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    War was nearly unrelenting in colonial America. Europeans fought Europeans from other empires. They fought Indians.  And sometimes, alliances of Indian groups and Europeans faced off against each other. The British Empire emerged victorious from nearly a-century-and-a-half of colonial warfare, which culminated in the Seven Years’ War (the American theater of which is better known as the French and Indian War). They won that contest for Eastern North America with guns and money, of course, but also by building effective transportation, communication, and intelligence networks.

    Map of the road to Presqu'Isle, George Chalmers Collection, NYPL

    The strategic heart of the Seven Years’ War lay in the Ohio Country--especially the area running from backcountry Pennsylvania, north to Lake Erie, and west as far as Detroit. It was in this riverine world that Imperial armies, land-hungry colonists, and Indian groups all converged, with violent results. Far from their coastal strongholds, British success depended on successfully transporting supplies, munitions, and information. So they obsessed over transportation routes. This unattributed hand-drawn map comes from the recently digitized “Papers Relating to Philadelphia” in the Library’s George Chalmers collection. It documents the roads and waterways between Fort Pitt (modern-day Pittsburgh) and Presqu'Isle, in Lake Erie. The map even contains notations of obstacles on certain paths, which routes could best handle carriages, and improvements that might make various spurs more efficient. This attention to detail was characteristic.

    Boquet to General Stanwix, April 26, 1760, George Chalmers Collection, NYPL

    Every few days during the summer of 1760, Henry Boquet, a British officer, wrote detailed letters to his superiors about transportation in the region. Boquet’s main concern was shoring up “the communications with The Ohio,” especially roads linking Fort Pitt with Maryland, Virginia, and eastern Pennsylvania. The problem, he surmised, was that two roads already served this purpose. Maintaining both demanded precious manpower. In three detailed pages, Boquet advocated abandoning these roads and creating one new road, routed “in such a manner as to serve equally these three Provinces.” It would ideally run through population centers that could take some responsibility for road maintenance.

    Henry Bouquet to General Monckton, June 7, 1760, George Chalmers Collection, NYPL

    To build the case for the new road, Boquet wrote frequent letters to other officials describing problems with existing transportation routes.  In mid-June, he complained about impassable roads that often left waggons stalled.  A few days earlier, he had noted that “Wheelwrights are much wanted … as several waggons are daily breaking.” Nor did Boquet focus solely on overland travel.  In a July letter, he discussed efforts to acquire whale boats along the Niagara River. 

    Henry Bouquet to General Monckton, July 18, 1760, George Chalmers Collection, NYPL

    As Bouquet made clear, a desire to strengthen communications “with the Ohio” animated his efforts.  He had assigned George Croghan with gathering intelligence about French movement in the region. Though not a military man, Croghan was a good fit for the task because of his background as a fur trader, which meant he had existing economic relationships with Indians. The British relied on Indians to get places they could not, and ferry information back from near French outposts.  

    George Croghan to Horatio Gates, May 23, 1760, George Chalmers Collection, NYPL

    Croghan served as the main point of contact, vetting the information that his Indian contacts collected.  When Croghan passed along intelligence, he might vouch for an informant as “an Indian of good Reputation who I had imployed[sic] last Fall to bring … notice of any designs the Enemy might form against us.” On another occassion he described his source as “A Six Nations Indian who has lived many years among the Wyandotte.” The point was to establish the credibility of their reports. An imperial world war turned on Britain’s ability to establish the veracity of this sort of intelligence and transmit it efficiently, deep in the American backcountry. 

    The Seven Years’ War was a conventional war of manpower, resources, and strategy.  But due to the scarcity of established channels for information exchange, it was also a war in which knowledge was powerful.  Having reliable sources of information, and transportation infrastructure on which to transmit separated winners from losers.

    Further Reading

    On the importance of information to colonization in other parts of North America, see Katherine Grandjean,American Passage: The Communications Frontier in Early New England (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015); and Alejandra Dubcovsky, Informed Power: Communication in the Early American South (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016).

    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 on-line 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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    The undeniably prolific Eudora Welty published more than a dozen books of short stories, essays, and novels over the course of her life. Added together, her Collected Stories are over 600 pages long.

    So, in honor of what would have been Welty's 99th birthday, we asked our book experts to recommend their favorite long books -- the ones that are really, truly worth the time it takes to read them.


    Science Fiction & Fantasy

    Samuel R. Delany’s Dhalgren is a sci-fi behemoth spanning 801 pages. The first chapter starts mid-sentence, and the rest of the novel is just as disorienting. Kidd, a drifter suffering from amnesia, finds himself in the mysterious city of Bellona, lit by a giant sun and two moons. Enigmatic and complex, Dhalgren is worth a read, especially for fans of the sci-fi genre. —Crystal Chen, Muhlenberg

    Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson.  Teen thief Vin joins a group of superpowered grifters in their attempt to overthrow a godlike emperor. Secrets, snark, and fight scenes abound in this thrilling tale. —Althea Georges, Mosholu

    The Black Prism by Brent Weeks is the first book in a world where people known as drafters can harness light and transform it into luxin, a substance that can be gas, liquid, or solid. Amazing world-building, military power, and political subterfuge give rise to an empire. Follow the stories of several characters: a fraud ruler, an aspiring bastard son, a slave enlisted as a spy, and a turncoat. You will be pulled into an unforgiving world... until you finish all 688 pages and move on to book two! —Alexander Mouyios, 67th Street

    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke is a “fantasy of manners” — imagine Tad Williams by way of Charles Dickens — where magic is restored to England in time to fight Napoleon.  Clarke supplements her matter-of-fact, arch voice with fake footnotes for verisimilitude. And there’s a BBC miniseries adaptation waiting for you at the end of the 1,000-page tunnel. —Meredith Mann, Manuscripts and Rare Books

    Dave Duncan’s The King’s Blade series. I went out and bought a Sony e-reader when the Library started its first round of ebooks. There are orphans, a rebellion, traders, loyalists, and magic; marriage and time travel, kingdoms and the king’s blade. We have two of the series on ebook and available on SimplyE: The Sky of Swords and The Gilded Chain. —Alison Williams, Parkchester

    History, Psychology, Mythology

    Historian Annette Gordon-Reed weaves a massive pile of research together into the important but little known story of the children of master Thomas Jefferson and slave Sally Hemings in The Hemingses of Monticello. —David Nochimson, Pelham Parkway-Van Nest 

    For those who enjoy mythology, Shanemah: The Persian Book of Kings is an excellent introduction to Persian culture and poetry, and luckily can be read piecemeal as it weighs in at 1,040 pages. —Liz Baldwin, Mid-Manhattan

    I devoured Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon. Before he created The Wire and Treme, Simon was a cub reporter at the Baltimore Sun who spent a year embedded with the city’s homicide detectives. It’s 646 pages of police procedures, personalities, and investigations, and it remains all too relevant. —Charlie Radin, Inwood

    Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. A deep dive into our shared biases and misconceptions cleverly categorized as System 1 and System 2 (or, fast thinking and slow thinking) that I would recommend to anyone, if they could get through a dense, fascinating and insightful 400+-page read. The book chronicles at least half a century worth of insightful experiments in psychology that reveal various cognitive biases that all humans seem to possess. —Andrey Syroyezhkin, Dorot Jewish Division

    Hamilton by Ron Chernow. I swear I am not biased because I am seeing the Broadway play in a couple of days. This was the basis for said Broadway play. Hamilton tows the line of being informative without being dry and, by the end of the book, you feel as if you know the complex character that is Alexander Hamilton. —Grace Loiacono, St. George

    Horror & Mystery

    Thirst, No. 1 by Christopher Pike is a 594-page omnibus composed of the The Last Vampire, Black Blood and Red Dice. The epic series tells the story of Alisa, a 5,000-year-old vampire on the run from her creator. Alisa finds her way to Ray, whom she needs to survive… but as she gets closer to him and begins to fall in love, his life is threatened. —Lilian Calix, Hamilton Grange

    The Stand by Stephen King. I read it in college and literally could not put it down. A powerful post-apocalyptic story of good and evil. —Nicole Rosenbluth, Pelham Bay

    Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian is 704 pages of Vlad the Impaler (Bram Stoker’s Dracula is only 488 pages, by comparison). Her new work, The Shadow Land, is about Bulgaria and comes in at a slightly less weighty 496 pages. —Jenny Baum, Jefferson Market

    An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears is an engrossing literary murder mystery set in Restoration England, complete with all the dirt, squalor, and brutality one might expect to find in the 17th century. It also offers four narrators of varying degrees of reliability and an exploration of the scientific inquiry percolating at the time. (Four different versions of a story in 691 pages: not a bad time investment.) —Elizabeth Waters, Mid-Manhattan

    Historical Fiction

    Not every historian can turn a scholarly study into an engaging, thought-provoking page-turner that has the potential to excite enthusiasts and turn on masses of new readers whose knowledge of (and interest in) the subject at hand is limited or even non-existent. Mary Beard, classical studies professor and researcher extraordinaire, possesses that rare ability; her hefty, but hard-to-put-down exploration of Ancient Rome, SPQR, is a wonderful example of a book that can appeal to just about any lover of a good, juicy story. And, in this case, the juicy story told by Beard is one that helps us to understand a great deal about how modern politics and the modern world were shaped. Jeff Katz, Chatham Square 

    The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad by Harrison Salisbury. This 635-pager is stunning narrative nonfiction about the (you guessed it) 900-day siege of Leningrad by the Nazis during World War II. Harrison Salisbury was in Leningrad right after the city fell and was able to interview many survivors. Little details still stick in my head, despite reading this tome over a decade ago.—Kate Fais, Bloomingdale

    For readers who like to curl up and wheeze under the weight of a good long novel, I’d remind them of Herman Wouk’s fictional two-fer following an American family caught up in World War II, The Winds of War and War and Remembrance. Together they make over 1,800 pages of well-researched, un-put-downable, globe-spanning drama. Wouk, who turns 102 in May, wrote with a cinematographic flair that helped a post-Vietnam generation of Americans understand the horrors of the holocaust and the emotional drain of being caught up in a world-wide conflict. —Christopher Platt, Library Administration

    All of the action in The Brothers Karamazov unfolds slowly, so that the passage of time in the novel feels like the passage of time in life. This means that the book is big--both in size and in scope. Fyodor Dostoevsky’s masterpiece is worth it! The patient reader will be exposed to philosophical and spiritual wisdom that sticks with you long after finishing the novel. I recommend Pevear and Volokhonsky’s translation. (Because I can’t resist plugging a program: we’re having a four-session seminar on it at Jefferson Market this summer starting May 25, meeting every two weeks. Sign-up starts May 18!) —Nancy Aravecz, Jefferson Market

    An eerie cross between a fairy tale, dreamy philosophy, and a soap opera, Cao Xueqin’s Story of the Stone (also known as “Dream of the Red Chamber”) is unlike any other story I’ve read before. While readers may come for the alluring otherworldly creation tale that introduces the book’s first volume, they will surely stay for the unfolding, tragic romance between Bao-yu and Dai-yu, which the reader witnesses throughout the over-2,300 pages of this absolutely captivating classic work of Chinese fiction. —Benjamin Fairweather, Seward Park

