“The Hunts Point Library in the South Bronx uses only two of the three floors in its Italian Renaissance building, which was built in 1929 with money from the industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. The quarters are so cramped that adult classes in English and computer skills spill over into the children’s area. The top floor — built as a custodian’s living quarters — stays empty because there is no money to repurpose it into what the library needs now: a career and education center. So library patrons like Norma Delgado have to make do with less. “I would love it if the library got more space, because I would take classes Monday to Friday,” said Ms. Delgado, 57, an unemployed home health aide from Ecuador who takes English classes twice a week to improve her chances of finding a job.” (via NYTimes.com)
“The New York Public Library is moving ahead with a revamped plan to renovate its flagship Beaux-Arts building on Fifth Avenue and the shopworn circulating library across the street. A formal request for proposals is expected to go out this week to eight architectural firms under consideration to lead the $300 million project, which library officials say will expand public access at the system’s two most heavily used facilities.” (via WSJ)
New York Public Library to Break Ground on Expansion of Underground Storage for Research Materials at Iconic Building
“The New York Public Library breaks ground this week on a significant expansion of modern underground storage at its iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. The project – approved by the Library’s Board of Trustees in September 2012 – will transform 55,700 square feet of raw space underneath Bryant Park into state-of-the-art storage that can hold about 2.5 million research materials. With the additional storage space, the Library will hold as many or more research volumes on-site as it ever has: approximately 4 million research items. This will allow the Library to accommodate approximately 95 percent of all research requests with materials on-site.” (via The New York Public Library)
“The answer man adjusted his headset, settled into his office chair and faced the next caller’s question. “Hello, Ask N.Y.P.L.,” said the library researcher, Matthew J. Boylan, 54. It was an official at the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington asking about Jews in early-20th-century Thessalonika. “Well, Thessalonika was part of the Ottoman Empire,” said Mr. Boylan, who steered the caller to a set of digitized oral histories in the library’s Dorot Jewish Division. The next caller needed a certain biology textbook.” (via NYTimes.com)
“She’s a Budapest-born American. He’s a Brooklyn-born Brit. Together they are helping to digitize some of the most important documents of American history. The New York Public Library will announce a $500,000 donation from the Polonsky Foundation, the family foundation of Georgette F. Bennett and Leonard S. Polonsky. Funding projects that help make historical documents accessible to more people comes from a “fervent belief in the democratization of knowledge,” said Dr. Bennett.” (via WSJ)
“It may not say much for my literary tastes. But among the 35,000 items and 2,000 linear feet of archives in the New York Public Library’s Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, the one that excited me most was a copy of underground cartoonist R. Crumb’s “Zap #1” from 1968. For Crumb enthusiasts, that should come as little surprise. After all, the inaugural work in the “Zap Comix” series included such iconic characters as Mr. Natural, Schuman the Human, Whiteman and two full pages of “Kitchen Kut-Outs,” featuring such lovable characters as “Dick Tater,” “Beatrice Bread Slice” and “Clever Mr. Ketchup.” That’s also the artist’s exuberant “Keep on Truckin’” visual riff.” (via WSJ)
“How about some Wi-Fi with those books?
Beginning later this month, New York City residents will be able to check out portable wireless Internet hubs free of charge at their local library branch, city officials said. The program, expected to be announced Tuesday, will offer about 10,000 Wi-Fi units through branches of the New York Public Library, the Queens Library and the Brooklyn Public Library, funded partly with a $1 million donation from Google Inc.” (via WSJ)
“The Board of Trustees of The New York Public Library announced that, effective today, renowned attorney Evan R. Chesler will succeed Neil L. Rudenstine as its next chairman. Chesler, a Bronx native and chair of prominent law firm Cravath, Swaine, & Moore LLP, has been a member of the Library’s Board of Trustees since November 2009, most recently serving as both Vice Chairman and Executive Committee Chairman. His appointment was announced at today’s Board of Trustees meeting, held at the iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.” (via NYPL)
“On a reconnaissance mission, Shana Kimball walked through the Museum of Mathematics with her smartphone out, snapping pictures of square-wheeled tricycles and math-inspired art. She stopped at a display case of visitor-designed sculptures. “It’s so beautiful,” she said to the museum’s co-executive director, Cindy Lawrence. “Do you rotate that out with frequency?” Ms. Kimball, who works for the New York Public Library, is part of the institution’s attempt to reboot the contentious renovation of its flagship Fifth Avenue building. After abandoning its original plan, which had sparked fierce public opposition, the library says it is doing things differently.” (via WSJ)
“>Neil L. Rudenstine, a former Harvard president who since 2011 has served as chairman of the New York Public Library, will step down in November, the library confirmed on Thursday.
As interim chairman, Mr. Rudenstine said in a letter to his colleagues that he “expected to be in place for one year, or at most two.”NYTimes.com)