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    Subscribe on iTunes.

    Six-time NBA champ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar may be best known as the leading scorer in professional basketball of all time. Yet Abdul-Jabbar is also a major editorialist and an author books such as Mycroft and Writings on the Wall: Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White. Recently, he joined the prolific novelist Walter Mosley at LIVE from the NYPL. For this week's episode of the New York Public Library, we're proud to present Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Walter Mosley discussing depictions of the British Empire, a lifelong love of English, and how Beethoven inspired concentration.

    Mosley spoke admiringly of Abdul-Jabbar's reframing of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's work, placing Mycroft Holmes at the center of his novel and moving him to Trinidad:

    "The wonderful thing about Doyle writing about Sherlock Holmes is that Sherlock Holmes was very aware of the empire, only the empire only occured in London. So there are all these people from all over the world. There's somebody from India and somebody from Pakistan and somebody from the Caribbean and someone from African and someone from the colonies. But they were all in England. It was very rare. I think there was one story where he went to America, but it's almost like turning him on his head, saying, okay, I'm going to take this Holmes character, Mycroft Holmes who is not only his older brother but his smarter, older brother, who you take to Trinidad which is really kind of wonderful when you take a body of literature and actually turn it inside out."

    Asked about his transition from athlete to author, Abdul-Jabbar explained that, in fact, his personal evolution worked in the opposite order:

    "I enjoyed reading and writing a long time before I was any good at playing basketball... All the things I'd written when I was kid inspired me to attempt writing. The nuns at my school thought they saw some talent there. They encouraged me. They entered me in essay contests they had. The Catholic Diocese here would have essay contests, I represented my school. So I always had a little penchant for it, and when I got to UCLA I was an English major and again got encouragement from my teachers. That was in place long before I knew anything about basketball, and plus, my first love was baseball anyway. Brooklyn Dodgers!"

    Abdul-Jabbar compared his work ethic to that of his father. Specifically, he spoke of the way that his hook shot belonged to a legacy of discipline in his family:

    "My dad went to Julliard School of Music, and he was a trombone player. In order to get out he had to take piano. He had to play Moonlight Sonata. I think it's Beethoven. I'm pretty sure. And he'd be practicing it all the time. I ended up where I knew it by heart just listening to him practice all the time, and I remember I'd be in my room, and he'd be out practicing, and I'd be like, 'When is he ever going to stop playing that song?' but I went on ahead and practiced my hook shot in the same way and same determination to make it, to get into high school, to get a scholarship to high school."

    You can subscribe to the New York Public Library Podcast to hear more conversations with wonderful artists, writers, and intellectuals. Join the conversation today!

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  • 08/30/16--08:08: Work It: A Labor Day Quiz
  • For many Americans, Labor Day demarcates the end of summer. It's a day of last barbecues, last beach trips, and last swims. However, Labor Day is more than just an excuse for a three-day weekend. Do you know why we get that a Monday vacation day? Find out just how well you know this American holiday with our Labor Day quiz.

    Labor Day Quiz

    To take the quiz, simply click "start" below.

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    We are excited to share this issue of README, an e-newsletter covering digital happenings from around The New York Public Library. If you would like to receive future issues by email, add your email address now.

    From Tony Ageh, Chief Digital Officer

    Tony Ageh
    Tony Ageh

    It's been a busy summer for the Library's digital team. First, we released SimplyE, our new e-reading app for iOS and Android. I hope you'll check it out. We're also previewing updates to NYPL's website, discussing what we learned at our June hackathon, and exploring new ways to share our digital collections on Twitter. 

    On a personal note, I want to thank you for welcoming me these past few months as I learned my way around the Library and the city. It's been such a privilege to have an up-close look at NYPL's heritage and history, and I look forward to leading the digital teams as we strive to build on that legacy.

    Tony Ageh, Chief Digital Officer
    The New York Public Library 

    New App Gives Access to 300,000 E-Books from NYPL


    The New York Public Library just released SimplyE, an app that lets NYPL cardholders browse, borrow, and read more than 300,000 e-books from the Library's collections. We invite you to download the initial release for iOS or Android and use your NYPL card number and PIN to log in. 

    Over the past five years, NYPL's e-circulation has jumped 241%. As we've watched e-books become increasingly popular, we've been looking for ways to make e-reading easier. Previously, NYPL cardholders had to switch between two or more e-reading apps and use additional software to access the Library's full collection. SimplyE gives readers the same level of access in just one app. 

    We're also adding additional features to the app, including a Kindle Fire version, a desktop reader, an MP3 audiobook format, page bookmarking, and text annotations. We always welcome your feedback. Visit "More" / "Help" / "Report an Issue" in the app to send a message to Library staff for follow-up.

    SimplyE was developed based on open-source code that can be used by any public library system, and it was funded in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

    Open Audio Weekend, June 25–26

    Open Audio Weekend

    On June 25 and 26, the Library welcomed developers, designers, data scientists, audio producers, and others to a two-day hackathon designed to advance audio accessibility and explore future uses of media archives online. This event built upon our work on Together We Listen, a project in partnership with The Moth to crowdsource corrections to computer-generated transcripts, which was generously supported by a Knight Foundation prototype grant.

    ICYMI: News from around the Library

    We're bringing together our love for emoji and NYPL Digital Collections with a new Twitter bot: @NYPLEmoji. Tweet your favorite emoji to @NYPLEmoji, and the bot will reply with a corresponding image from our digital collections.

    NYPL President Tony Marx wrote that "there can be no full equality without digital equality" in his op-ed in The New York Times, calling for expanding internet access across New York City. 

    NYPL's Digital Collections web platform won the Amazon Web Services (AWS) City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge in the Best Practices category. This award recognizes public sector organizations that use AWS to increase access to content while reducing cost and increasing resiliency and availability of the underlying systems. 

    Photographers and dancers recently descended upon The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts for a one-of-a-kind event: #CamerasAndDancers. Dancers from the Parsons Dance Company and the Paul Taylor Dance Company joined Jacob Jonas the Company, social influencer and photographer Dave Krugman, and other photographers and Instagrammers to put their own unique spin on the spaces in and around LPA. Check out the photos.

    Look and Listen

    Myrtle Ave. Elevated in Brooklyn, NY
    Myrtle Ave. Elevated in Brooklyn, NY Image ID: 5667156

    Explore the Library's Digital Collections for more.

    Soundcloud - The Librarian Is In

    Listen to the latest episode of NYPL podcast The Librarian Is In and get the latest reading recommendations. 

    Get The Next Issue of README

    Don't miss the next issue of README—add your email address now.

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    Heally Hall, 1996: Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects llc

    When SIBL opened 20 years ago, Healy Hall—the grand interior two-story space punctuated by a dramatic spiral staircase—was its most commented-on architectural feature. A handsome six-page spread in the September 1996 Architectural Record devoted half of its stunning photos to Healy Hall, which the article characterizes as ‘exhibit space.’ Librarians, of course, quickly realized that Healy Hall’s openness and the abundant light pouring through the over-sized display windows of the former B. Altman department store made it unsuitable as a museum-quality site to protect, while highlighting, the Library’s research collections. What to do?

    In 1999, NYPL opened Seeing is Believing: 700 Years of Scientific and Medical Illustration in its prime exhibition venue Gottesman Hall, which included numerous rare materials from SIBL’s collections.

    Back at 34th St, and spearheaded by the assistant director for collections, John Ganly, SIBL leveraged its strong relationships with myriad partners—cultural and educational institutions, government agencies, museums, scholarly societies, and trade associations to create a vibrant exhibit venue in midtown Manhattan. The exhibit sponsors loved SIBL’s central, well trafficked location and mounted shows that were extended and enhanced by reproductions from SIBL’s collections. In many cases, John Ganly co-curated the exhibits; often, SIBL created research guides and hosted public programs that complemented the exhibits.