    Fall of Giants (Century Trilogy #1) by Ken Follett. A sprawling historical epic that delves into the social and political upheavals of the early 20th century. Starting in 1911, it follows five families whose lives slowly become entwined through war, revolution, and fights for equality. There’s a Welsh coal mining family, the aristocratic family whose land they live on, an ambitious aide to President Woodrow Wilson and two Russian brothers who want to immigrate to America. Readers will be engrossed through all 985 pages; it’s a great read-alike for anyone who misses Downton Abbey or loves Doctor Zhivago—Anne Rouyer, Mulberry Street

    Cloudsplitter, Russell Banks’ doorstopper, is a heavily fictionalized retelling of the life of John Brown, the famous abolitionist. Although the historical details have been altered for the sake of the plot, the novel really captures the feeling of living in a divided nation on the brink of war. —Benjamin Sapadin, Morris Park 

    Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson is a wonderful novel linking the code-breakers of WWII to today’s computer geeks. This one broke me out of a month-long reading slump when nothing I read was catching my attention. —Judd Karlman, Pelham Bay

    Neal Stephenson’s The Baroque Cycle, each book of which hovers around 900 pages, but which can also be downloaded as a bundle for the full immersive experience. And an experience it is. As with everything he writes, this series is fast-paced, complex, and filled with an unbelievable level of detail (much of it, in this case, historical). As a bonus, it’s technically a prequel to Cryptonomicon, which is itself over 1000 pages, and worth every one. —Kay Menick, Schomburg Center

    No list of doorstoppers can be considered complete without James Clavell's 1000+ page epic, Shogun. After surviving a shipwreck, John Blackthorn and his crew are embroiled in a burgeoning civil war in medieval Japan. —Joshua Soule, Spuyten Duyvil

    Julie Orringer’s The Invisible Bridge is the fastest 784 pages I have ever read. It’s a World War II love story between a young, Jewish architecture student and the much older woman to whom he delivers a letter containing a dark secret. Fans of The Nightingale will devour this sprawling epic. —Ronni Krasnow, Morningside Heights


    Have trouble reading standard print? Many of these titles are available in formats for patrons with print disabilities.

    Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend. And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for more recommendations!

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                             king queen knaveBenjamin Franklin’s BastardPostmodernism 101

    Beginning Postmodernism众神的星空乡土中国





    Nabokov, Vladimir.  King, Queen, Knave


    俄国文豪的作品,小说描写俄国革命后,一青年流亡德国柏林。受雇于一德国人,但与雇主的妻子发生暧昧关系。 人物关系复杂,对于人物的感情思想描写细腻。


    Cabot, Cabot.  Benjamin Franklin’s Bastard




    White, Heath.  Postmodernism 101.

    Woods, Tim.  Beginning Postmodernism.


    这两本书都介绍什么是后现代主义, 这是哲学入门书籍。


    稻草人语。  众神的星空。




    费孝通。  乡土中国


    这书原是费先生1940年代在清华大学的讲课内容。 作者强调中国的婚姻制度实为一种事业生产单位,父子轴线远重于夫妻关系。 这本书是中国社会学的开山之作。






    Special Thanks goes to Hung-yun Chang at  Mid-Manhattan Library, for all his help with this blog post.


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  • 04/12/17--14:42: Women in Comics Con 2017
  • I was happy to have the opportunity to attend the third annual Women in Comics Con event at the Bronx Library Center on March 25, 2017. There was a positive buzz and energy about the place as I entered. I circulated around the tables that were inhabited by publishers and saw some great art, some of which was anime. They were selling books, and a few tables had freebies. I only had time to attend one of the panels, but it included scintillating conversation about women and femininity in comics. 

    Reconstructing Femininity


    Seven women of color conversed about gender roles as they are portrayed in comics. The moderator, a professor at Rockland Community College, had great questions and she was able to engage the panelists well. The speakers came from a variety of vocational backgrounds, and they were very talented. On the panel sat a digital painter, a filmmaker who currently works at Teen Vogue, a cos artist who engages in cos play, an indie publisher and writers of graphic novels. One panelist had her work displayed in the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in Manhattan.

    One panelist stated that she likes characters that she can relate to, and people want to hear the opinions of women. 

    Someone else said that feminism is not simply the antithesis of masculine. Masculine is considered the default in this society.

    Another pointed out that she enjoyed monster movies as a child. She felt ostracized by other girls at school who could not understand why she did not ascribe to a stereotypical feminine role in society. 

    Another said that since she grew up with two moms, femininity was ingrained in her from an early age. Men, women, and non-gender conforming people all need to challenge gender roles; people need to express themselves in a way that they feel comfortable. All of her stories are filled with only female characters. She would like to tackle the challenge of constructing male characters at some point. 


    The moderator opined that femininity is traditionally denoted as indicating weakness. Female characters have typically been portrayed as always crying and in need of rescue. 

    A panelists indicated that musculature on women is considered unattractive in comics. 

    The moderator responded that people have criticized Michelle Obama for the same reason. Race has to be considered as a factor in this commentary. I personally think that the former first lady is gorgeous. 

    The panelist was looking for women of color to relate to in comics. She found a brown girl in a sea of white who was bullied by her peers. She was thought of as weak and submissive. As an Asian American, she could relate to the character, since she is subjected to the same stereotypes.

    A Latina panelist stated that she did not identify with girls in comics at first because she was a tomboy, and she wanted to identify with boys. However, she then discovered Gargoyles, which has a female character that she likes. 

    Someone mentioned that couples in comics are generally portrayed with a larger, stronger male, and the female is smaller and weaker. It is okay for women to be tomboys one day and express themselves in a more feminine manner the next. She is glad that girls today are able to see more brown girls in comics; she wished that she had had that experience while growing up.

    One panelist stated that she had seen the traditional beauty and the beast concept flipped. The beast was the woman, who was accompanied by a beautiful man. Someone had mentioned that men are visual creatures who can be superficial.

    Another woman mentioned that women can be visual, as well. Historically, women may have had to look past a man's physical features in order to obtain financial security. As women move closer towards men in achieving pay parity. perhaps this will change.

    The Latina panelists informed us that it is considered to be the women's responsibility in Latino culture to civilize their male counterparts.

    The moderator commented that this is how patriarchy functions.

    The cos artist mentioned that she could see this playing out in The Little Mermaid. She loved Ursula, the witch, who told Ariel what the real world was like.


    The moderator asked how female creators make more complex female characters. Many women have internalized patriarchy; they enable it and perpetuate it. As far as she knows, for example, Wonder Woman has never menstruated. She asked the cos artist to discuss cos play. Dressing up is seen as a girl thing.

    The cos artist said that it becomes a lifestyle. She loved dressing up on Halloween, but it was only for a day. People who engage in cos play pay close attention to how artists clothe their characters. Outfits are not about accuracy; they are artistic expressions of the character. She designs clothes for her body. The beauty standards of the Renaissance Age were not realistic for women's bodies. She likes ergonomic design. Also, women of color should not be afraid to wear color.

    Someone mentioned that when male characters are translated to their female counterparts, people think it is necessary to show more skin. This should not be an assumption in today's world. Comics should not be written only for men, but for the entire spectrum of people. 

    Women also need access to the same financial resources that men have in order to support the creation of comic books that are for all genders.

    Graphic novels for women

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    Schomburg Center

    The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture has acquired the personal archive of literary icon and social critic James Baldwin. Born in Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance, Baldwin's contemplations on American race relations in both prose and poetry made him one of the most respected and sought-after writers and public intellectuals of his time. Baldwin's writing and commentary remain highly relevant and resonate today, provoking a contemporary resurgence of interest in his life and work.

    Items from the Baldwin Archive will be on limited public display at the Schomburg Center from April 13-17 as part of the exhibition The Evidence of Things Seen: Selections from the James Baldwin Papers.

    Highlights in the display include: photographs of James Baldwin from the Schomburg's existing portrait collection; The Amen Corner playscript with inscriptions and The Amen Corner Playbill with signatures from the cast; his On Martin Luther King essay; "Letter to my Sister, Ms. Angela Davis;" handwritten notes on Just About My Head; and notes on his "spiritual father," Beauford Delaney.

    The Baldwin archive is a rich trove of manuscripts, typescripts, and audio tapes, the breadth and depth of which make it indispensable to understanding fully the significance of Baldwin's career as a writer and as an engaged public man of letters. This archive will enable researchers to trace the textual evolution of virtually all of Baldwin's writings across his whole career, from notes to his first novel Go Tell It On the Mountain to each of his other novels and essays.

    Novels are found in many forms, including heavily reworked manuscript drafts or significant manuscript fragments, typescript drafts with his often copious manuscript annotations, and even dramatic adaptations of Giovanni's Room. Draft manuscripts and typescripts of his poetry and his important reviews are also present. In addition, the archive contains reel-to-reel tapes, audio cassettes, and other audio media awaiting discovery.

    The James Baldwin archive was acquired through the generosity of the Ford Foundation, Katharine J. Rayner, James and Morag Anderson, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and New York Life. Support for processing has been provided by the Arcus Foundation.

    This acquisition places the Schomburg Center as the premier institution for research into James Baldwin's intellectual, cultural, and social life.

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    Eccentric Orbits Book Cover
    The latest book from John Bloom

    A few months back I hosted an author talk at Mid-Manhattan Library for John Bloom's latest book Eccentric Orbits: The Iridium Story. It was a fascinating look at a project that few know about, but which provides a life-saving communication tool used the world over. When I chose to host the program it was due to the topic, but when I began looking into it I discovered that I actually knew about the author as well, just under his television personality's name: Joe Bob Briggs, the host of Joe Bob's Drive-In Theater on TMC and TNT's Monstervision.  

    Joe Bob's Drive-In Theater was The Movie Channel's highest rated show, and Joe Bob Briggs hosted it for over a decade. Just a few months after the show ended he popped up on TNT hosting Monstervision which ran for four years. He's written several books, appeared on more than 50 talk shows, and spent two seasons as a Daily Show commentator.

    I grew up without cable, but whenever I was babysitting or visiting people who had it I often tuned in to the excellently campy, gory and wonderfully weird late-night movies he hosted. Needless to say I was excited to meet the man who brought such entertainment to my life, and to ask him a few questions about his reading and writing habits.

    John Bloom at the NYPL

    What are you reading at the moment?

    Fear & Loathing Book Cover
    Thompson's Classic

    I just finished reading Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, but it wasn’t the first time I’ve read it. I consider it one of the top ten foundation works in American journalism, or at least the part of journalism that I think matters. I was asked by the Wall Street Journal to review a book called The Kingdom of Happiness: Inside Tony Hsieh’s Zapponian Utopia, by Aimee Groth, and the author claimed to be doing “gonzo journalism” in Las Vegas. She wasn’t. It turned out to be an uneven account of some privileged Silicon Valley people trying to create a mini-Brooklyn in downtown Vegas—to disastrous effect—and her approach was not at all “total immersion,” which is what gonzo requires. At any rate, I’m forced to read so much for work that there are always books that are waiting on me—what I want to be reading, as soon as I finish all the required stuff. Currently on that tantalizing waiting list are Debriefing the President: The Interrogation of Saddam Hussein by John Nixon, His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet, How the Hell Did This Happen?: The Election of 2016 by P.J. O’Rourke, and Buccaneer: James Stuart Blackton and the Birth of American Movies by Donald Dewey.

    Interrogation of Saddam Hussein Book Cover
    Up next, perhaps?


    What three books (or other media) do you keep coming back to again and again?

    Once every few years I read William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!, which I consider the greatest American novel. I was an English major at Vanderbilt University, which is steeped in southern literature, so maybe that affects my biases. And like all hopelessly geeky English majors, I always return to Shakespeare and Wordsworth. One of the great things about living in New York is that you can see Shakespeare performed by great actors, the way it was intended to be experienced.


