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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.

    Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Google Play

    This episode features a conversation convened by NYPL President Tony Marx on civics and politics. The aim of the Path Forward is to bring together thinkers from different background and with diverging political perspectives for frank and challenging discussions on complicated sociopolitical questions. To explore our age of anxiety, Marx invited New Yorker staff writer (and 2016–2017 Cullman Fellow) George Packer and National Review executive editor Reihan Salam.

    The theme of the talk takes its title from the W. H. Auden poem of the same name. Written during and after World War II, and published in 1947, Auden's longest poem is a complex—at times inscrutable—piece of writing. The four characters in it are all found grappling with their own unique anxieties around politics and progress in a world with which their own life stories are not exactly in lock step. Packer, Salam, and Marx explored the ways in which Americans today are similarly unmoored, and how it has impacted the personal and political decisions that we all are making.

    Age anxiety

    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:
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    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.” 

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    Carol got her start learning to read at The New York Public Library, thanks to her daughter, and now looks forward to reading to her grandchildren. Libraries empower people of all ages to make change through knowledge.

    Add your support NOW by sending a letter that calls on the Mayor and City Council to invest in libraries.


    Carol Darius, adult literacy student, Seward Park Library



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    In July of last year, one of our librarians, Arieh Ress, started a program called “Picture FlyerYourself Online!” in which he took headshots of patrons (and some staff too) so they would have a decent photo of themselves to use online and while job-hunting. I’ve been the program’s assistant since day one, and I sat down with Arieh and interviewed him about the program we’ve been running for nearly a year now.

    What made you decide to propose this program?

    I have a photography background: I’ve been messing around with cameras since I was a little kid, and spent a lot of time in my high school's darkroom.  For three years I was a photo assistant in a studio in Midtown, and I took headshots on the side. So when I started working at Mid-Manhattan and saw a call for new programs I thought I could put those skills to use.

    I teach several computer classes including Facebook, and I see people nearly every day using our computers who don’t have a good photo of themselves to use online. Either they don’t have a digital camera or a smartphone to take such a shot, or they don’t know how to get the pictures onto a computer or otherwise uploaded to the internet.

    There was also a third category: those with the means and the knowhow, but who just Arieh Ressdon’t have anything appropriate for getting work. Working in that studio I saw a lot of models looking for jobs using club shots or poorly framed selfies, and now it’s not just models that need a photo to get a job.

    I’ve seen this too in my Resume Open Labs. I was glad to see this program come together.

    Right! Everybody needs a photo of themselves to get work and have a successful online life at this point. LinkedIn and other job sites have a place for a photo, and even Facebook now has a job seeking/hiring feature on it. If you don’t have a profile pic you look like you either don’t know what you are doing or don’t care. Either way you aren’t going to be considered above people who have one.

    I was glad to have an assistant who understood why this was important too.

    What did you expect from it when you started?Staff Headshot

    I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I thought a few people might show up the first time and that it would grow from there. I thought it would mostly be regulars that came in.

    Our first night we actually had pretty good numbers though. While we did have a decent patron turnout, a lot of the people who came in were our co-workers who were curious about the program. Also a request had just gone out for everyone to upload a photo to our work gmail accounts. The program was a good way to get this done.

    It has taken off though. You even presented at a conference about it.

    Right, I did a Cybertour at the Computers in Libraries Conference in Arlington last March. There were several people in the audience who came up after and said they wanted to try to replicate it in their systems. One was from Florida and he agreed that it’s hard to get a job, not just modeling but any job, these days without a good photo. In fact according to him —I haven’t looked into this myself—anyone looking to get a government job in his state needs a photo of themselves on a blue background, so he’s going to try to get his library to buy one and they can provide Headshotthose photos.  It’s neat to think we might have started something that takes off actually changes people's lives across the country! *High fives interviewer unexpectedly*

    In June, I will be presenting a short session at the American Library Association’s annual conference in Chicago. I think it’s really cool that people are interested in the program. The more attention it gets the more the NYPL and libraries in general get, and that’s an excellent bonus.

    What do you hope the future holds for the program?

    We've sent out close to 400 photos in the eight sessions we've had so far which is pretty great. I want to keep that momentum going for sure though maybe not just in this one location.  There are areas served by NYPL where many people have been left on the wrong side of the digital divide. I’d like to take the show to them: the equipment is portable enough I could bring it to the other branches and do the program there.

    Maybe at first just a select few, but it would be really cool to visit every branch. I think if we played our cards right maybe a few local papers might pick up the story which would be excellent press for the program and for the library itself.

    Another idea I had was a book. Library Patrons of New York or something along those lines. Headshots of willing patron participants along with a blurb about what The New York Public Library means to them.