    When SIBL launched the NY StartUP! Business Plan Competition in 2010, Healy Hall was the one space big enough to host orientations and workshops for 100+ entrants, an exigency that forced the suspension of SIBL’s exhibition partnerships which had thrived for 10 years. This October, for the first time in seven years, SIBL will once again host an exhibition in Healy Hall, No Home to Go To, from the Balzekas Museum in Chicago.

    Below is the list of exhibitions held at the Science, Industry and Business Library.

    Earth From Above: An Aerial Portrait on the Eve of the Year 2000

    October 26, 1999 through January 29, 2000

    58 photographs of Yann Arthus-Bertrand portraying the marvels of the natural world and man's presence as seen from the air.

    Heavens Above: Art and Actuality; Trouvelot: from Moths to Mars

    December 8, 2000 through June 30, 2001

    The exhibit contrasted 15 astronomical drawings of Etienne Leopold Trouvelot (1827–1895) with contemporary photographs of the same subjects as seen by NASA’s space probes and telescopes. Each picture had accompanying text that described Trouvelot’s interest in the subject.

    Diversity Endangered

    October 15, 2001 through May 13, 2002

    This traveling exhibition from SITES, the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, examined the causes, consequences, and potential solutions to the loss of biological diversity. Included were reproductions of color photographs, artists' renderings, and text for 15 posters. Rain forest, coral reefs, and wetlands were among the issues covered. The Smithsonian material was complemented by materials from the Science, Industry and Business Library's collections.

    I on Infrastructure

    May 22, 2002 through January 31, 2003

    Cobra-head and teardrop luminaires.
    Courtesy New York City Department of Transportation.
    Chicken&Egg Public Projects

    This exhibition brought a new twist to civil engineering by exploring the intellectual, cultural, and social contexts that shape the world's infrastructure. Marrying art and technology concepts, this show juxtaposed pop art with images of bridges, plumbing fixtures, and traffic signs to examine how the eye and the mind perceive engineering design. Twelve installations, including a Brooklyn-Queens Expressway sign and images of the George Washington Bridge, each focused on a particular aspect of civil engineering. A complementary exhibition, "Me, Myself and the Infrastructure," run at the New-York Historical Society. Together these companion shows marked the 150th anniversary of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).


    • "Pushing Engineers' Work from Back to Center Stage." ENR: Engineering News-Record, May 27, 2002, 60.
    • "On Exhibit." American Heritage 53, no. 4 (August 2002): 18.

    Seeking the Secret of Life: The DNA Story in New York

    February 25, 2003 through August 29, 2003

    The year 2003 marked the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the DNA double helix, one of the greatest and most influential scientific discoveries ever. Researchers in New York made significant contributions along the route to the double helix and the exhibition highlighted these contributions. The exhibit's primary theme was the research that lay on a direct path to the double helix and was carried out at Columbia University, Rockefeller University, and the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. The exhibit was intended for the lay public and placed the discovery in a social and historic context. Among the objects exhibited there was a seven-foot model of the DNA molecule.

    Honest Jim: James Watson the Writer

    September 23rd, 2003 - December 31st, 2003

    This exhibit focused on Dr. James Watson, co-discoverer with Francis Crick of the DNA double helix, as a writer and followed a timeline beginning with his boyhood. The exhibition included letters to his family through his academic years, material from the University of Chicago Library collection, and his published books and papers reflecting his professional life. The exhibition also included works by other scientists, such as Charles Darwin, who are of both literary and scientific importance.

    The Subway at 100: General William Barclay Parsons and the Birth of the NYC Subway

    March 23, 2004 through July 29, 2005

    Celebrating the centennial of the opening of the NYC subway system in 1904, this exhibition both saluted William Barclay Parsons, the first chief engineer of the subway, and recognized the importance of the subway system to the life and growth of the city. The exhibition included correspondence between Parsons and August Belmont, the major financier of the project, as well as photographs of the signing of the original contract, Parsons turning the first shovelful of earth and others showing the actual tunnel and street digging. Publications, images and documents illustrating station ceramic work, iron artwork and station design, as well as the first subway tickets were also presented. Environmental impact statements on the Second Avenue subway proposal and the efforts to restore the IRT station at the World Trade Center site shed light on the future of the city's subway system. Many items on view were drawn from SIBL's William Barclay Parsons Collection; other materials were on loan from The New-York Historical Society, The Museum of the City of New York, The Transit Museum, The Museum of American Financial History, and the Parsons Brinckerhoff archives.

    Opt In to Advertising's New Age

    September 27 through December 31, 2005

    The focus of this exhibition presented by the Online Publishers Association and SIBL was the history and future of advertising. The exhibition showcased a selection of great creative works from print, radio, television and online advertising, from the 18th century to today. Shown were some of the most significant and beloved ads of all time and the impact of new technologies on creative advertising formats was emphasizes. The SIBL’s assistant director John Ganly and The One Club’s executive director Mary Warlick and marketing and interactive director, Kevin Swanepoel served as co-curators for the exhibit. The One Club provided creatives from its vast archive. Panasonic provided the technology and equipment to create each of the displays and production and design was undertaken by LD Gertz and Associates, the Entity Agency and Brad Geagley.


    Places & Spaces: Mapping Science

    April 4, 2006 through August 31, 2006

    The exhibit compared traditional historical mapping of political entities with the mapping of individual fields of scientific research. Science is mapped by tracking citations to papers indexed in the Web of Science database. Panels in the exhibit presented traditional early maps and several specific instances of the mapping of science. An interactive module permitted the viewer to create a digital map of a specific area of science.

    Ads Matter

    September 26, 2006 through December 30, 2006

    This was an Ad Council exhibit which documented the advertising industry's long standing commitment to better America by producing compelling public service campaigns. Smokey Bear and McGruff the Crime Dog are among the icons depicted in images from a dozen memorable ads. The exhibit was accompanied by a number of programs related to advertising and the media. A companion exhibit which looked at the male image in advertising from 1900 to date using material from the collections of the Science, Industry and Business Library was also on view.

    Lower Manhattan 2010: It's Happening Now

    January 23, 2007 through September 15, 2007

    The exhibition, sponsored by the library and the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center, looked not only at the Freedom Tower but also at some of the 58 other building projects under way in downtown from Chambers Street south to the Battery. Highlights included a webcam showing the construction of the World Trade Center site, wide-angle panoramic images of developing projects, and documented transportation projects such as the South Ferry Terminal.

    The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic

    December 3, 2007 through January 31, 2008

    Several hundred suitcases filled with the personal belongings of former patients of the Willard Psychiatric Center were discovered in an abandoned attic room after it closed in 1995. As a team of curators explored these belongings, individual histories were revealed and this exhibition was born. It included 20 free-standing panels of information and photos about the patients, as well as two display cases full of their belongings. These suitcases and their contents illuminate the rich, complex lives the individual patients led before they were committed to Willard and speak to their aspirations, accomplishments and community connections, as well as their loss and isolation. This was an exhibit of the Exhibition Alliance presented by NAMI-NYC Metro, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Office of Consumer Affairs, and The New York Public Library’s Science, Industry and Business Library, with the support of the New York Community Trust.