    Much of your career was focused on “Drive-in Movies”. What drew you to this medium and was there one in particular that really grabbed your interest?

    I have a soft spot in my heart for The Grim Reaper, about a terrifying cannibal—well, not that terrifying—who lives on a Greek island and eats tourists. It was the first movie I ever reviewed for my “Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In”

    How the Hell Did This Happen Book Cover
    Pretty much 2016in a nutshell.

    column at the Dallas Times Herald. The Grim Reaper was originally titled Anthropophagous, but it was common practice at the time to change the titles of European horror movies to make them more America-friendly when they were released in grindhouses and drive-ins. You have to remember that, at the time I started writing about exploitation movies, they were totally ignored by the mainstream press. I reviewed them at the drive-ins of the Deep South, and a gay New York journalist named Bill Landis reviewed them in the grindhouses of 42nd Street for an outlaw publication called Sleazoid Express—and we were the only two critics who paid them any attention at all. They were considered expendable trash, beneath the dignity of newspapers and other media outlets, and in fact a New York Times critic named Janet Maslin actively campaigned against them. Fortunately some very far-sighted

    academics at Bowling Green State University had just invented the termpopular culture,” and over the next decade we would see the evolution in perception that persists to this day. I make movie presentations at theaters all over the country, and young people aren’t really aware of the censorship battles that had to be overcome for low-budget horror, sci-fi, action, youth comedy and martial arts flicks.

    You’ve written several books on movies, and recently one on the Iridium Satellite System. You’ve also been a reporter with writing ranging from sports to movies, and you were nominated for a Pulitzer for your work on 9/11. Does your process differ greatly depending on the subject at hand?

    The Buccaneer Book Cover

    I can’t really say it does. I’m a perfectionist, which is annoying even to me, and which is why it takes me so long to finish a project. I spend just as much time investigating the genesis of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre as I do studying the radiowave spectrum so that I can speak knowledgeably and succinctly about it in Eccentric Orbits. My first job as a writer was as an apprentice at the Arkansas Democrat in Little Rock when I was 13 years old, so my teachers were a lot of chain-smoking alcoholic old school types who often lacked even a high school education, but the thing they instilled in me was, “Remember, no matter what you’re writing about, somebody out there reading it knows more about it than you do. Don’t write it until you know it.”

    When you were writing Eccentric Orbits you had to read a lot of highly technical engineering documents. Did you do anything to prep yourself to digest such dense fare?

    Absalom, Absalom! Book Cover
    "The Greatest American Novel"

    It was like being back in college. Hitting the stacks. You settled into your cubicle and you didn’t come out until you’d read and digested a certain number of pages. Fortunately some of the characters in the book were extremely smart Ph.D.s in engineering, especially Ray Leopold, the principal inventor of the Iridium system. I would frequently call Ray and ask him about some esoteric matter that had to be put into lay terms. At one point he said to me, “John, you were an English major, right?” And I confessed that I was, yes. “Well,” he said, “when I was in high school I was a science geek—all I wanted to take was science courses—but they made me take English. Then when I went to the Air Force Academy I was an engineering major, but they made me take English. Then when I went to New Mexico State for my graduate degree they made me take more English.” I finally asked him what his point was, and he said, “My point is, how many engineering courses did they make YOU take?” And he has a good point. Knowing what I know today, I should have been forced to take at least one.

    Did libraries play a role in your research for your books?

    Profoundly Disturbing
    Previous work of John Bloom

    Yes, definitely. First of all, Rebecca Brock, the librarian for the Chapmanville, West Virginia, Public Library, has been my chief research assistant for my last three books, and that allows me to avoid Internet searches as much as possible. I think there’s an overreliance on the Web these days so we always try to go back to original source material. If we do use the Internet, it’s to locate books, articles and archives—we start out with a healthy mistrust of anything that originates online. Second, much of the material I used was released by the government pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request, and the documents were housed at the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas. I spent several weeks there going through several thousand pages of documents.

    What was your favorite behind the scenes moment from your shows?

    As you may know, we rarely had guests on my shows—MonsterVision on TNT, and Joe Bob’s Drive-In Theater on The Movie Channel—so most behind-the-scenes moments consisted of sandwiches in the break room! When we did have guests, our shooting pace slowed to a crawl and many of the actors were nonplussed by my practice of never shooting a second take. I was trying to keep a “live” feel to the show, since we were interrupting a movie, but when I would tell them, “We’re going straight through—if we screw up, we just soldier on,” they would freak out! And in many cases it was the most accomplished actors who would bristle at the no-second-take policy. If I had to choose favorite moments, though, it would be our “Scream Queens” promotions, because who doesn’t want to be surrounded by drop-dead-gorgeous actresses all day long?

    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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    We’re going weekly!  One week, Gwen and Frank will talk books, culture, and what to read next. On alternate weeks they’ll welcome a very special guest. Let us know what you think of this new format in the comments!

    This week: mesmerizing short stories, our Margaret Atwood obsession, and creepy/awesome young adult fiction.


    Subscribe on iTunes | Get it on Google Play


    What We're Reading Now

    Children of the New World : stories / Alexander Weinstein

    The Zombie Survival Guide: complete protection from the living dead / Max Brooks ; illustrations by Max Werner

    Oryx and Crake : a novel / Margaret Atwood

    The Robber Bride / Margaret Atwood

    Camp So-and-So / Mary McCoy

    Non-Book Recommendations

    You Must Remember This (Podcast) / hosted by Karina Longworth:  Secrets of the Golden Age of Hollywood!

    Amazon bookstores opening in New York

    13 Reasons Why on Netflix and the book by Jay Asher


    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!


    How to listen to The Librarian Is In
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    Madame Bovary, the debut novel of Gustave Flaubert, was first published serially from October to December 1856. In April 1857, when it was first published as a single-volume book, it became an instant bestseller. Clive James has written of it, "Everyone should read it. Everyone would read it, given a free taste." For many, it established a new era of storytelling, modern realism. For others, it represents the bourgeois novel. What is certain is that it has marked itself as one of the most generative novels of the 19th century; since its publication, it's been adapted to graphic novel form, opera, and several films. Today, we celebrate the importance of Madame Bovary by looking back at some of our favorite writers' opinions on Flaubert's best-known novel.


    1) Lydia Davis on Translating Madame Bovary in New York Magazine
    “You’d think, working from one text, that the translations have got to be fairly similar. But it’s amazing how different they all are. Some are fairly close, but then they’ll add a metaphor that Flaubert doesn’t have. And some are outrageously far away. Two of the most popular, Steegmuller and Hopkins—they’re not bad books. They’re well written in their own way. But they’re not close to what Flaubert did.”

    2) Nabokov on Madame Bovary in comparison to other novels in Lectures on Literature
    We may look in vain among the pages of Anna Karenin for Flaubert's subtle transitions, within chapters, from one character to another. The structure of Anna Karenin is of a more conventional kind, although the book was written twenty years later than Flaubert's Madame Bovary... From this account of the structure of Tolstoy's novel it will be seen that the transitions are far less supple, far less elaborate, than the transitions from group to group in Madame Bovary within chapters. The brief abrupt chapter in Tolstoy replaces the flowing paragraph in Flaubert. But it will be also noted that Tolstoy has more lives on his hands than had Flaubert. With Flaubert a ride on horseback, a walk, a dance, a coach drive between village and town, and innumerable little actions, little movements, make those transitions from scene to scene within the chapters. In Tolstoy's novel great, clanging, and steaming trains are used to transport and kill the characters — and any old kind of transition is used from chapter to chapter, for instance beginning the next part or next chapter with the simple statement that so much time has passed and now this or that set of people are doing this or that in this or that place. There is more melody in Flaubert's poem, one of the most poetical novels ever composed; there is more might in Tolstoy's great book."

    3) Julian Barnes on various translations of Madame Bovary in the London Review of Books
    "To compare several different versions of Madame Bovary is not to observe a process of accumulation, some gradual but inevitable progress towards certainty and authority (except in the occasional discarding of error); rather, it is to gaze at a sequence of approximations, a set of deliquescences. How could it be otherwise when almost every word of the French can be rendered in several different ways? Consider the moment when Emma, Charles and Léon are eating ice-cream in a café by the harbour, having walked out before the final scene of Lucia. Charles naively suggests that his wife stay on in the city to catch the next performance – an action which precipitates her affair with Léon. Charles addresses his wife (the banality of phrase contrasting with the recent flourishes of Donizetti) as ‘mon petit chat’. Marx Aveling has ‘pussy’, Mildred Marmur (1964) ‘my kitten’, Wall ‘my pussy-cat’, Hopkins ‘darling’, Steegmuller ‘sweetheart’, Russell and Davis ‘my pet’. Marx Aveling’s endearment would work then but sadly not now; Marmur’s is good; Wall’s brings in the slightly unwanted flavour of a bad Dean Martin movie; Steegmuller and Hopkins deliberately duck the felinity (you could argue that the French is already drained of it anyway); while Russell and Davis, mixing banality and distant animality, have found the best solution. Probably. At least for the moment. You can understand why Rutherford called translation a ‘strange business’ which ‘sensible people’ should best avoid."

    4) James Wood on the style of Madame Bovary in The New Republic
    "It is hard not to resent Flaubert for making fictional prose stylish—for making style a problem for the first time in fiction. After Flaubert, and in particular after Flaubert's letters, style is always mirrored, always self-conscious, always a trapped decision. Style became religious with Flaubert, at the same moment that religion became a kind of literary style, a poetry, with Renan. Flaubert himself admired Rabelais, Cervantes, and Molière as if they were beasts of mere instinct: "they are great… because they have no techniques." Such writers "achieve their effects, regardless of Art," he wrote to his lover Louise Colet in 1853. But Flaubert could not be free as those writers: "One achieves style only by atrocious labour, a fanatic and dedicated stubbornness." He was imprisoned in scruple, and he imprisoned his successors in scruple. He is the novelist from whom the Modern, with all its narrow freedoms, flows.

    5) AS Byatt on being terrified reading Madame Bovary in The Guardian
    Reading Madame Bovary for the first time was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life - at least up to that point. I was a very young woman - not even eighteen. I was au pair in the French provinces in the 1950s, and I read Madame Bovary in French, sitting in the furrow of a vineyard. I was like Emma Rouault before she became Madame Bovary, someone whose most intense life was in books, from which I had formed vague images of passion and adventure, love and weddings, marriage and children. I was afraid of being trapped in a house and a kitchen. Madame Bovary opened a vision of meaninglessness and emptiness, which was all the more appalling because it was so full of things, clothes and furniture, rooms and gardens. The worst thing of all was that it was the books that were the most insidious poison. Recently Madame Bovary appeared in a British newspaper listing of the 'fifty best romantic reads.' It was, and is, the least romantic book I have ever read. If I have come to love it , it is because now I am half a century older, and not trapped in a house and kitchen, I can equably sympathise with the central person in the book, who is its author - endlessly inventive, observant, and full of life."

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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.


    via Wikimedia Commons

    We Read...

    About the "bad girls" who changed the world and an Amy Tan reading guide. The Schomburg centered has acquired James Baldwin's papers. Kurt Vonnegut gave some writing advice. Can you tell the difference between poetry written by humans and poetry written by robots?  We have handwritten notes by Walt Whitman that you can see online. New Pulitzer winners have hung out on our podcast. Listen to Hilton Als and Colson Whitehead. Do you know what the Gatbsy effect is? This is how to get into John Steinbeck

    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. 


