Via Fast Company: In 1994, photographer Robert Dawson began an odds-and-ends project. Whenever he traveled, he'd take pictures of public libraries. Then, a handful of years ago, he started taking trips across the United States just for the libraries--like the shed that served a one-person county in Nebraska, or the Texas library that housed a "petroleum room" with all sorts of George Bush-themed collectibles.
Simply because she loved to read, Lotte Fields bequeathed $6 million to the New York Public Library after her death, the library announced on Wednesday.
Mrs. Fields, a New Yorker who died last summer at 89, inherited her wealth from her husband’s family, who were wool merchants.
An interesting facebook post by New York State Assemblyman Micah Z. Kellner about the NYPL:
I am profoundly disturbed that the leadership of the New York Public Library (NYPL) is using misleading and deceptive language in an attempt to trick New Yorkers into supporting its controversial Central Library Plan for the main 42nd Street Branch.
While purporting to expand public access to the 42nd Street Library, the Central Library Plan is instead a half-baked real estate deal that will result in the selling off of the largest and most used lending library in New York City, the Mid-Manhattan branch at East 40th Street, and the gutting of the fabled stacks at the NYPL’s Main Branch, which house the world-class collections of books and research materials that make the world's leading free research library truly unique. Millions of volumes currently available on-site in the stacks will be warehoused in New Jersey, lessening public access to a public resource unparalleled anywhere in the Western Hemisphere.
By issuing a mass appeal yesterday urging New Yorkers to ‘Support … the daily work of NYPL's network of 88 branches (and) a renovated central branch library that provides longer hours, additional public space, and more resources for children, teens, teachers, and job seekers,” the NYPL is claiming that selling off its largest circulating branch and eviscerating the Main Library’s fabled stacks, at an estimated cost to City taxpayers of $150 million, is improving the NYPL for everyday New Yorkers, when the exact opposite is the case. This is truly an example of Orwellian double-speak. The NYPL’s leadership must harbor serious doubts about the merits and practicality of its Central Library plan to employ such a willfully deceptive appeal.
" The New York Public Library’s newest branch is going to sparkle like fine crystal. "
The W. 53rd St. center will be an airy, vibrant structure with multiple public spaces, modern computer labs, an audio-video collection, and walls of books, library officials said Monday as they unveiled new renderings of the three-story facility designed by Enrique Norten’s TEN Arquitectos.
The new library will also feature a sizable auditorium.
Meanwhile, the city is sucking dry its existing libraries. The Daily News also reports:
"Not only the Queens Library, but the city’s three library systems — Queens, Brooklyn and New York (which serves the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island) — that have had a tough time over the last five years, as Bloomberg has made it an annual ritual to propose major cuts to their budgets. It’s true that much of the cuts are restored by the City Council, but never in full.
One would think that Bloomberg, who supposedly values efficiency and cost-effectiveness, would go out of his way not to put the libraries through budget hell every year.
After all, they have really been able to do more with less: Despite their shrinking resources, over the last 10 years New York’s public libraries have seen a 40% increase in program attendance, and 59% in circulation, according to a Center for an Urban Future study.
Article in the Washington Post Style Section proclaims the new St. Louis Public Library Central Branch "a marvel".
Washington Post Book Reviewer Ron Charles says "Bibliophiles, take note: There’s a spectacular new page on your tour of America’s great book sites: The reopened public library in downtown St. Louis.
In 2010, Poland's National Library performed a survey to determine the reading habits of the Polish citizenry. The results were not buoying: 56 percent of Poles had not read a book in the past year, either in hard or electronic form. Just as bad was that 46 percent had not attempted to digest anything longer than three pages in the previous month – and this included students and university graduates.
The new library — 11 percent larger than its flooded predecessor but seemingly much bigger, with a roof garden plaza, three walk-and-read treadmills, three fireplaces and a cafe with drive-up window — still will have plenty of printed books even as the rush from print books to electronic books is moving nearly as fast as workers can put on the finishing touches so the new library can open in August.