    The Real Men and Women of Madison Avenue and Their Impact on American Culture

    June 24, 2008 through September 26, 2008

    This first-of-its-kind exhibition, presented by The One Club and The New York Public Library, showed that the people who created some of the most famous advertisements of the 20th century were as colorful as their slogans—from former spy David Ogilvy to scrappy street fighter George Lois, to tough, hardworking women such as Mary Wells Lawrence, Phyllis Robinson, and Shirley Polykoff, who held their own in the famously male world of 1950s and 1960s Mad Ave. The exhibition highlighted the lives and work of dozens of brilliant copywriters and art directors who helped to shape American consumption and culture over the past 80 years. It featured more than 200 advertisements, posters, books, TV commercials, and video and audio interviews that amount to a commercial history of 20th-century America. The majority of the men and women represented have been elected into The One Club’s Creative Hall of Fame.


    Not a Cough In A Carload: Images Used By Tobacco Companies To Hide the Hazards of Smoking

    October 7, 2008 through December 26, 2008

    Early in the last century, questions about the health effects of smoking became a topic of widespread discussion, as terms like “smoker’s cough” and “coffin nails” (referring to cigarettes) began to appear in the popular vernacular. Recognizing the need to counter this threat to their livelihood, tobacco companies undertook a multifaceted campaign to allay the public’s fears. One strategy was to promote smoking as a beneficial practice through endorsements by healthy and vigorous-appearing singers, Hollywood stars, elite athletes, and actors posing as medical professionals. This exhibition examined the advertising in which, between the late 1920s and the early 1950s, tobacco companies tried to reassure the public of the safety of their products. A related event featuring a lecture by the exhibition's curator, Dr. Robert Jackler of the Stanford University Medical School, included the presentation of vintage video advertisements for tobacco products.


    Lloyd Goldsmith: Downtown at the End of the Twentieth Century

    January 12, 2009 through February 6, 2009

    “In setting out to paint the continuities, to focus on what’s the same day after day rather than on what’s different, Lloyd Goldsmith necessarily, and knowingly, paints an abstract city,” writes Kevin Oderman in the monograph Downtown at the End of the Twentieth Century. This exhibition of Goldsmith’s painting is complemented by illustrations from Oderman’s book, indicating the process and development of the painting over a period of several years. Notes Goldsmith, “My subject is New York—my hometown—the urban landscape. To me, the city is organic growth; layer over layer, always in transition, be it a small change of a storefront or a major destruction and redevelopment.”

    The Future Beneath Us: 8 Great Projects Under New York

    February 17, 2009 through October 31, 2009

    This joint exhibition, a project of the New York City Transit Museum and SIBL, focused on eight megaprojects planned by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The Library spotlighted City Water Tunnel No. 3, the Trans-Hudson Express Tunnel, the Water Filtration project, and the World Trade Center Transportation Hub. Images and sounds drawn from the resources of the Transit Museum, the Library, and the concerned agencies revealed the unseen and ongoing efforts. Projections from the agencies, reports on the current status of the projects, and design information served to suggest the impact these projects would have on the future of New York City and its people in terms of quality of service, improved security, and overall economic and social well-being.

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    Beginning today, the Library is introducing a new home page and other website changes that intend to make it easier for our online users to find what they are looking for while also helping them to discover our collections, programs, services, and locations.

    The updates are part of ongoing efforts at The New York Public Library to improve the experience of our online offerings for our website visitors. We made the changes after a public preview period that gave users a chance to explore the changes and take a survey to give feedback.

    Now that we have officially launched the changes, we want to hear from you. After taking a look around, please take our survey to tell us what you think.

    Updated homepage design
    Updated home page

    Along with a new home page design, we have implemented changes to the wording of the website's navigation, which we made based on user and staff research and feedback. We have also released a series of new landing pages for each of our navigation areas, which aim to better highlight our array of services for all ages.

    Catalog menu
    Catalog menu

    Another important update is that the "Classic Catalog" has been renamed "Research Catalog." The functionality hasn't changed, but the new name makes it clear that this tool displays more relevant details for research purposes. Circulating and research collections can be accessed through either catalog, but researchers may find the Research Catalog more suited to their needs.

    Improving our website is an ongoing process, and we thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback. After taking a look around, please complete our survey and let us know what you think.

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    It’s August and it is time to travel, so we invited our readers at Open Book Night to share their favorite World Literature. Readers recommended books from Norway to Egypt, and Japan to the Dominican Republic. Please share your favorite international reading with us in the comments section below.

    Coming up September 9, we will be recommending Game Changers. What books have changed how you read or what you look for in a book? Open Book Night meets on the second Friday of the month at Mid-Manhattan Library. We hope you’ll come and talk about books with us!

    Dominican Republic


    Pelina took us to the Dominican Republic by recommending In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez. She described it as having “beautiful, lyrical writing” about the coming-of-age of four sisters, which “gives us a glimpse of ordinary people’s lives during Trujillo’s dictatorship.” For more of the world created by Alvarez, also check out How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents.



    Woman at Point Zero

    Laura brought us a story from Egypt, In Camera by Nawal El Saadawi, whose strong female character drew her in. Leila, the protagonist, is held in jail and is brutalized by her captors, but she also manages to frustrate her captors with her resilience. Laura told us that she “makes poignant remarks about what women really possess, which I understood as a strength that surpasses all and endures.” El-Saadawi writes both fiction and non-fiction dealing with the oppression of women. Her most famous novel, Woman at Point Zero, is available in the library.



    Natsume Soseki’sKokoro (meaning “heart”) is a novel that serves as an introduction to modern Japanese literature. The story marks a generational shift in Japan as the friendship between an older gentleman and a younger student explores the heart of things that define the shifting cultural landscape. It provides a wonderful representation of everyday activities in Japanese culture while also revealing the complexity of mores and ideals of the society at the time.



    An Unnecessary Woman

    Elizabeth recommended a book about a woman who lives through world literature. Aaliya Sohbi, the protagonist in Rabih Alameddine's An Unnecessary Woman lives a seemingly isolated existence in her Beirut apartment but this avid seventy-two year old reader has traveled widely in her mind through the great works of literature she reads and translates. Aaliya's voice is sharp and witty as she recounts her experiences surviving civil war and family estrangement with the help of her literary adventures. Elizabeth added several books to her To Read list based on Aaliya's recommendation. The first will be The Emigrantsby German writer W. G. Sebald.

    The Netherlands (via the United States)

    Dutch Girl

    The Dutch Girl: Renegades of the American Revolution by Donna Thorland was enjoyed for the perspective of a strong female figure in history. Set in the Hudson River Valley of 1778, as the wills of warring nations threaten to upset the delicate balance of feudal Dutch patroons versus seditious tenant farms, Moriba found this novel to be a compelling historical fiction romance. Who’s to benefit -- British, Dutch and American Rebels or a strong resourceful woman?



    The Son

    From Norway we heard about Jo Nesbo’s The Son, where a young man takes vengeance after he has spent years in prison taking the fall for crimes he didn’t commit. Our reader described it as “a page turning thriller, full of twists and turns, with gorgeous descriptions of the Norwegian landscape.”



    Spain and France

    For Whom

    Matilda chose an American author who lived abroad and wrote about his experiences in other countries. Ernest Hemingway’sFor Whom the Bell Tolls follows an American fighting with an antifascist group during the Spanish Civil War. She liked that it is a historical novel full of courage and ideals, but also a love story. Likewise, Elizabeth mentioned that she found Hemingway’s descriptions of Paris in A Moveable Feast fascinating when she read it while living there.


    The World


    There is a library in Brooklyn called The Sketchbook Project, where people from all over the world have ordered a sketchbook, filled it up, and sent it back to be made available for anyone to browse their art. The Sketchbook Project World Tour, a book documenting a large sampling of the books in the library, by Steven Peterman and Sara Elands Peterman, exemplifies the daily ritual, contemplated beauty, and creative output of collecting artistic ideas on paper.

    Any Open Book Night can be a world literature night! Here are a some books by international authors recommended at past Open Book Nights.

    world lit 1.jpg

    Ali and Nino by Kurban Said. Translated from the German by Jenia Graman.

    Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimimanda Adiche Ngozi.

    Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. Translated from the Italian by William Weaver.

    A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. Translated from the Swedish by Henning Koch.

    Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar. Translated from the French by by Grace Frick in collaboration with the author.

    Mood Indigo by Boris Vian. Translated from the French by Stanley Chapman.

    My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. Translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein.

    Night Flight by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Translated from the French by Stuart Gilbert.

    A Poet in New York / Poeta en Nueva York by Federico García Lorca. Translated from the Spanish by translated by Pablo Medina and Mark Statman.

    The Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong zhu. Various translation from the Chinese.

    A Season in Hell by Arthur Rimbaud. Multiple translations from the French available.

    Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.

    The historical epics of Geling Yan. Translated from the Chinese by various.

    Zorba the Greekby Nikos Kazantzakis. Translated from the Greek by Carl Wildman in 1952. Newly translated by in 2014.



    If you find a book you love, try searching the NoveList Plus database available at the library to find similar authors. A search in Novelist on The Dutch Girl brought Moriba to a few similar titles that she also enjoyed. Also, visit Elizabeth’s blog post on authors from each of the countries competing in this summer’s Olympics for more world literature suggestions! Several of our colleagues have also written about authors in translation with great recommendations - try Anon’s or Amanda’s recent posts.

    Thank you for the wonderful recommendations by our readers. Those who just come to listen and hear recommendations for books they might enjoy are also welcome at Open Book Night. Check out these other reading lists for books recommended at past Open Book Night Sessions.

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    It's no fun feeling disoriented in school, Yuridia recalls, so she was thrilled to get extra help from a free tutor at the Port Richmond Library to understand and finish her homework. Her after-school Enrichment Zones classes at her nearby library branch even helped her to skip a possible summer school requirement before starting school in the fall. The icing on the cake is that when Yuridia finishes her work, she gets to play math and reading games on the computer.

    Library Stories is a video series from The New York Public Library that shows what the Library means to our users, staff, donors, and communities through moving personal interviews.

    Like, share, and watch more Library Stories on Facebook or YouTube.

    still shot of Yuridia during interview

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    Punica granatum = Grenadier à fruits doux. [Inside part of ripe pomegranate]. By  Pierre Joseph Redouté (1759-1840). NYPL Rare Books, Image ID 1109258

    September is an opportune time to try some festive gluten-free recipes: it is when Food Allergy Awareness Month coincides with the Jewish month of Elul, which culminates with Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) on the eve of October 2.  

    Chances are that you or someone you know is gluten-free. Gluten, a mixture of proteins in wheat, rye, barley and their crossbreeds, can be life-threatening for the 1 in 100 Americans who suffer from celiac disease, according to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Gluten can also cause health problems for those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, according to the National Institutes for Health. Consequently, one in five Americans actively tries to include gluten-free foods in their diet, according to a 2015 Gallup poll.

    From traditional recipes with modified ingredients to naturally gluten-free dishes, enjoy Jewish holiday cooking this fall with these gluten-free options from the Library’s collection.

    The New Yiddish Kitchen

    Gluten Free Jewish Holiday Cookbooks

    General Gluten-Free Cookbooks with Rosh Hashana Recipes

    Chickpea flour does it all

    Gluten-Free and Allergy-Friendly Jewish Cookbooks

    The gourmet Jewish cookbook

    Find more gluten-free Rosh Hashana recipes online:

    Need more? Explore NYPL’s Jewish cookbooks with this handy collection guide by the late Roberta Saltzman, who donated and cataloged many cookbooks. Find books about celiac disease and general gluten-free diet recipes in the Library’s catalog.

    Contact the Dorot Jewish Division at or 212-930-0601 to ask questions or request books.

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    The Golden Record

    On September 5, 1977, a tiny planet called Earth launched the Voyager 1 into the cosmos. It has now traveled further into space than any other man-made object in history. On-board this spacecraft was “a present from a small, distant world, a token of our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our thoughts and our feelings”: the Golden Record. Created by a team led by Carl Sagan, this record was meant to provide a visual and aural representation of life on Earth for whoever might be out there. Carl Sagan said of the project, "The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced space-faring civilizations in interstellar space. But the launching of this 'bottle' into the cosmic 'ocean' says something very hopeful about life on this planet." There is certainly something hopeful about sending a bit of humanity forever soaring into the cosmos, just in case the almost-impossible happens and it reaches another civilization.

    To celebrate the anniversary of this hopeful project, here’s a guide to all of the music included on The Golden Record. Musical selections span cultures and continents, providing a beautiful slice of humanity’s creativity.

    Music on the Golden Record

    Unfortunately, these recordings don’t exist in our collections, but they can be found on YouTube:
    Georgian S.S.R., chorus, "Tchakrulo," collected by Radio Moscow. 2:18
    Azerbaijan S.S.R., bagpipes, recorded by Radio Moscow. 2:30
    Peru, panpipes and drum, collected by Casa de la Cultura, Lima. 0:52
    Solomon Islands, panpipes, collected by the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Service. 1:12
    Peru, wedding song, recorded by John Cohen. 0:38
    China, ch'in, "Flowing Streams," performed by Kuan P'ing-hu. 7:37
    Bulgaria, "Izlel je Delyo Hagdutin," sung by Valya Balkanska. 4:59

    Fun fact: the Golden Record also provided one of nerd-doms greatest love stories: Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan fell in love while they were working together on the project, and the record of her brainwaves as she describes falling in love with Sagan is included on the record. Swoon times a million:

    "My feelings as a 27 year old woman, madly fallen in love, they're on that record,” says Druyan. "It's forever. It'll be true 100 million years from now. For me Voyager is a kind of joy so powerful, it robs you of your fear of death."

    You can go on NASA’s website to see the images on the record and hear the “Sounds of Earth” that were included, as well as hear the greetings in 55 languages (including whale). Though the book detailing the contents of The Golden Record (entitled Murmurs of Earth) is out of print, the Library has one research copy and one e-book available for browsing.

    Affixing the Golden Record to the side of the Voyager - two separate Voyager crafts were sent out in 1977, heading for different regions of space, each with a Golden Record on-board.

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    An overwhelming sense of déjà vu probably washed over the western Pennsylvania countryside in 1794. Less than twenty years after revolting against British tax policies that they deemed unfair, Pennsylvania farmers found themselves opposing another unwanted tax imposed by a distant central authority. In 1791, on the urging of Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, the new national government passed an excise tax on distilled spirits. When the government moved to enforce the law, many small farmers who produced whiskey on the side rose up to oppose it. Before too long, Pennsylvania farmers stared down the barrels of guns held by their new countrymen.

    The federal government won the day and suppressed the whiskey rebellion. Hamilton and his Federalist allies believed they had restored order. Discontented western farmers felt that tyranny triumphed and that their country had forsaken its Revolutionary principles. Both groups could agree that this conflict revealed the full power and reach of the new national government. The 13,000-man militia that Hamilton and George Washington amassed to put down the rebellion, though, probably found the government’s power wanting.

    First extant page of 1794 Manuscript Orderly Book. Image ID: 5846498

    Included in NYPL’s recently-digitized Liebmann collection of American historical documents relating to spiritous liquors, is an orderly book that documents the experience of the Virginia militia called out during the Whiskey Rebellion. These soldiers did not have it so easy.

    Orders from October 25, 1794. Image ID: 5846514

    On October 25, 1794, “The Commander in Chief" expressed that he "very much laments the uncomfortable situation of the troops.” The Army found it difficult to supply consistently this massive force, especially as it moved further west and away from commercial centers along the eastern seaboard.