    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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    NYC Immigrant Heritage WeekHappy Immigrant Heritage Week! Since 2004, New York City has celebrated Immigrant Heritage Week around April 17, coordinated by the Mayor's Office of Immmigrant Affairs. April 17, 1907 is the date that New York’s immigrant receiving station, Ellis Island, saw its busiest day ever, processing a record 11,747 new arrivals in a single day. This year, New York City Immigrant Heritage Week is April 17–April 23.  Many free events celebrating our cultural diversity are scheduled for this week in NYPL branches and other locations throughout New York City.

    A great way to learn about and celebrate the histories and contributions of New York City’s diverse immigrant communities is by reading their stories. Here are some vivid representations of the New York immigrant experience in fiction,  as well as a few memoirs and biographies of New Yorkers past and present, who arrived here from all over the world and made their mark on our city.

    Please note that only books that take place partly in New York have been included, so many wonderful books about the immigrant experience, such as The Namesake by Jumpa Lahiri and We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo, are not on this list. Please recommend your favorite immigrant experience books in the comments section below.

    Memoirs and Biographies of New York Immigrants

    Very few of the immigrants who arrived at Ellis Island or at JFK International Airport have published their stories, so we are fortunate that some wonderful writers have shared their immigrant experiences in their memoirs. If you would like to listen to some first-hand accounts, Ellis Island's Oral History Project has been recording  the recollections of immigrants who passed through the immigration station between 1892 and 1954, and you can listen to hundreds of recordings online. Here are a few memoirs and biographies of immigrants who chose to make New York their home.

    The Other Half

    The Other Half: The Life of Jacob Riis and the World of Immigrant America by Tom Buk-Swienty; translated from the Danish by Annette Buk-Swienty (2008). Social reformer and journalist Jacob Riis was himself an immigrant from Denmark, arriving in New York in 1870 at the age of 21.




    Rise of Abraham Cahan

    The Rise of Abraham Cahan by Seth Lipsky (2013). Abraham Cahan, born in Vilnius, Lithuania and longtime editor of the Jewish Forward (Forverts), New York’s Yiddish language newspaper, also authored the classic immigrant novel, The Rise of David Levinsky (1917).





    97 Orchard

    97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement by Jane Ziegelman (2010) explores the food traditions and habits of five families who lived at 97 Orchard Street in the 19th century: the Glockers (Germany), the Moores (Ireland), the Gumpertzs (Germany), the Rogarshvskys (Lithuania) and the Baldizzis (Italy). 97 Orchard Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan is now the site of The Tenement Museum.




    Down These Mean Streets

    Down These Mean Streets by Piri Thomas (1967). In his classic memoir, Nuyorican poet Piri Thomas describes growing up on the perilous streets of Spanish Harlem in the mid 20th century.





    When I was Puerto Rican

    When I was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago (1993). The author tells the story of her childhood in Puerto Rico and her teenage years in New York in this coming of age classic. Her story continues in Almost a Woman.




    factory of facts

    The Factory of Facts by Luc Sante (1998). The author of Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York, whose family immigrated to New York when he was a child, travels to Belgium as an adult to explore his heritage and gain a better understanding of his dual identiy.




     a memoir

    Tis: A Memoir by Frank McCourt (1999). In the sequel to the international bestseller Angela's Ashes Frank McCourt describes his life in America, beginning in 1949 with his arrival in New York at the age of 19. His story continues in Teacher Man.





     an immigrant's story

    Purpose: An Immigrant’s Story by Wyclef Jean (2012). The rapper, songwriter, producer describes growing up in Haiti, Brooklyn and Newark, his rise to fame with the Fugees, and his involvement in politics and relief efforts in Haiti.





    Bird of paradise

    Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina by Raquel Cepeda (2013). Journalist, filmmaker, and writer Raquel Cepeda explores her Latin American roots in this memoir, the first to be published by a Dominican American.





     a memoir

    Little Failure: A Memoir by Gary Shteyngart (2014). Acclaimed novelist Gary Shteyngart, born Igor Shteyngart in Leningrad, recounts his experiences as a Russian-Jewish immigrant growing up in Queens in this moving and funny memoir.





    Not for everyday use

    Not for Everyday Use: A Memoir by Elizabeth Nunez (2014). Novelist and scholar Nunez returns to her mother’s deathbed in her native Trinidad. As she and her family prepare for the funeral, she reflects on her childhood under the British colonial system, her parents’ marriage, and her experiences as a college student and finally a distinguished professor in the United States.





    Undocumented: A Dominican Boy's Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League by  Dan-El Padilla Peralta (2015). At one point in his memoir Peralta, who came to the U.S. as the age of four and is now a professor of classics at Princeton, describes himself as "illegal alien, hoodrat, Dominican, classicist.” His story offers a window into the hardships faced by undocumented families.




    Love, loss, and what we ate

    Love, Loss, and What We Ate by Padma Lakshmi (2016). From her grandmother’s South India kitchen to her television chef stardom, Lakshmi explores food, family, and what home means in this memoir of her immigrant childhood and her life in front of the camera.




    Check out Mid-Manhattan's list We Are New Yorkers: Immigrant Memoirs and Biographies for additional titles, and suggest other books in the comments section below.


    The New York Immigrant Experience in Fiction

    These novels describe the experiences of immigrants who arrived in New York during the 19th and 20th centuries from many countries. Despite the different points of origin, these stories share many common themes, such as the struggle for survival in a new and unfamiliar place, feelings of alienation, a search for identity and community, and often, hopes for the future and the next generation.

    NYC Immigrant Fiction 1

    Maggie, A Girl of the Streetsby Stepehn Crane (1893). An Irish immigrant family struggles to survive on the Bowery in late 19th century New York.

    Bread Givers by Anzia Yezierska (1925). On Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the daughter of an Orthodox rabbi rebels against her immigrant father’s view of what a young Jewish woman should be.

    Call it Sleep by Henry Roth (1934) recounts the experiences of an Austrian-Jewish family living on the Lower East Side in the early 20th century.

    Christ in Concrete by Pietro Di Donato (1939) examines the sometimes brutal life of Italian immigrants in lower Manhattan in the 1920s.

    NYC Immigrant Fiction 2

    Brown Girl, Brownstones by Paule Marshall (1959). A young woman comes of age in a close-knit community of Barbadian immigrants in Depression era Brooklyn.

    The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Loveby Oscar Hijuelos (1989). Two musician brothers leave Cuba in 1949 and dream of becoming Mambo stars in New York.

    How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents  by Julia Alvarez (1991). A family moves from the Dominican Republic to the Bronx in the 1960s, and a linguistic and cultural gap develops between generations.

    Typical Americanby Gish Jen (1991). Three Chinese students become permanent immigrants in New York during the Communist Revolution.

    NYC Immigrant Fiction 3

    Breath, Eyes, Memoryby Edwige Danticat (1994). A twelve-year old girl confronts culture shock and painful family secrets when she leaves her village in Haiti to rejoin her mother who has been living and working in New York.

    Native Speaker by Chang-rae Lee (1995). Becoming a "native speaker" is not so simple for a Korean American man who tries to assimilate into mainstream American society but has been raised with different cultural norms.

    The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon (2000). Joe Kavalier escapes from Prague in 1939 and creates comic superheros with his Brooklyn born cousin, Sammy Clay.

    The Russian Debutante's Handbook(2002) by Gary Shteygart. A young Russian immigrant finds his way in late 20th century New York.

    NYC Immigrant Fiction 4

    Brooklyn: A Novel by Colm Tóibín (2009) tells the story of a young woman who emigrates from Ireland to New York in the 1950s.

    Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok (2010). A young girl straddles two worlds—stellar student at school and sweatshop worker at night—when she emigrates from Hong Kong with her mother.

    Open Cityby Teju Cole (2011). A young Nigerian doctor wanders the streets of New York, listening to other immigrants’ stories and reflecting on his own.

    Behold the Dreamersby Imbolo Mbue.(2016). The future looks bright for a Cameroonian couple who find work with wealthy Wall Streeters until the financial crisis of 2008 changes everything.

    Check out Mid-Manhattan's list We Are New Yorkers: The New York Immigrant Experience in Fiction for additional titles. And please feel free to suggest other books in the comments section below.

    One Book, One New York


    The very first One Book, One New York selection, Americanah by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, is also a powerful novel of immigration and return that has a few brief scenes set in New York. 




    A previous version of this post was published in April 2015.

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    Trailblazers is hiring summer counselors and support staff to work with youth.  All positions include room and board. If you are at least 19 years old, willing to work in an outdoor environment and want to make a difference in children's lives, apply today. For information please call the Brooklyn Office  at 212-529-5113.

    Stage NYC: Line Cook Training Program is a new, no-cost culinary training program designed to meet the growing demand for qualified kitchen employees in New York City's  restaurants while simultaneously increasing access for young adults looking to start their careers in the culinary arts. To be considered for this opportunity registration  is required.  If you meet the minimum qualifications for the program, Stage NYC will follow up to provide you with the date, time and location of an orientation session.

    The Tile, Marble and Terrazzo Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee Local Union #7 of NY & NJ will conduct a recruitment from April 24, 2017 through October  20, 2017 for five marble carver, cutter and setter apprentices; five terrazzo worker apprentices, three tile, marble and terrazzo finisher apprentices, and five tile setter apprentices.  Applications will be available at the International Masonry Institute, 12-07 44th Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101 from 8:00 am to 8:30  am .  Applications and exams are done on the day of application.  Doors open at 8:00 am,  there will be no admittance after 8:30 am.  Processing will be until 10:00 am. Applications will not be accepted by mail.

    The Chinese-American Planning Council Workforce Development Division offers education, training, placement, and post placement support services to job seekers. Job training programs include BuildingWorks Pre-ApprenticeshipTraining, Hospitality Careers and LVMH Fundamentals in Luxury Retail Training.

    Career Development  workshop on Monday, April 17, 2017, 12:30 - 2:30 pm at Flushing  Workforce 1 Career  Center, 138 60 Barclay Ave. 2nd Floor, Flushing, NY 11355. This work is for all interested jobseekers and dislocated workers to  expand their view of qualities that they offer potential employers.

    Basic Resume Writing  workshop on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 1:30 - 3 pm at Brooklyn Workforce 1 Career Center, 250 Schermerhorn  Street,  Brooklyn, NY 11201.  Participants will learn the purpose of a resume, chronological and combination resumes and select the appropriate type for their specific needs.

    SAGEWorks  workshop - On LinkedIn But Not On LinkedIn on Wednesday, April 19,  2017, 6 - 7:30 pm at SAGE Center, 305 7th Avenue, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10011.   For more information call 212-741-2247 x224.  SAGEWorks assists people  40 years and older in learning relevant, cutting-edge job search skills in a LGBT-friendly environment.

    Americare will present a recruitment on Thursday, April 20,  2017, 10 am- 2 pm CMS -485 Clerk  (3 openings), Aide Service Coordinator (3 openings), at Flushing Workforce 1 Career Center, 138-60 Barclay Avenue, 2nd Floor, Flushing , NY 11355.  By appointment only.

    Spanish Speaking Resume Writing  workshop on Thursday, April 20, 2017, 12:30 - 2:30 pm. at Flushing Workforce 1 Career Center, 138-60 Barclay Avenue,  2nd Floor, Flushing, NY 11355.  All interested jobseekers will learn to organize, revise and update resumes.      

