Private Library Labors to Be Relevant Again

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Today, like a mid-career changer, the Huntington Free Library and Reading Room in the Bronx is awkwardly trying to reinvent itself in a more humble role: that of a traditional community library.

It still does not lend books and it remains privately owned and operated. But instead of catering to scholars studying American Indians, it now hosts monthly meetings about Bronx history. It invites children for arts and crafts, and it organizes an annual scavenger hunt for historical artifacts. Last month, it allowed HBO to make over its reading room as a backdrop for the series “Boardwalk Empire.”

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