    While the troops remained at the mercy of overburdened supply lines, many officers could afford to supplement their provisions. Charles Smith, for one, lived large. Writing to Jasper Yeates—Smith’s father-in-law, and a Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court who would eventually negotiate an end to the Rebellion—Smith noted that “as to the other comforts of life, we abound—The beef provided is very fat & fine, plenty of forage for horses & we have been able to purchase a large sufficiency of fine poultry; so that we could not do better, laying the comforts of home aside—Of wine & spirits we have yet a great store, having made a tolerable calculation a the beginning.” He wrote this from the “Lancaster troop camp.”

    Charles Smith to Jasper Yeates, November 6, 1794 . Image ID: 5840258

    Class disparities could deepen enlisted men's discontent and threaten the Army’s unity. During one march, “The Commander in Chief recommend[ed] to all ranks of officers, to depend entirely on their rations for their subsistence during the march and to set an example to their troops of taking their meals in camp.” By urging the officers not to eat off menu, Washington probably hoped both to ease tensions within the Army and keep the troops from foraging.

    Orders from October 23, 1794. Image ID: 5846513

    Many troops were also probably somewhat skeptical of their mission. The 1791 excise tax hit rural people the hardest. Many farmers in the west distilled whiskey because it was the easiest way they could convert their surplus corn into a less perishable form, and therefore get it to market. Small distillers claimed that the tax severely cut into their already limited profits. Nor could they pass the tax on to consumers by baking it into the price, as most merchants did with imported goods. Western consumers would likely not pay, and large eastern distillers could undercut the price. Indeed, the law taxed small operations at an effectively higher rate than it did large distilleries run by merchants in the east. The tax was regressive, and it burdened people with whom many troops probably identified

    Ironically, liquor was often the solution to dissent in the ranks. On a number of occasions, the troops received “double rations of liquor” to quell their dissent. Whiskey sustained the force sent to put down the whiskey rebellion.

    Orders from October 31, 1794. Image ID: 5846516

    The whole conflict was probably unnecessary. For the first three years of the new federal government’s existence (1789-1791), customs duties (taxes on imported goods) accounted for about 99.5% of federal tax revenues. Hamilton suggested the excise on distilled spirits to generate extra revenue that would help make up for an anticipated shortfall in funds to service the national debt. He also wanted to diversify the federal government’s revenue streams and excise taxes were a mainstay of European fiscal regimes. In England, excise taxes often accounted for upward of 40% of the central government’s revenue. But that was precisely the problem.

    Excise taxes galled Americans because they smacked of English tyranny. Hamilton knew this. He had argued in Federalist 12 that the United States would and should survive chiefly on import duties. “In most parts of” the country, he wrote, “excises must be confined within a narrow compass.” This was because “excises, in their true signification, are too little in unison with the feelings of the people, to admit of great use being made of that mode of taxation; nor, indeed, in the States where almost the sole employment is agriculture.” For all the trouble, excise taxes added very little for federal coffers. Excluding proceeds from the sale of public lands, over 90% federal revenues before 1836 came from customs duties.

    Hamilton and Washington’s great show of state power depended on the threat of military force. The experience of the troops in that military force suggests, though, that American state power rested on a shakier foundation than Hamilton, Washington, and their political allies might have wanted to admit.

    Further Reading:

    On the Whiskey Rebellion, see Thomas P. Slaughter, The Whiskey Rebellion: Frontier Epilogue to the American Revolution (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986); and William Hogeland, The Whiskey Rebellion : George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and the Frontier Rebels who Challenged America's Newfound Sovereignty (New York: Scribner, 2006). On American government finance and tax policies more generally, see Gautham Rao, National Duties : Custom Houses and the Making of the American State (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016); and Max M. Edling, A Hercules in the Cradle : War, Money, and the American State, 1783-1867 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014).

    About the Early American Manuscripts Project

    With support from the The Polonsky Foundation, The New York Public Library is currently digitizing upwards of 50,000 pages of historic early American manuscript material. The Early American Manuscripts Project will allow students, researchers, and the general public to revisit major political events of the era from new perspectives and to explore currents of everyday social, cultural, and economic life in the colonial, revolutionary, and early national periods. The project will present online for the first time high quality facsimiles of key documents from America’s Founding, including the papers of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. Drawing on the full breadth of the Library’s manuscript collections, it will also make widely available less well-known manuscript sources, including business papers of Atlantic merchants, diaries of people ranging from elite New York women to Christian Indian preachers, and organizational records of voluntary associations and philanthropic organizations. Over the next two years, this trove of manuscript sources, previously available only at the Library, will be made freely available through

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    Image via HBO.

    If you’re as much a fan as we are of The Night Of, HBO’s new whodunit that examines the aftermath of a gruesome and mysterious murder, then you probably know about Richard Price, who co-wrote the miniseries with Steven Zaillian. Fellow HBO-heads will recognize the name from his work on The Wire, where Price penned several episodes, showcasing his gift for writing crackling dialogue, thrilling stories, and hard-boiled cops and criminals. He also wrote the screenplay for the Paul Newman/Tom Cruise classic The Color of Money. But if you haven’t had a chance to check out Price’s novels—gritty crime tales set in The Bronx and New Jersey, with vivid detail—there’s no better way to fill the hunger for more of the crime suspense that the episode “The Call of the Wild” left you with on Sunday night. Here are six Richard Price books to tide you over until season two.

    Lush Life

    Lush Life, 2008
    Even if you hadn’t heard of Richard Price before The Night Of, you’ve probably heard about this thriller which pores over the circumstances and consequences of a Lower East Side murder—it was President Obama’s 2009 summer read, after all. But if you haven’t picked up a copy yet, it’s perfect for Night Of fans, serving up a confusing crime, conflicting witness accounts, unreliable memories, and psychic damage done to witness and suspect Eric Cash. It’s a thrilling examination of the clash of populations, history, haves and have-nots that make up the Lower East Side, and how those conflicts can violently shatter a neighborhood and a psyche.



    Clockers, 1992
    Price wrote Clockers after a decade-long hiatus from novel-writing—during which time he wrote the acclaimed films The Color of Money and Sea of Love—and this realist book on cocaine dealers, the police, and the citizens of the depressed, fictional city of Dempsey, New Jersey embodies depth and detail like only a well-researched novel can. Price spent months collecting anecdotes and interviews from Jersey City drug peddlers and the cops who hunted them to write this incredibly rich thriller about the crisscrossing stories of homicide detective Rocco Klein and low level dealer Strike Dunham, who are thrown together after a high-powered figure in the cocaine trade winds up dead. If you’re more dedicated to Price because of his work on The Wire, read this book, which will hypnotize you with its intricacy, realism, and intensity.

    The Wanderers

    The Wanderers, 1974
    The Wanderers was Richard Price’s first novel, written when he was just 24 years old, and primarily based on his own experiences growing up in a housing project in the 1960’s in the Bronx. The loose coming-of-age narrative tells the story of Italian-American gang members, led by Richie Gennaro, struggling to cope with insecurity, rivalry, family dysfunction, rushed adulthood, and more sinister hardships in a series of a dozen tales capturing the raw ethos of greaser culture.



    The Whites

    The Whites, 2015 (as Harry Brandt)
    Richard Price’s only novel under an assumed name, The Whites is a spectacular novel of guilt, moral reckoning, and a history of violence that eats away at NYPD detective Billy Graves. When a subway stabbing and a trail of blood forces Graves to revisit his past involvement on a vigilante-style task force known as “The Wild Geese,” the case gets personal fast, and Graves must grapple with sins he thought long buried. All the while, his life is circled by fellow detective Milton Ramos, who seeks revenge against Graves’ family—neither knowing the other, but coming inevitably closer in this gripping crime novel on the limits of justice and permanence of mental wounds.