    Job Postings at New York City Workforce 1.  Job Search Central

    Apprenticeship Opportunities in New York City.

    Brooklyn Community  Board 14: Available jobs

    The New York City Employment and Training Coalition (NYCE&TC) is an association of 200 community-based organizations, educational institutions, and labor unions that annually provide job training and employment services to over 750,000 New Yorkers, including welfare recipients, unemployed workers, low-wage workers, at-risk youth, the formerly incarcerated, immigrants and the mentally and physically disabled. View NYCE&TC Job Listings.

    Digital NYC is the official online hub of the New York City startup and technology ecosystem, bringing together every company, startup, investor, event, job, class, blog, video, workplace, accelerator, incubator, resource, and organization in the five boroughs. Search jobs by category on this site.

    St. Nicks Alliance Workforce Development provides Free Job Training and Educational Programs in Environmental Response and Remediation Tec (ERRT). Commercial Driver's License, Pest Control Technician Training (PCT), Employment Search and Prep Training and Job Placement, Earn Benefits and Career Path Center. For information and assistance, please visit St. Nicks Alliance Workforce Development or call 718-302-2057 ext. 202.

    Brooklyn Workforce Innovations helps jobless and working poor New Yorkers establish careers in sectors that offer good wages and opportunities for advancement. Currently, BWI offers free job training programs in four industries: commercial driving, telecommunications cable installation, TV and film production, and skilled woodworking.

    CMP (formerly Chinatown Manpower Project) in lower Manhattan is now recruiting for a free training in Quickbooks, Basic Accounting, and Excel. This training is open to anyone who is receiving food stamps but no cash assistance. Class runs for eight weeks, followed by one-on-one meetings with a job developer. CMP also provides Free Home Health Aide Training for bilingual English/Cantonese speakers who are receiving food stamps but no cash assistance. Training runs Mondays through Fridays for six weeks and includes test prep and taking the HHA certification exam. Students learn about direct care techniques such as taking vital signs and assisting with personal hygiene and nutrition. For more information for the above two training programs, email:, call 212-571-1690, or visit. CMP also provides tuition-based healthcare and business trainings free to students who are entitled to ACCESS funding.

    Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW) trains women and places them in careers in the skilled construction, utility, and maintenance trades. It helps women achieve economic independence and a secure future. For information call 212-627-6252 or register online.

    Grace Institute provides tuition-free, practical job training in a supportive learning community for underserved New York area women of all ages and from many different backgrounds. For information call 212-832-7605.

    Please note this page will be revised when more recruitment events for the week of April 16 become available.

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    Pop culture isn't always kind to librarians. So, in honor of National Library Week, we thought we'd pick half a dozen of our favorite library workers -- good and evil and in between -- and give them some fictional performance evaluations, complete with numerical rankings.

    Did we miss your favorite? Think we're totally off-base and Madam Pince is actually awesome? Let us know in the comments.
    Image via NBC.

    Tammy, Parks and Recreation

    Nick: The librarians of Pawnee, Indiana get a seriously bad rap around town, and since Leslie Knope avoids her local branch at all costs, we don’t get to see a lot of Tammy in action. Her cruel mind games with ex-husband Ron don’t speak well for her helpfulness, but based on her manipulative streak and her wicked attitude, I can definitely see her recommending a good thriller or romance novel. Plus, I’m just a big Tammy fan.

    Gwen: Tammy reminds me of one of those dogs that’s so ugly, it’s cute. She’s such a terrible librarian, she’s great! But she is indeed terrible. We don’t get to see too much of her actually doing with her job, but she also… doesn’t seem to do it much. Or at all. And Leslie hates her -- and all librarians -- so deeply and intensely that you have to give Tammy credit for inspiring that kind of loathing.

    Nick’s rankings:

    • Knowledge: She certainly knows a lot about Ron Swanson’s inner life, and that’s not something most researchers can say. 4/5.

    • Helpfulness: She gets extra points because Leslie does things like this and I feel bad. 3/5.

    • Enforcement of library policies: With all the time she spends tormenting people, does she even have the time? 2/5.

    • Overall: 3/5.

    Gwen’s rankings:

    • Knowledge: Good point, Nick. 4/5.

    • Helpfulness: Remember that time Ron ran screaming from the library with a thumbtack stuck in his head? Does she treat her other patrons better? 0/5.

    • Enforcement of library policies: She does cook up that scheme for the library to take over the lot that used to be The Pit, even if it’s not for the right reasons! I think an expansionist agenda counts as a policy. 3/5.

    • Overall: 3/5.


    Parks and Rec on DVD

    Our favorite Leslie Knope library gif

    Mary (Parker Posey), Party Girl

    Nick: Parker Posey’s character in Party Girl isn’t *technically* a librarian, but she comes damn close! Her journey from irresponsible club kid to the  branch’s fastest shelver is downright inspiring. She even does a good job enforcing library policies – except the one about, um, “doing research” with her boyfriend in the stacks after hours.

    Gwen: That first shelving montage is enough to any library worker swoon, and we’ve all experienced Mary’s reaction to the sometimes-Sisyphean tasks related to library materials. And who hasn’t wanted to ride a book cart down an empty hallway? Mary is all of us!

    Nick’s rankings:

    • Knowledge: By the end of the movie, 5/5.

    • Helpfulness: 4/5.

    • Enforcement of library policies: 4/5. That famous tirade goes a *bit* overboard, but it's all for the right reasons!

    • Overall: 4.5/5. 

    Gwen’s rankings:

    • Knowledge: 5/5. Great at Dewey, shelving, research, and much much more.

    • Helpfulness: 4/5.

    • Enforcement of library policies: 5/5, all for her takedown of a hapless guy who mis-shelves a book. “You’ve just given us a great idea. Why are we wasting our time with the Dewey Decimal system when your system is so much easier? “We’ll just put the books anywhere! Hear that, everybody?” Yessssss.

    • Overall: 5/5. I’m rounding up for Judy, who is also (sometimes) awesome in her own right.

    Image via the Harry Potter wiki.

    Madam Pince, Harry Potter

    Gwen: This one has always pained me deeply. Madam Pince is the embodiment of every bad librarian stereotype… she’s a total control freak, she values her books over her patrons, she looks intimidating and mean, she loses it when she finds food in the library. And she shushes! We’re SO not into shushing anymore.

    Nick: Agreed. Perfect example: when Harry was trying to figure out how to breathe underwater for the Triwizard Tournament, he would have had a way easier time discovering Gillyweed if he’d had a helpful librarian to point him in the right direction. But instead, he had Madam Pince. Gwen, why do you think she had to be so strict?

    Gwen: Aha! Jo Rowling said that Pince “sprang directly from [her] childhood fear of scary librarians. The kind who hate kids.” Well, that explains it.

    Gwen’s rankings:

    • Knowledge: She’s scary, but she knows her stuff. 4/5.

    • Helpfulness: Madam Pince, you give us a bad name. 0/5.

    • Enforcement of library policies: She was a stickler for the rules. She hexes library books to protect them, and she loses her mind when she thinks students have defaced them. 4/5.

    • Overall: 1/5 -- and the 1 is only because we’re jealous of her super-cool collections.

    Nick’s rankings:

    • Knowledge: 3/5 -- if she is indeed an expert, it's something we rarely get to see in the series.

    • Helpfulness: 0/5. I'm sorry, but it's just true.

    • Enforcement of policies: 5/5 – probably the reason she got into the job.

    • Overall: Not a good look for librarianship, Irma. 1/5.


    The 700+ Potter-related items in our library collections

    music man
    Image via NYPL's Digital Collections, from the Friedman-Abeles Photograph Collection.

    Marian the Librarian, The Music Man

    Gwen: Buttoned up, literally and figuratively, Marian Paroo is the quintessential prim, proper, small-town librarian in the hit musical from the 1950s and ‘60s. She embodied her role as the keeper of her small town’s knowledge, and at first, she aggressively shunned the con-man who tried to woo her at her workplace (not cool) by appealing to her identity as a librarian:

    … when I try in here to tell you, dear
    I love you madly, madly, Madam Librarian… Marian!

    It's a long lost cause I can never win
    For the civilized world accepts as unforgivable sin
    Any talking out loud with any librarian
    Such as Marian...

    Nick: I’m sorry, but I have to say that I’m just not a fan. I just don’t think Marian’s librarianship is enough a part of her character – I mean, sure, she reads classic books, but most of her songs are just about falling in love… Not all librarians are lonely! Plus, her attitude about literature is a little elitist, no?

    Gwen: Okay, sure, she’s too focused on the classics, but at least she’s consistent with her embrace of everything old-school librarian. Look at her aesthetic… the buns, the high-collared blouses, the frothy skirts, the tiny rimless glasses. In the original 1962 film, her library is beautiful and ridiculously impractical, with circular staircases and narrow balconies and rolling ladders and book elevators (!!).

    Nick: I guess I can get down with her fashion sense, but that library definitely needs a redesign.

    Gwen’s rankings:

    • Knowledge: Seriously dedicated. 5/5.

    • Helpfulness: Another overenthusiastic shusher, but Harold Hill and his cronies deserve it. And she’s also really kind to kids and other patrons, and she shelves and stamps enthusiastically. 3/5.

    • Enforcement of library policies: She’s very upset about the misuse of library resources… although she does dance with the circ desk. 3/5.

    • Overall: 4/5. She’s a classic.

    Nick’s rankings:

    • Knowledge: Very well educated in classics, but… not much else? 3/5.

    • Helpfulness: 3/5.

    • Enforcement of library policies: Dancing is SO not allowed in the library! 2/5.

    • Overall: Overrated. 2.5/5.


    The original film and Broadway cast recording

    Music Man photos in NYPL’s Digital Collections

    Rabid Librarians, Welcome to Night Vale

    Gwen: Members of the library staff in Night Vale -- the fictional town of the funny, satirical podcast and book franchise -- are like no other. Unmatched in sheer violence, these librarians once made all the doors and windows disappear from Night Vale’s library building to demonstrate their extreme commitment to library services. Especially notable is their dedication to the summer reading program, which all librarians know takes a truly special kind of effort. They’ll stop at nothing to make sure every citizen is reading. Literally nothing, including death of themselves and others.

    Nick: You may not agree with their bloodlust, but those librarians get results! Their commitment to spreading literacy around the town of Night Vale, especially in the face of opposition from the sheriff’s secret police, is impressive. That’s what librarianship is all about.

    Gwen’s rankings:

    • Knowledge: Citizens of Night Vale have to hide in a book-proof bunker to escape the expertise of these librarians. 5/5.

    • Helpfulness: Oh, they’re helpful, all right. 5/5 for sheer persistence.

    • Enforcement of library policies: Is forced imprisonment considered a policy? 5/5.

    • Overall: 5/5. Too risky to give them anything lower.

    Nick’s rankings:

    • Knowledge: 5/5.

    • Helpfulness: 4/5 – a really helpful librarian develops repeat readers, which you can’t do if your summer reading participants lead a rebellion to overthrow you and escape the program.

    • Enforcement of library policies: Can we give 6 out of 5?

    • Overall: So hardworking, but not my favorites. 4/5. *Scurries into book-proof bunker, locking door behind him*


    The Summer Reading episode, No. 28

    Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor (plus the audiobook -- the best way to listen)

    Welcome to Night Vale episodes, volume 1 and volume 2, by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor

    Rupert Giles, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    Gwen: Nick and I aren’t Buffy people (I know, I’m sorry) and we originally weren’t going to include Giles on this list, but our colleagues freaked out, so we had to add him.

