Church Steeple (2013-08-17 010)

When I first moved to New York, I lived in Brewster. One day I took a drive up Route 7 just to see something. I ended up in Kent, a small town with some charm. For awhile, I visited Kent every summer, visiting that big, book sale. This year I bought several paperback mysteries.

The book sale supports Kent Memorial Library which, I was told, gets very little money from taxes. There was a raffle for a convertible that was being held for the library.

If you are up near Kent Connecticut, stop by and spend some money on books to help keep the Kent Memorial Library open.

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New Blogs for Q & A, and Book Reviews

I’ve decided to add two new blogs to my growing presence on the Internet. Since I’ve worked in academic libraries for over two decades, mostly in technical services (cataloging, serials, acquisitions, etc.) I am in a position to answer questions that may perplex the lay users of libraries, so this blog (http://researchinglibrarianqanda.wordpress.com/) will answer any questions posted.

Currently, I am also volunteering in a public library, so I might be able to answer some of those questions, too. Ask away!

The other blog (http://researchinglibrarianbookreviews.wordpress.com/) will be my reviews of books that I have read. Surprisingly, I used to read a lot of sci fi when I was growing up, but now I predominately read non-fiction books–and no, not in library science. I have a wide range of interests. You might find what I read of interest to you. If so, please tune in!

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New Blog Created

I moved my blog for Greece to researchinglibrariangreece2013.wordpress.com because I intend to continue to use this blog for professional research. The blog entries for Greece will stay at that site as I begin to develop this blog.

Stay tuned.

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