    Samaritan, 2003
    Another novel with a mysterious crime at its center, Samaritan tells the story of Ray Mitchell, a successful television writer who returns to his impoverished neighborhood in New Jersey to teach creative writing at his alma mater. Coming off his own struggles with drug addiction, Ray is eager to help his needy neighbors, whether it’s handing out cash to a shifty but talented former student or nurturing 12-year-old Nelson Martin, whose father is an imprisoned drug dealer and whose mother starts to fall for Ray. But in spite of his good deeds, Ray is brutally attacked—and he refuses to tell the police who perpetrated the crime. It’s left to Nerese Ammons, Dempsey police officer and childhood friend of Ray’s, to unravel his story, find his enemies, and figure out what went wrong.



    Freedomland, 1998
    A violent carjacking, a missing child, and a manhunt in a housing project: these are the events that drive Detective Lorenzo Council and beat reporter Jesse Haus in this heart-pounding thriller that tackles community policing, media scrutiny, local politics, and race relations in America. As more clues are revealed and the mystery unspools, this book plunges deeper into the chain of deep-seated prejudices, alliances, and grudges that surface so readily in the wake of one small action—and make it so difficult to pursue justice. Though Freedomland was written in the era of O.J. Simpson, Susan Smith, and Charles Stuart, its prescient themes have a particular relevance to the conversation surrounding racism and criminal justice in America today.


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  • 08/31/16--11:14: A Singular September @ SIBL
  • Patrons of SIBL's robust programming options will find this September particularly rich, because NYPL's business library is compressing its fall special events lineup into the first six weeks of the season.  

    On October 7, SIBL's special event venue, Healy Hall, transforms into exhibit space for No Home to Go To from the Balzekas Museum.

    Before that, SIBL will stage two of its most popular fairs on personal finance and career resources and launch a CEO author series on business, leadership and self-development topics.  In addition to these, we continue to host our lunch time and afterwork presentations. More details at 

    Here’s a preview of  September's special events.

    Back by popular demand for its fourth season is our blockbuster Financial Planning Day on September 23 from 10 AM to 5 PM.

    Held each fall and spring, the Financial Planning Day  mega-event draws hundreds of savvy New Yorkers to:

    •    Hear from the Experts: 12 classes on financial/life issues
    •    Explore the Library’s Resources: Learn how to find and compare investment options
    •    Meet with the Counselors: Credit and Debt coaches, Medicare specialists, and financial planners
    •    Browse the Financial Fair: Meet with staff from government agencies and non-profit organizations.

    Download the PDF schedule for the full listing.

    One of the classes during our previous Financial Planning Day

    A week later, on September 30, a  Resource & Career Fair for Entrepreneurial Performing Artistsruns from 10 AM to 2 PM to highlight programs and services from a cross section of NY metro area entrepreneurial resources to help performers leverage their talents for their small business, career, or artistic endeavors! Organizations provide an overview of their resources during a kickoff presentation and answer individual questions at their tables.

    New, this time around, is the Coaching Cafe where experts share job search tips resumes and cover letters, LinkedIn, networking, and databases with small groups of attendees. For registration and a list of confirmed exhibitors please visit

    2015 Resource & Career Fair for Entrepreneurial Performing Artists 

    CEO Series 
    Sep 8, 13, 20, 27 & Oct 4
    6-7:30 PM

    The CEO Series features speakers who head their own enterprises while producing best sellers on business, leadership and self-development topics. 

    Each week in September (and early October) an entrepreneur/author will share his or her experience. Whether you are in business, looking for a job, or simply seeking to enhance your career, this series will enlighten, educate and empower you.

    We have assembled a fantastic lineup: register online for one or all of the programs at

    September 8
    6-7:30 PM

    Marianne Williamson: "From millenary to millennial wisdom: transform business challenges into triumphant success."
    Marianne Williamson, an internationally acclaimed spiritual author and lecturer, has built a thriving business with a social purpose. She will talk about overcoming business challenges using   millenary wisdom from the Buddha and others and show how companies with a social purpose hold value for millennials. 

    September 13
    6-7:30 PM

    Laura Vanderkam: "You have more time than you think!"
    Laura Vanderkam, the author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, and 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, will share how to set priorities, to find and make time for the things that you want to do, and to achieve life/work balance. Come prepared to learn how establishing new, practical time-management habits will make your life and business more meaningful. 





    September 20
    6-7:30 PM

    Seth Godin: "Four lessons learned from the altMBA."
    Godin, entrepreneur and  best-selling author of Linchpin, Tribes, The Dip and Purple Cow, writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything.  Godin will share four insightful lessons learned from altMBA, an online leadership and management workshop he founded in 2015.  


    September 27
    6-7:30 pm

    Dave Kerpen: "The Art of People."
    Dave Kerpen, a renowned entrepreneur, speaker and bestselling author focuses on the topics of influence and leadership. In The Art of People, Dave shares the lessons learned from overcoming challenges,  in both his personal and business life. Dave’s stories will make you laugh, cry, cringe… but more importantly, they will make you learn how to finesse your people skills.  





    October 4
    6-7:30 pm

    Marie Forleo: “Everything is figureoutable.”
    Oprah has named Marie Forleo a thought leader for the next generation. She is the founder and president of, one of Inc.’s 500 fastest growing companies which helps entrepreneurs build a life they truly love and use their gifts to change the world. Marie’s talk will offer practical tips and pointers to become your best self and excel in business. 

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    Welcome to The Librarian Is In, the New York Public Library's podcast about books, culture, and what to read next.

    Subscribe on iTunes | Get it on Google Play

    Frank and Gwen are joined by Julia Pistell, co-host of the Literary Disco podcast! We play multiple rounds of guess-the-book, talk about whaling ships and virtual reality and Garfield Minus Garfield, and offer a bazillion book recommendations.

    Julia might like books just a little bit.

    Guest Star

    It's Julia Pistell from Literary Disco !

    literary disco

    The House of Secrets by Tod Goldberg

    Their episodes on Pictures from a Revolution, The Fault in Our Stars, Animorphs, and We the Animals

    Intensity by Dean Koontz

    Julia's essay about her time on the Charles W. Morgan (and her reading it aloud on the podcast)

    The Charles W. Morgan, via

    Julia's recommendations:

    Gwen: Songs from Waitress by  Sara Bareilles

    What We're Reading Now

    The Underground Railroadby Colson Whitehead (and his appearance at NYPL's Books at Noon in 2015, when he only had 24 pages of it written)

    Only 24 pages!

    Oprah's Book Club (now 2.0)

    Underground Airlines by Ben Winters

    The Waves by Virginia Woolf


    Thanks for listening! Have you rated us on iTunes yet? Would you consider doing it now?

    Find us online @NYPLRecommends, the Bibliofile blog, and Or email us at!

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    Batgirl of Burnsideby Brenden Fletcher is a fun cybertech reincarnation of Batgirl. What makes this latest incarnation different from other superhero books is that it incorporates a social media twist in which Batgirl goes viral and many villains in search of fame come after her. Like the novels below, this title has a no-holds-barred female lead.  If you enjoy action, strong female heroes, and bold illustration, these graphic novels are for you.

    Gotham Academy. Volume 1, Welcome to Gotham Academyby Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher. Gotham academy is not a regular school. The school is haunted and the students are going to solve the mystery. The characters are very inquisitive and adventurous similar Batgirl in Batgirl of Burnside.

    Black Canary Vol. 1: Kicking and Screamingtells the tale of Dinah Lance, who is traveling with a band called Black Canary while trying to protect the youngest member, Ditto. Black Canary and Batgirl often fight alongside each other. Here you learn the origins of the Black Canary and her powers.