    Nick: I’ll try to do him justice – give me some background, Gwen!

    Gwen: So Giles was a librarian at Buffy’s high school, and he served as her mentor and protector. His library sounds awesome; his collection “seems to focus more on ancient demonology and weaponry than it does high school texts” so he gets major points for supporting the particular needs and interests of his patrons.

    Nick: Also, as Buffy’s Watcher and frequent helper in her quest to defeat evil, he has a much closer relationship with his patrons than most other librarians on this list. That shows he really cares about fostering a local community of researchers/demon-slayers.

    Gwen’s rankings:

    • Helpfulness: Points deducted for doing all that demon-related research himself instead of facilitating his students’ skills. Not helpful in the long run. 2/5.

    • Enforcement of library policies: The library gets completely destroyed on more than one occasion. But then again, patron safety comes first! 4/5.

    • Overall: 4/5.

    Nick’s rankings:

    • Knowledge: When it comes to the occult, you have to know your stuff. 5/5.

    • Helpfulness: He literally puts his own life in danger to stand up for his patrons! That’s gotta be a 5/5.

    • Enforcement of library policies: The library gets destroyed?! No! Come on, Gwen! Also, according to my research, it sits over a Hellmouth – now that’s just irresponsible. 1/5.

    • Overall: 3.5/5


    So much Buffy stuff in NYPL’s catalog, including the original DVDs, scripts, and graphic novels.

    International Librarians Network on Rupert Giles

    The actor who played Giles on “Buffy as a Feminist Parable


    Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend. And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for more recommendations!

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    We always know it will come; yet, when it happens, it is unexpected. That is the paradox of death. We all experience death in one way or another, be it the loss of a family member, friend or neighbor. Talking about death and explaining it to children, however, can be difficult. These ten suggested novels—fiction and nonfiction—can assist families in starting that conversation, help children sort out their feelings, and ease the grieving process.   

    Death is stupid

    Death is Stupid, written and illustrated by Anastasia Higginbotham

    Higginbotham provides a frank view on death and the complex emotions grief can bring up.  The author minces no words in showing how many of the things people say to comfort children at a funeral, such as “don’t cry,” or “I know how you feel,” doesn’t make children feel better. Instead, she tells readers that “remembering lasts” and suggests ways for children to keep connections to their deceased loved ones, such as reading similar books and treasuring what they held dear.   


    Where do they go?

    Where Do They Go? By Julia Alvarez, illustrated by Sabra Field

    This rhyming poem strives to answer a child’s inquiry about where people go when they die. Many questions are posed in this picture book and the child ultimately draws to the conclusion that loved ones can be found in “surprising new places,” such as “in the smile on faces” and “in the sun as it sets when the long day is done.” 


    Always remember

    Always Remember, by Cece Meng, illustrated by Jago

    After Old Turtle takes his last swim, all of the other sea creatures reminisce on all the wonderful things he did for them and how he made “his world a better place” by being a kind teacher and a good supportive friend. Even though this picture book focuses on animals, the overarching sentiment expressed – the actions one takes in life is what is most important – is transcendent.


    When a pet dies

    When a Pet Dies, by Fred Rogers, photographs by Jim Judkis

    Pets are part of the family, too, and it can be confusing for young children to deal with their feelings when these furry, feathered or scale-covered loved ones die. TV educator Fred Rodgers explains in simple language the concepts of death and a funeral.  He also reassures families that it’s okay to feel sad, mad or frustrated, and the best way to deal with their complex emotions is to talk with loved ones.


    The dead bird

    The Dead Bird, by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Christian Robinson

    A group of children come across a dead bird and they decide to hold a special burial for the animal. Brown is straightforward in her description of what the children observe when they examine the bird and the impromptu funeral shows their compassion and kindness.




    Cry heart, but never break

    Cry Heart, But Never Break, by Glenn Ringtved, illustrated by Charlotte Pardi

    Death personified visits a house to take a grandmother away while siblings Nels, Sonia, Kasper and Leah conspire to stall him with coffee. Unlike most portrays of Death, this character is kindly and he has a heart “as red as the most beautiful sunset and beats with a great love of life.” Death tells the children a story, and through his words, they come to understand the important role he plays in the world.  




    Stones for grandpa

    Stones for Grandpa, by Renee Londner, illustrated by Martha Aviles

    A young boy visits the cemetery with his family for the unveiling of his grandfather’s tombstone one year after his death. As the family places stones on the tomb as a symbol of remembrance, following Jewish custom, the boy thinks about time with and without his grandpa. The lively pictures illustrate the boy’s joyful memories of Grandpa Duke, and the book shows how love and sadness can coexist.   


    Aunt Mary's rose

    Aunt Mary’s Rose, by Douglas Wood, illustrated by LeUyem Pham

    A rosebush cared for by several generations of one family provides a way for Aunt Mary to share stories with young Douglas about his deceased grandfather, father and uncle. The biographical picture book paints a loving portrait of how connections to past loved ones can be made in the present through the simple act of tending a plant.



    Charlotte's Web

    Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White, pictures by Garth Williams, artwork by Rosemary Wells

    This beloved story of a friendship between a spider and farm pig is the classic children’s book about death. Charlotte’s kindness and efforts to save her friend Wilbur from being killed for food still resonates today and offers families the opportunity to discuss the cycle of life.






    The Crossover

    The Crossover, by Kwame Alexander

    Twin basketball players Josh and Jordan “JB” Bell are the stars of their middle school team. Older children and tweens can read multiple interlinking poems about the high points and low points the brothers undergo over the course of a year while their father, former basketball star Chuck Bell, denies and ignores his growing health problems. Reading about the way the Bells struggle with and ultimately come to terms with a family death could be cathartic for other children and tweens who have experienced a similar loss.




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    A new miniseries adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s all-too-relevant 1985 classic, The Handmaid’s Tale, hits Hulu next week, and The New York Public Library’s copies are flying off the shelves. (The story of an anti-woman totalitarian dystopia also won our Literary March Madness competition last month.)

    Whether you’re waiting for your copy from the library or you’ve already read the Atwood classic and are looking for a good follow-up, we have a few suggestions.


    The Children of Men by P.D. James 

    Another sci-fi tour de force by a consummate writer, this tale of a near-future society in which all men are infertile has direct echoes of Atwood's work. 

    This book is: bleak, character-driven, menacing, richly detailed.






    The Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz

    In a dark Kafka-esque version of present-day Egypt, citizens are forced to wait in an endless line for an authoritarian power — “The Gate” — to take care of their most basic needs.

    This book is: bleak, fast-paced, intricately plotted.






    Oryx & Crake (and the rest of the MaddAddam series) by Margaret Atwood

    Try Atwood's more recent dystopian novels: Her subsequent forays into science fiction build a very different world than Gilead in The Handmaid’s Tale. This trilogy deals with a post-apocalyptic future, science, ethics, and the decline of humanity... and it's also a bit funny.

    This book is: darkly humorous, disturbing, fast-paced, reflective, thought-provoking, witty.




    The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

    This book is an interesting counterpoint to The Handmaid's Tale— neither a dystopia nor a utopia, but an alternative imagining of history. After Cora escapes from the plantation where she's lived all her life, she has to run from a brutal slave catcher and search for a safe place to land.

    This book is: compelling, disturbing, stylistically complex, thought-provoking.



    Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor

    The world powers that control the planet's nuclear future — and the alien race that makes contact with the residents of Earth — have distinctly creepy dystopian echoes in this sci-fi thriller.

    This book is: action-packed, atmospheric, lyrical, intricately plotted.





    The Herland trilogy by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

    Gilman sets up the inverse of Atwood’s world: an all-woman utopia. The books were published over a century ago, and parts of the book feel dated, but the ideas are well worth investigating.

    This book is: allegorical, idea-driven.





    Life After Lifeby Kate Atkinson

    In this creative work of alt-history, Ursula Todd is born in 1910 and dies over and over again, until she comes back as the protagonist the world needs her to be.

    This book is: haunting, intricately plotted, melancholy.






    The Chaos by Nalo Hopkinson

    A fantastical YA tale about identity, power, and oppression in a world that’s losing its mind. 

    This book is: descriptive, offbeat, plot-driven.







    Passion of the New Eve by Angela Carter

    A truly original work of allegory and storytelling, this radical novel begins in a dystopian New York City populated by gigantic fertility goddess and an all-female biker gang, calling gender dynamics and identity into question.

    This book is: disturbing, lyrical, offbeat, steamy.





    When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

    Like The Handmaid’s Tale, Jordan’s dystopian novel uses the color red as a symbol inspired by The Scarlett Letter. Hannah Payne is forced to become a “Chrome” — her skin has been turned red to shame her for having an abortion.

    This book is: compelling, fast-paced, thought-provoking.


    Have trouble reading standard print? Many of these titles are available in formats for patrons with print disabilities.

    Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend. And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for more recommendations!

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    Welcome to our biweekly update on events happening during the next two weeks at The New York Public Library. With 92 locations across New York City, a lot is happening at the Library. We're highlighting some of our events here—including author talks, free classes, community art shows, performances, concerts, and exhibitions—and you can always find more at If you want our round-up in your inbox, sign up here. We look forward to seeing you at the Library.  

    Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

    4/22: Beyond Marriage, Beyond Equality: LGBT civil rights movements have won notable victories and made great strides in recent years. But what's next? Scholars and activists come to the Library to discuss the goals and strategies of LGBT political movements moving forward in two compelling talks: "Beyond Marriage" and "Beyond Equality." Organized by Martin Duberman. 12 PM.

    5/1: Future Perfect: Recording the History of NowLongtime contributors to The New York Review of Books Ian Buruma and Mark Lilla discuss "Democracy and Demagogues" with Sam Tanenhaus, as part of this series on how writers and storytellers relate to current events. 7 PM.

    5/2 and 5/9: Jelani Cobb: The Half-Life of FreedomJelani Cobb, staff writer at The New Yorker and professor at the Columbia Journalism School, delivers this year's Joanna Jackson Goldman Memorial Lectures on American Civilization and Government. On May 2, Cobb will give the first part of the lecture, "The Media and Alternative Facts." The second lecture, "Midnight in America: The Demagogues of American History," will take place on May 9. Admission to the two lectures is free, but you must reserve seats separately for each. 7 PM.

    The Schomburg Center

    4/24: Black Colonists: The African History of the Pre-Sugar CaribbeanThe Lapidus Center presents this talk from David Wheat, author of Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean, 1570-1640, which illustrates how African forced migrants became de facto colonists in Spanish Caribbean territory. He will be joined by historian Herman Bennett. 6:30 PM.

    4/27: Harlem Premiere: A Hug for Harlem: The Harlem Chamber Players bring Jeff Scott's piece, A Hug for Harlem, to the Schomburg Center for its Harlem premiere. 6:30 PM.

    5/1: Theater Talks: Sweat with Lynn Nottage:Lynn Nottage discusses her newly minted Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Sweat, set in the rust belt town of Reading, Pennsylvania as economic downturn leads to racial unease and community breakdown. 6:30 PM.

    Library for the Performing Arts

    4/22: Dialogues: Elie Wiesel, PlaywrightIn commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day, rediscover Elie Wiesel's works as a playwright with an afternoon program of Remembrance Readings from A Jew Today. 2:30 PM.