    In Batgirl. Volume 5, Deadline by Gail Simone we meet a different Batgirl  who is facing off the Strix- “the man who knows the secret of Gotham City's conspiracy of bats!”

    InBatgirl. Volume 2, To the deathby  Kelley Puckett  Cassandra Gordon faces Lady Shiva for a rematch after the restoration of her powers one year before.

    Spider-Gwen. Vol. 0, Most wanted? By Jason Latour tells the story of Gwen Stacy, who is Spider-Woman, as she faces her foes one at a time. This is a fun story perfect for Batgirl Fans because it is action packed and expertly drawn.

    Silk. Vol. 0, The life and times of Cindy Moonby writer Robbie Thompson tells the tale of Cindy Moon. Silk was bitten by a radioactive spider like Spider-Man. Now Silk is a crime fighter in New York City. Silk is fun and action-packed similar to Batgirl.

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    The staff and patrons at the 53rd Street Library have embarked on an ambitious project to fold 1,000 paper cranes by International Day of Peace, which is September 21.  

    SadakoSadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr 

    The idea was inspired by the children's book Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.  The book is the true story of Sadako Sasaki, a Japanese child who lived through the atomic bomb drop.  She developed leukemia 10 years later, a result of radiation exposure.  From her hospital room, she began folding paper cranes in hopes of getting well, based on the Japanese legend that says anyone who folds 1,000 will be granted a wish.  Unfortunately, Sadako passed away on October 25, 1955 and she was buried with the 1,000 cranes.

    Sadako and Paper Crane - panoramio
    Sadako statue at the Children's Peace Park in Hiroshima, Japan, via Wikimedia Commons


    In 1958 a statue of Sadako holding a paper crane was added to the Hiroshima Peace Park.  Today people from around the world send cranes to be added to the park.

    Some of the 400 cranes folded at 53rd Street

    At this point in time, the 53rd Street Library has folded over 400 cranes.  Patrons of all ages have contributed, from children as young as four all the way up to senior citizens.  The cranes will be hung in the branch when they are finished.  

    More information about how to fold cranes and similar projects on this related post.  

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    Paula Poundstone began her career like so many comedians: busing tables for stage-time at open-mic nights and even hitting the road on a Greyhound bus to tour different open mics around the country. From this humble beginning she went on to be the first woman to win a Cable ACE Award for Best Stand Up Comedy Special for the HBO Special Cats, Cops and Stuff and was the first woman to solo headline the White House Correspondents Dinner in 1992. In 1994 she took home a local Emmy for her excellent field pieces for NPR’s acclaimed “Life & Times” series.

    A master of crowd-work, Poundstone’s shows are different every night. Her improvisational style works well for her, not only onstage but as a regular on the NPR show “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” She has been a major supporter of libraries throughout the years and  is a national spokesperson for the American Library Association’s United for Libraries division which helps Friends of Libraries groups across the country.

    Paula Poundstone and a quote

    What are you reading at the moment?

    I just finished reading Grunt by the wonderful science writer, Mary Roach. I just started readingBetween the World and Me by Ta Nehisi Coates. It's really good. It makes me want to talk to him about everything. I am also rereading To Kill a Mockingbird. It gets better with every read.

    What book(s) or other media do you keep coming back to again and again?

    I read unbelievably slow. I was reading Into the Silence, about the Europeans who first attempted to climb Mt. Everest, for longer than it took them do so. Therefore, I don't reread many things. I do, however, make an exception for Charles Dickens. The more times I can read about Mrs. Gummidge the better. Mary Poppins is my favorite movie. I don't watch it over and over, because I always want it to feel special. I also love Cool Hand Luke and Shawshank Redemption.

    You are very involved in library and literary causes (thank you!!) Did you spend much time in libraries growing up? What was their impact on your life and work?

    I love books. I like to be around them. A library is like a baby; It is full of possibility. I just heard a story on NPR about three Syrian college students who, undeterred by the war, have struggled to continue their education. They set about collecting books for the purposes of their own studies and have also created a secret underground library in Syria. They look for books, sometimes while dodging sniper fire, amidst bombed out buildings. Not only that, but Syrians frequent their library. Books are important.

    Your style of spontaneous crowd-work was honed in the early days of busing tables for stage-time. This skill has served you amazingly well, and seems to be a fantastic tool for your work on Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! Is there anything else you do or read in preparation for the show?

    I am ashamed to say that I use one of the most horrendous publications to prep for "Wait, Wait…" I read parts of The New York Post. It drips with mean spirit and right-wing editorial. I use it for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it opens like a magazine. I am usually cramming for the show, on the Go Airport Shuttle or the airplane. I know there is a way of folding a real newspaper in such a way as that one could read it comfortably in a small space, but I don't know how. Also, the rag I read has a wealth of news of the weird in it and, truth be told, that's important information for the "Lightening Round."

    Your second book is set to come out in 2017. Is there a title yet? Can you tell us a bit about your process when it comes to writing? Does it differ greatly between writing books and writing comedy specials, or does the process mostly take on the same form?

    There's Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say coverMy new book The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness comes out in May. Each chapter is written as a science experiment, including a hypothesis about what I or someone else thought might make me happy. I then carry out the experiment. The key, however, is how it works in my real life of raising three kids and a house full of animals, while working as a stand-up comic. My hope was for it to be a funny book. So far, the few people that have read it (Lily Tomlin, Dick Cavett, Carl Reiner, Peter Sagal, Roy Blount, P.J. O'rourke, Garrison Keillor, Pete Docter) tell me that it meets that benchmark. I'm hopeful that it will be well received when it finally has a cover, and my punctuation has been corrected.

    I am the slowest writer in the world. I could teach a masters course in procrastination. When I finally sit down to write, I use one of my favorite pens or a pencil and a carefully chosen notebook. The drag of the pen on the page is important to me. I start with notes. Anything I think of is, hopefully, scribbled somewhere. I often write across the lines, and not atop them. My first book and workbook series I wrote by hand and gave to a typist. For this book, however, I used an evil computer.

     The Curious Science Behind Humans at War coverWar is Hell, and a lot of effort goes into keeping soldiers alive, healthy and intact through the experience. In Grunt: The Curious Science Behind Humans at War, Mary Roach delves into the science behind that effort, from dietary inventions to fashion sense, from movie studio simulations to being embedded on a submarine, she seeks to answer questions you never knew you had about what it takes to look out for our troops and their support staff. Caffeinated meat anyone?

    Between the World and Me coverName an award and Ta Nehisi Coates has probably won it or come close. As a librarian I am asked on a near daily basis for Between the World and Me, Coates’s memoir and ruminations on race written as a series of letters to his son. The tragic and often divisive events of the past few years are here written about in a fluid and powerful style that brings home what it feels like to be systemically discriminated against in modern America.

    To Kill a Mockingbird coverRacism in America is also at the heart of To Kill a Mockingbird, viewed this time through the eyes of a six year old girl growing up in 1930s era Alabama. The Pulitzer winning novel soon became a staple of English classes across the country, telling the story of a young girl’s first real introduction to racism and the complexities of racial tension, class and the law in a way both easy to understand and to empathize with. One can feel Scout’s innocence slipping away, and can’t help but recall their own introduction to these matters. Along with print and e-book copies, there is an excellent audiobook available, read by Sissy Spacek. The controversial and recently published sequel, Go Set a Watchman, has an equally well done audiobook read by Reese Witherspoon.

    What celebrities or public figures are you curious about?
    Whose book list would you like to read?
    Let us know in the comments!