    4/27: International Contemporary Ensemble: Collecting Chaya CzernowinThe International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) comes to the Library for an interactive concert, where vocalist Tony Arnold will perform a world premiere of a new work by Chaya Czernowin. 7 PM.

    4/28: Library Listen Fest: Antique Electronica: Explore the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound holdings of "Antique Electronica," electronic music from the 1950s and 1960s, celebrating the legacy of Pauline Oliveros. 7 PM.

    Science, Industry and Business Library

    4/28: Financial Planning DayThe Science, Industry and Business Library is hosting its biannual Financial Planning Day, featuring a full day of workshops, lectures, seminars, and more from 10 AM to 5 PM. Learn all there is to know from experts on financial planning, from investing to healthcare, and get familiar with the Library's resources to help you plan wisely for your financial future. 

    4/18: The World Economy and Financial Markets TodayKarin Kimbrough discusses how important political changes both in the US and abroad will affect the world's economy and financial markets. 6 PM.

    Around the Library

    5/1: Law Day 2017: Transforming American DemocracyThe Library hosts a series of conversations, activities, and workshops at different branches around New York  to celebrate the role of law in our society and to cultivate a deeper understanding of the legal profession. This year's theme is The Fourteenth Amendment: Transforming American Democracy. Various times and locations.

    Get Event Updates by Email 

    Want NYPL Now in your inbox? Sign up for our biweekly e-newsletter and get even more updates on what's happening at the Library. Plus, you can follow NYPL Events on Facebook or Twitter.

    More Events

    Note: Visit or call ahead for the latest information, as programs and hours are subject to change or cancellation.



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    Ever heard of a constructive discharge? That's when an employer makes an employee's work experience so miserable that any reasonable person would leave under the circumstances. If a worker can legally prove that s/he was forced to resign for this reason, s/he can obtain monetary unemployment benefits. Documentation is the main proof that holds up in a court of law. Emails, letters and audio recordings of bullying behavior can help plaintiffs win their cases. Better yet, if the staff member can prove that s/he was discriminated against for a class that is protected by law (race, gender, disability status, etc.), a discrimination lawsuit is much more likely to be successful, either in or out of court.

    Berating an employee in front of other staff members, continually criticizing the person for minutiae, openly yelling and screaming, sending nasty emails, relegating the employee to menial tasks, mocking the target either directly or indirectly by gossipling with staff and/or customers, and making the person's life unnecessarily difficult in a myriad of ways are all the stuff of workplace bullying.

    Victims of bullying tend to possess the following characteristics: they are competent at their work, often having received accolades from their former supervisors and positive performance reviews they have collegial relationships with their co-workers; they are older or more expensive than counterparts; they show initiative and independent thought; and they do not participate in office politics.

    Good news: there are strategies that one can use to fight back. Ask the bully to clearly define expectations. If they are presented verbally to you, send an email recapping the conversation to confirm that you understand and to create a paper trail. Simply walk away if the person starts screaming at you. Seek out personal counseling services in order to deal with the emotional shrapnel created by such a toxic environment. You can also ask the union for assistance, if you have one. If you cannot resolve the situation on your own or with a lawyer and obtain better treatment, seek alternate employment opportunities for your own health and well-being. No one deserves to receive maltreatment at work.

    When You Work For a Bully: Assessing Your Options and Taking Action by Susan Futterman, 2004


    I was somewhat surprised by the prevalence of bullying in the workplace. The author reported about a 20% prevalence in general in the workplace, 28% in the medical field, and 33% in the legal field.


    books about bullying

    National Association of People Against Bullying

    Stop Bullying


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    The New York Public Library recently published a blog post about favorite fictional librarians. I'm a librarian who plays music—and the drummer in my group is also a librarian—which got me thinking about songs about libraries and librarians. I came up with this list of ten songs about libraries and librarians (researched at the library). Suggest your own favorites in the comments section below.

    1. "Karen" / The Go-Betweens

    The Go-Betweens / David Nichols.
    The Go-Betweens  / Nichols, David.

    Formed in Brisbane, Australia in 1977, The Go-Betweens featured the twin talents of singer-songwriters Robert Forster and Grant McLennan. The group released 9 albums between 1981 and 2005. The Forster penned hymn to a librarian named Karen was the b-side to the group's first single 1978's Lee Remick. This song  is the only one I know that  praises a librarian's readers advisory skills. Forster sings:

    Helps me find Hemingway
    Helps me find Genet
    Helps me find Brecht
    Helps me find Chandler
    Helps me find James Joyce
    She always makes the right choice.

    You see what I did there? We just can't help ourselves!

    Go-Betweens (Musical group)

    Go-Betweens (group)

    2. "Young Adult Friction" / The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart 

    A lot of songs that mention libraries seem to be about things happening in the library that are not strictly study related. I couldn't find a single song about, say, bibliographic instruction or collection development. But that's OK. In their song "Young Adult Friction," New York City indie-poppers The Pains of Being Pure at Heart sing about an activity taking place in the library that should not be taking place in a library. Sex and libraries in songs is a common theme. Characters are either hanging around the library before going somewhere to do their courting, or are hoping for a date (or more!) from the sexy librarian. The lyrics to "Young Adult Friction" refer to "stacks" and "microfiche," and there is a pun on Young Adult Fiction, so bonus points to The POBPAH. Knowledge of library terms also suggests that this group might have spent some time in the reading room. 

    Pains of Being Pure at Heart (Musical group)

    Photograph through center hallway of the stacks
    Stacks at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building are closed. So no Pains of Being Pure at Heart-style shenanigans here. Image ID: 2006656

    3. "Library Rap" / MC Poindexter and the Study Crew  

    Enough with all this bookish indiepop. It's time for some bookish rap, albeit pretend rap. As I write this I am working from the reference desk, so can't listen to this tune in order to discern it's musical qualities, but I heartily endorse the sentiment in this sample of the lyrics.

    The silence is golden
    To books I am beholden
    I know I'm bad,
    'Cuz of the knowledge that I'm holdin'!

    And I give you one warnin'
    There will be no repeats:
    Get out of my face
    While I'm readin' my Keats. 

    I 'd not heard of MC Poindexter and the Study Crew, so I did some searching online. It would appear that this song  appears in the 1990s science fiction show Sliders, in an episode called Eggheads (Season 1, Episode 7). MC Poindexter is actually actor Mark Poyser. Fittingly enough, the episode in question is available to borrow on DVD from The New York Public Library. So you can see and hear for yourself! 

    Sliders. First and second seasons.

    4. "Lost In The Library" / Saint Etienne

    Taken from their 1999 Japan only album The Misadventures of Saint Etienne (could I be more obscure?) by the English dance pop group of the same name, Lost in the Library is an instrumental song. So I cannot be sure whether it is about losing oneself in a world of knowledge, of books, prints and photographs, archive folders, and microfiche, or a song about struggling to find the geography section. Or perhaps it's about a quiet existential crisis in the reading room? Whatever, it's a plangent, acoustic piece whose mood is most relaxing. Quiet calming. Like the library.

    Saint Etienne (Musical group) Performer

    Young Adult, Margaret Scoggin
    Is that a young Devo seeking readers advisory from  Margaret Scoggin, YA librarian at the 58th Street branch?  Image ID: 1151159

    5. "Thee Ecstatic Library" / Comet Gain

    Esoteric musical choices are a necessity in this post as I'm steering clear of library clichés, as mentioned, so I have to take what I can find. It appears that most of the songs in this selction are by acts you probably haven't heard of. Some are new to me too. Oh well. We're here to experience new things. Comet Gain, a British indie band founded in 1992,  recorded this song for their 2011 LP "Howl Of The Lonely Crowd." I love the idea of a psychedelic library, where everyone is ecstatically happy, high on the new things they discover. I'm not sure that's what this song is about , but that's not my problem. The song says "Music will save you again and again." Which is a good thing. Where can you find music? In the library. So logically the library can save you again and again. And it does. If you think about it.

    6. "At the Library" / Green Day

    All life happens in the library. Green Day is not a band I am very familiar with despite their being much the most well-known act in this post. This song seems rather jolly. I say seems... the protagonist, too shy to talk to the girl he has a crush on, sees her leave the library with her boyfriend. But he's not bitter. He hopes maybe they'll meet again someday. Maybe that'll be in the library?  He's already in the right place to kill time. This song is from the group's 1990 release 39/Smooth. You can read about, and listen to Green Day using materials held by The New York Public Library.

    About Green Day (Musical group)

    By Green Day (Musical group)

     "So This is Love"
    Many songs are about finding love in the library... Image ID: 1252869

    7. "French Navy" / Camera Obscura 

    Spent a week in a dusty library
    Waiting for some words to jump at me

    I was sure Scots twee legends Belle and Sebastian would have written a song about libraries and librarians, but it seems I may have been wrong. Perhaps a keener fan will know? Fellow countryfolk popsters Camera Obscura do, and seem to have had more luck with love in the library than Green Day, as described in the song French Navy, taken from their 2009 LP My Maudlin Career. Sitting in the library. Looking for some inspiration. Suddenly! Love happens! We can't guarantee love will happen in your library, but if you don't go looking for it, you never know what you might find. More microfiche? Not sure how much work these love-struck folk are getting done, but hey, what better place to meet people? 

    Camera Obscura (Musical group) 

    8. "Swinging London" / The Magnetic Fields

    I read your manifestos and your strange religious tracts.
    You took me to your library and kissed me in the stacks.

    Hmm. Perhaps I am being unrealistic expecting to find lots of songs about collection development, the Dewey Decimal System, and Library of Congress subject terms? Yes. I am.  Whether the narrator in this song was taken to a public library I'm not sure. I hope so. This is another sweet song that involves a library. That people are going to libraries is what matters. Use it or lose it people! This is one of The Magnetic Fields more electronic sounding songs.

    Magnetic Fields (Musical group)  Performer

    Stack maintenance
    Librarians preparing to provide reference at a poorly lit rock concert.

    9. "Library Card" / Frank Zappa 

    Library bar-code, PE label
    Student must carry this card at all times,
    And present upon demand for identification
    This card are not while currently [enrolled pony]

    You may be liable for any unauthorized use of this card prior to notifying the used card office
    In writing, of possible unauthorized use due to loss or theft
    I agree to comply with all library regulations
    And to assume responsibility for all use made of this card

    Wow. This ain't no Carpenters. Possibly not a song about library cards. I sense something more sinister is afoot. "Students must carry this card at all times" suggests some kind of authoritarian dystopia, as if the library card has ceased to be your free pass to a world of knowledge, and has become a means of control by the state. Perhaps it's a critique of education? Of Western teaching? I'm not sure. Hmm. Too surreal for me. You can make your own mind up by using your New York Public library card to request materials by and about Frank Zappa: there's lots to choose from. By the way, if you are worried about privacy issues and your NYPL library card you can review The New York Public Library's Privacy Policy.

    By Zappa, Frank

    About Zappa, Frank

    10. "Lisa Librarian" / Velocity Girl

    I'd heard of this song from my bandmate, the drumming librarian whose name is Lisa. This is the first time I've actually heard this tune. I was thrown because I thought Velocity Girl, out of Washington, D.C. (1989-1996) had a female singer. Which they did usually, one Sarah Shannon. But this is a chap. I clearly need to listen to more Velocity Girl. The recording is a sort of shoegazey meets Pavement affair. Like most shoegaze music, it's quite hard to make out what the words are from the muffled singing, but...

    I'd like to tell you something
    But I have to think of something first

    I want to visit you at work
    It is all quiet
    It is so quiet at work

    These are the best lines in the song, and the most pertinent to libraries. Our hero needs some inspiration to help him think of something to tell the librarian. How about an icebreaker first? He could borrow from Robert Forster. "What do you have by Hemmingway? Can you recommend a book by Genet? Brecht? Chandler? James Joyce?" I'm sure Lisa, like Karen, will make the right choice. 

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    The New York Public Library Podcast features your favorite writers, artists, and thinkers in smart talks and provocative conversations. Listen to some of our most engaging programs, discover new ideas, and celebrate the best of today’s culture.

    Get it on iTunes | Get it on Google Play

    Gary YoungeIn April and May, the podcast is presenting special interviews with the five finalists for the Library’s Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism. Today’s episode features the second of those five interviews, with Guardian editor-at-large Gary Younge. His book is called Another Day in the Death of America: a Chronicle of Ten Short Lives.

    Between 2003 and 2015 Gary was a U.S.-based foreign correspondent for the Guardian, first in New York and then in Chicago. He traveled the country, covered three presidential elections, and wrote four books about American life and history. Another Day in the Death of America is his most recent. Its premise rests on this statistic: every day, on average, seven children and teens are killed by guns in the United States. “Firearms are the leading source of death among black children under the age of nineteen,” Gary writes, “and the second leading cause of death for all children of the same age group.” And yet, “Far from being considered newsworthy, these everyday fatalities are simply a banal fact of death…a confluence of culture, politics, and economics that guarantees that each morning several children will wake up but not go to bed while the rest of the country sleeps soundly.”

    The book picks one day—November 23, 2013, a few days before Thanksgiving—and sets out to tell the stories of every young person who died from gun violence in a 24-hour period around it. There were ten. The exact date was not entirely random—he chose a Saturday because it is over the weekend when young people are more likely to be shot—otherwise the choice was arbitrary. What emerges from those 24 hours isn’t just a collection of ten seemingly isolated tragedies. Gary also presents the panorama of those cultural, political, and economic forces whose influence on gun violence in America, he argues, can’t be overlooked.

    How to listen to The New York Public Library Podcast
    Subscribing to The NYPL Podcast on your mobile device is the easiest way to make sure you never miss an episode. Episodes will automatically download to your device, and be ready for listening every Tuesday morning

    On your iPhone or iPad:
    Open the purple “Podcasts” app that’s preloaded on your phone. If you’re reading this on your device, tap this link to go straight to the show and click “Subscribe.” You can also tap the magnifying glass in the app and search for “The New York Public Library Podcast.”

    On your Android phone or tablet:
    Open the orange “Play Music” app that’s preloaded on your device. If you’re reading this on your device, click this link to go straight to the show and click “Subscribe.” You can also tap the magnifying glass icon and search for “The New York Public Library Podcast.” 

    Or if you have another preferred podcast player, you can find “The New York Public Library Podcast” there. (Here’s the RSS feed.)

    From a desktop or laptop:
    Click the “play” button above to start the show. Make sure to keep that window open on your browser if you’re doing other things, or else the audio will stop. You can always find the latest episode at

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    When her middle school homework seems hard, Krystin has a new skill: asking for help. She's part of an NYPL after-school program called Innovation Labs at Westchester Square Library. There, she tackles the homework challenges of the day with tutors and, when the work is finished, unleashes her creativity by writing a blog about her passion: saving endangered sloths.


    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.Krystin Gonzalez, MS Innovation Labs student, Westchester Square


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    naturalization NYPL
    Naturalization ceremony at NYPL
    Applying for citizenship can be an exciting time for many immigrants. New York Public Library understands that  it is a complicated and costly process that can be challenging to complete. On May 20,2017 , Mid-Manhattan  Library will be hosting an all-day Citizenship Fair. The event will take place between 11 AM – 3 PM on the 6th floor. The fair will feature local and government agencies, ready to assist new Americans with their citizenship applications. This free program is open to the public. Representatives from federal, state, and city agencies will be on-site offering presentations and workshops to help residents learn more about the resources available to manage the citizenship application, its cost and submission. Presentations include:
    • Financing the Application by the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, 
    • An overview of the process and requirements for qualifying and studying for the exam by U.S. Citizenship and, Immigration Services 
    • Citizenship Eligibility and Application process with Lutheran Social Services of New York
    • Getting started with Citizenship works by Immigration Advocates Network
    If you are unable to come to the fair, please keep in mind that The New York Public Library offers a wide-range of services to assist New Yorkers with their citizenship needs, including the recently-launched NYCitizenship, which provides legal services and financial counseling at select libraries in the five boroughs, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.
    For more information about what’s available at the Library, please visit  NYPL's Immigrant Services Page.
    Co-Sponsors:  Immigration Advocates Network,, Single Stop, NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, Lutheran Social Services of New York, District Attorney of New York County,  Cabrini Immigrant Services, New York Legal Assistance Group,  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, New York Immigration Coalition, NALEO Education Fund, Chinese Progressive Association 
    La Biblioteca Pública de Nueva York presenta la Feria de la ciudadanía en la Biblioteca Mid-Manhattan el 20   de  Mayo  2017.
    Copatrocinadores: El Centro, Immigration Advocates Network, New Women New Yorkers, Single Stop, NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, Lutheran Social Services of New York, District Attorney of New York County, Unlocal, Cabrini Immigrant Services, New York Legal Assistance Group, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, New York Immigration Coalition, NALO Education Fund.
    La Biblioteca Pública de Nueva York (NYPL) ofrecerá una feria de información para obtener la ciudadanía de los Estados Unidos con la participación de varias agencias locales y gubernamentales. Este evento es completamente GRATIS.
    Representantes de diversas agencias sin fines de lucro estarán presentes para ofrecer charlas, información y ayuda acerca de los requisitos para hacerse ciudadano, tales como llenar el formulario, información sobre el coste y cómo prepararse para el examen. Las presentaciones tocarán los siguientes temas:
    • Financiamiento para envío del formulario, presentado por la Oficina de la Alcaldía de Asuntos de Inmigración (Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs - MOIA)
    • Descripción general del proceso y los requisitos necesarios para solicitar la ciudadanía, presentada por el Servicio de Ciudadanía y Migración de los Estados Unidos (USCIS)
    • Revisión general de los requisitos y del proceso de naturalización, presentada por los Servicios Sociales de la Iglesia Luterana de Nueva York (Lutheran Social Services of New York)
    • Introducción a la ciudadanía con la aplicación Citizenshipworks, presentado por la Red de Defensa de Inmigración (Immigration Advocates Network)

    La solicitud a la ciudadanía puede ser un gran momento para muchos inmigrantes, pero a la vez es un proceso complicado, costoso y difícil de llevar a cabo. La Biblioteca Pública de Nueva York (NYPL por sus siglas en inglés) ofrece una gran variedad de servicios para ayudar a los neoyorquinos en el proceso de naturalización. Por ejemplo, el recién lanzado programa de ciudadanía de la Ciudad de Nueva York (NYCitizenship), el cual ofrece servicios legales y de consejería financiera a todas las personas, completamente gratis. Este programa se ofrece en bibliotecas selectas de los cinco condados. Para obtener más información sobre la ayuda disponible en las bibliotecas, visite la Página de Inmigrantes de NYPL.


    La Bibliothèque Publique de New York pour une fois va offrir un séminaire sur la Citoyenneté Américaine à la Bibliothèque Mid-Manhattan le 20 May , 2017.

    Coparrainants: Co-Sponsors:  Immigration Advocates Network,, Single Stop, NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, Lutheran Social Services of New York, District Attorney of New York County,  Cabrini Immigrant Services, New York Legal Assistance Group,  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, New York Immigration Coalition, NALEO Education Fund, Chinese Progressive Association 
    La Bibliothèque Publique de New York (NYPL) pour une fois seulement va offrir des informations sur la citoyenneté durant toute la journée à la Bibliothèque Mid-Manhattan le 25 juin. Les agences locales et les agences gouvernementales seront présentes pour aider les nouveaux Américains avec leurs demandes de citoyenneté. Le programme est gratuit, ouvert au public, et se tiendra en anglais.
    Des représentants des agences fédérales, des agences étatiques, et des agences de la mairie seront présents pour faire des présentations et des ateliers pour aider les résidents de profiter des ressources disponibles pour faire la demande de citoyenneté, pour payer sa coût et pour réussir à l’examen. Les présentations comprennent:
    • Financement de la demande avec Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs
    • Un aperçu sur la procédure et les conditions nécessaires pour faire la demande de citoyenneté avec U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
    • Admissibilité de citoyenneté et la procédure pour en faire la demande avec Lutheran Social Services of New York’
    • Introduction à la citoyenneté avec l’appli “Citizenshipworks”, un atélier avec Immigration Advocates Network

    La Demande de citoyenneté peut être un grand moment pour beaucoup d'immigrants, mais il est un processus complexe et coûteux qui peut être difficile à achever. La Bibliothèque Publique de New York offre une large gamme de services pour aider les New-Yorkais avec leurs besoins en matière de citoyenneté. Ceci inclut le programme (récemment lancé) appelé NYCitizenship, qui fournit des services juridiques et des conseils financiers dans certaines bibliothèques dans les cinq arrondissements, en partenariat avec le Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. Pour plus d'informations sur ce qui est disponible à la bibliothèque, veuillez visiter le site la Page des Immigrants de NYPL

    B субботу, 20  2017 , Мая  в отделение Мид-Манхэттан, городской библиотеки г. Нью-Йорка, состоится информационная ярмарка по получению гражданства США.

    АДРЕС:  библиотека Мид-Манхэттан: 455 Fifth Avenue

     Представители городских и государственных служб проведут ряд занятий и  семинаров по ознакомлению с существующими вспомогательными ресурсами  о 
    процессе натурализации в США.  Cписок семинаров:

    • Льготные методы оплаты подачи заявления на гражданство США - oтдел мэрии по делам иммигрантов  (Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs - MOIA)

    • Kак подготовиться к экзамену на гражданство США -
      представит cлужба гражданства и иммиграции США (USCIS)

    • Кто имеет право получить американское гражданство. Общий обзор процесса натурализации. - представляет отдел социальных услуг Лютеранской Церкви в Нью-Йорке (Lutheran Social Services of New York)

    • Как начать процесс натурализации -  представляет cеть организаций по защите прав иммигрантов (Immigration Advocates Network)

    Если вы проживaете в  Нью-Йорке и заинтересованы в подаче заявления на гражданство,  Нью-Йоркская публичная библиотека предлагает вам широкий спектр услуг. В партнерстве с городским отделом по делам иммигрантов,  библиотека недавно открыла несколько центров  NYCitizenship . Наши центры предоставляют юридические услуги и финансовые консультации в ряде филиалов библиотек в пяти районах города . 
    Для получения дополнительной информации об услугах этих центров , пожалуйста, посетите /help/community-outreach/immigrant-services

    Oрганизаторы ярмарки:

    Co-Sponsors:  Immigration Advocates Network,, Single Stop, NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, Lutheran Social Services of New York, District Attorney of New York County,  Cabrini Immigrant Services, New York Legal Assistance Group,  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, New York Immigration Coalition, NALEO Education Fund, Chinese Progressive Association 


    This blog was co-written Vilma Alvarez and Marianna Vertsman

    All images are courtesy of NYPL

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