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    Little Rock Nine and Friends
    Little Rock Nine and Friends at the NAACP's 49th annual convention in Cleveland, 1958. Image ID: 1953739

    The NAACP Papers—an archival collection of approximately two million historical documents from NAACP national, legal and branch offices—are now available online to researchers onsite at the Schomburg Center, and NYPL's other research and branch libraries, as well as remotely.

    There are several unique collections contained in The NAACP Papers: Board of Directors, Annual Conferences, Major Speeches, and National Staff Files; Branch Department, Branch Files, and Youth Department Files; and Special Subjects. Also included in the collection are documents from The NAACP Major Campaigns: 1) Education, Voting, Housing, Employment, and Armed Forces; 2) Scottsboro, Anti-Lynching, Criminal Justice, Peonage, Labor, and Segregation and Discrimination Complaints and Responses; and 3) Legal Department Files.

    The NAACP Papers captures crucial moments in African-American and American history from the first decade of the twentieth century through the mid 1970s and chronicles the fight to end segregation, the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and other historic events. Other highlights from the NAACP Papers document the Civil Rights era and Black Freedom Struggles. Furthermore, the papers include Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s FBI file and FBI files on key civil rights demonstrations in Alabama and Florida.

    Within the searchable NAACP Papers that have been digitized there are also records of the National Association of Colored Women's Club (NACWC), Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the Black Power Movement.

    Researchers may access the digitized version of The NAACP Papers online or use the microfilm version, both of which are accessible in the Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division at the Schomburg Center.

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    The proliferation of the Internet and networked technology has greatly increased the public's access to information. Unfortunately, this very fact has made it easier for identity thieves to strike. The Internet is their playground, and they often live it up on other people's dimes. All they need to do is hack databases of companies that are rife with personal information, sweet talk customer service reps into divulging personal info, or sift through paper in recycling plants. These are the methods of identity thieves, there are too many such people out there, and negative consequences for such illegal, immoral and detrimental behavior are essentially nil.

    ID thieves can steal hundreds of identities with the click of a mouse, and they are rarely prosecuted for it. Only one out of every 600 cases of ID theft ever ends up in a criminal court. In fact, the way that companies operate pretty much makes it open season for these white-collar criminals.  Cops can become lost in the sea of paperwork that is necessary for law enforcement to proceed with these cases. District attorneys would sometimes rather proceed with cases that they have a better chance of winning. 

    Your Evil Twin: Behind the Identity Theft Epidemic by Bob Sullivan, 2004

    I always tell my computer class students to be wary of entering their credit card information online due to the prevalence of criminals waiting to claim their data as their own. I love the cover with the guy invitingly sticking a credit card in your face; whose is it?

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    During the week, it can be tough to stay on top of everything. On Fridays, though, we suggest kicking back to catch up on all the delightful literary reading the internet has to offer. Don’t have the time to hunt for good reads? Never fear. We’ve rounded up the best bookish reading of the week for you.

    El coleccionista de instantes
    El coleccionista de instantes

    We Read...

    Up on the 1776  Battle for Brooklyn and learned to get down like The Get Down with books on 1970s NYC and hip-hop culture. We took a suffragist quiz on Women's Equality Day and celebrated the 25th anniversary of public access to the internet bookishly. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Walter Mosley talked about Victorian England, Sherlock Holmes's brother, and hard work. Meanwhile, the case was made that dogs are a reader's best friend. If you wish Batgirl were your best friend, you may dig these graphic novels, and if you love The Night Of, you need to be reading the novels of one of the show's writers, Richard PriceInternational reads are filling up TBR piles to our ceiling because we totally understand when Jeanette Winterson says, "Books, for me, are home."

    Stereogranimator Friday Feels

    GIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator


    No need to get up! Join our librarians from the home, office, playground — wherever you have internet access — for book recs on Twitter by following our handle @NYPLrecommends from 10 AM to 11 AM every Friday. Or, you can check NYPL Recommends any day of the week for more suggestions. We'll be taking a short end-of-summer break this week, but we can't wait to see you on Twitter again starting September 9!

    What did you read?

    If you read something fantastic this week, share with our community of readers in the comment section below.

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    Summer 2016 has unofficially come to a close (it actually ends September 22). We customarily mark the beginning of the summer season with Memorial Day and its end with Labor Day. Immediately after Labor Day (and even a few weeks before) students return to school and thoughts of autumn leaves fill our heads.

    Although it's the end of the summer season, a sad time for many, for millions of others it ends with a smile on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. The West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA) throws a fun-filled five day carnival featuring reggae, soca, steel pan music and other Caribbean art forms and this celebration culminates on Labor Day with the New York Caribbean Carnival Parade, often described as the largest parade in the city.

    How did it all begin? Well as the association's name indicates by West Indian Americans. The West Indies is a term that is synonymous with the regional term Caribbean, but the term West Indian is often used to describe African descendants from the English speaking Caribbean islands. In a broader sense it refers to other nations such as Haiti and Guyana in South America which is culturally a part of the West Indian community.

    West Indian natives and descendants along the parade route will represent the region in the broader sense of the term. In fact, you will see people of various ethnicities since many West Indian nations are multiethnic, but the majority of West Indian natives are of African descent. As a result, West Indian immigrants form the largest Black immigrant group in the city and most likely nationwide. All of the countries are considered small nations, Haiti has the largest population with a little over 10 million people, so a collective of small nations will come together to throw the biggest party in our city.

    West Indians have traveled to these shores for centuries. America's first black newspaper Freedom's Journal, published in 1827, was initially coedited and later edited solely by Jamaican born John B. Russwurm. West Indian descendant, Shirley Chisholm, a Barbadian-American was the first Black woman to seek nomination by a major political party for the U.S. presidency. Actor Sidney Poitier and singer/actor Lenny Kravitz (son of the late actor Roxie Roker) are of Bahamian descent. The outsized contributions made by West Indians and West Indian Americans are too many to list here, but at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and many of the branches of the New York Public Library you will find numerous resources providing information on the great impact of this dynamic community.

    A small sample of the works we've collected about the community has been added below.

    Blood RelationsBlood Relations: Caribbean Immigrants and the Harlem Community, 1900-1930 by Irma Watkins-Owens

    "The social significance of foreign-born blacks in Harlem—nearly 25 percent of the community's population in 1930—has been almost completely ignored in African American history and migration studies of the early twentieth century. Yet as a contemporary put it, 'almost every important development originating in Harlem' involved the participation of black immigrants."


    Caribbean New YorkCaribbean New York by Philip Kasinitz

    This book focuses on post 1965 immigration and compares the experiences of migrants in the most recent West Indian immigration wave with those from previous immigration waves.




    City of Islands

    City of Islands: Caribbean Intellectuals in New York by Tammy L. Brown

    Prominent emigrants from the first wave of West Indian immigration are featured in this book. Each of them has made a lasting impact to American society. Some of the individuals featured are: Trinidadian dancer/choreographer Pearl Primus, writer Paule Marshall and politician Shirley Chisholm, both Barbadian-Americans, as well as Jamaican-born Ethelred Brown.


    "Look for me all around you"

    "Look for Me All Around You": Anglophone Caribbean Immigrants in the Harlem Renaissance Edited by Louis J. Parascandola

    This literary collection includes the works of prominent West Indians during the Harlem Renaissance. Within you will find the works of Garvey, Walrond, Hubert H. Harrison, J.A. Rogers and many more.



    The Other Black Bostonians

    The Other Black Bostonians: West Indians in Boston, 1900-1950by Violet Showers Johnson

    This study discusses the contributions and achievements of West Indian immigrants who settled in Boston, the third most popular U.S. destination for that immigrant group, during the first half of the twentieth century.



    Three women from Guadeloupe -- Ellis Island
    Three women from Guadeloupe – Ellis Island. Image ID: 1206544

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