    I think it’d be pretty cool anyway, but for now I’m just happy the program has been doing well and that our patrons are finding it valuable.  

    Any tips you’d like to give in regards to photography or getting great headshots?

    I’d say take a look at what you have around you and go from there.In action! We bought a pop-up background for the program, but I used to take headshots of people in the park or in front of buildings or even stairwells that had interesting walls. Good lighting is key, so invest in a flash that isn’t just the one that comes attached to the camera, and get a diffuser too. If you can bounce the light it will help even things out a lot, so a flash that can be aimed in different directions and a simple reflective or even just white piece of cardboard the subject can hold to bounce light up works wonders.

    The other part of it, and sometimes the longer, harder part is the post-production work. I’ve been using Photoshop for half my life, so a lot of it comes naturally to me. We do have retouching classes available in the Mac Lab on the 4th floor of Mid-Manhattan. Usually I spend about 5 minutes on a photo (sometimes less, sometimes more) getting the contrast and levels just right and getting rid of any stains or lint on their clothes. To a point anyway: if they wear something covered in stains or something I’m not going to spend too much time on it. The actually tricky part is wrinkles though: no one wants to see themselves in true high definition because unless you have a baby-face you will have some circles under your eyes and crow's-feet and such. The trick is not removing them altogether which ventures into the uncanny valley, but in lessening them without making it look weird. If I do my job right no one knows I’ve done it at all.

    Picture Yourself Online! Returns in one June 7th and 12th at 7:30pm.
    Come to room 101 on the first floor for your free headshot!

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    Magazine covers

    In May, we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, a time to "join in paying tribute to the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America's history and are instrumental in its future success." We think every month is a time to remember and honor the rich traditions of Asian/Pacific America, so we're showing some love to the literary journals that celebrate Asian Pacific America year-round. These publications help us to discover emerging writers, recall the histories undergirding our present, and take pleasure in beautifully crafted writing. Whether you're looking for the next Gish Jen, interested in exploring adoptee culture, or want to attend to challenges of representation, these literary journals have got you covered.

    Hyphen Magazine


    "In 2002, spurred by the shuttering of a.Magazine, a small group of 20-and-30-something journalists and artists got together to fill the void by envisioning the kind of magazine we always wanted to read: a publication that would go beyond celebrity interviews and essays about discovering our roots, which we found a long time ago, thank-you-very-much... Hyphen issue 1, which paid tribute to Asian American activism, was published in June 2003. The cover depicted a woman sitting on a stack of suitcases by the side of a road, just under a sign that read, 'Welcome to Asian America, Population 11 Million.' Since then, our numbers have grown to 15.5 million. And in tackling issues of culture and community with substance and sass, Hyphen has also flourished, becoming a media must for savvy Asian Americans."

    A taste of the magazine: 

    "How much can you tell about me by just looking?... [T]here are the multitude of labels I place upon myself. I am a cartoonist, a writer, a costume player, a software enginee, married, turbaned, bearded, American, Sikh -- just to name a few. While all of these identifications are true, they don’t contain the essence of who I am. What defines me are not the identifications -- be they social, cultural, national, religious, or professional -- but the neverending transitions that breathe life into my existence."

    Where are you from?

    - from "Where are you from?" by Vishavjit Singh

    The Asian American Literary Review


    "The Asian American Literary Review is a space for writers who consider the designation 'Asian American' a fruitful starting point for artistic vision and community. In showcasing the work of established and emerging writers, the journal aims to incubate dialogues and, just as importantly, open those dialogues to regional, national, and international audiences of all constituencies. We select work that is, as Marianne Moore once put it, 'an expression of our needs…[and] feeling, modified by the writer's moral and technical insights.' Published biannually, AALR features fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, translations, comic art, interviews, and book reviews."

    A taste of the magazine:

    "Over the years, I have taught (and continue to teach) Rolling the R's in creative writing classes for the same reason I assign As I Lay Dying. As with all of my favorite books, when I share it what I actually want to share with people is that initial reading experience—the excitement, the enchantment, the exhilaration—which I hope will be sparked in them too. I wish I could share with them my jolt of recognition that came from seeing Filipino objects, family life, religious artifacts, and people in an American setting. Normally I can’t; but there are other fruits to this manuscript and its parts. I remember, the first time I read Rolling, being blown away by the bravery of an author being willing to put himself into a narrator's thoughts, to capture them so truly and honestly and to express them without fear that people would mistake them for his own." - from "Taking Them to Our Lady of Kalihi" by Brian Ascalon Roley

    The Margins


    "The Margins, the flagship editorial platform of the Asian American Writers' Workshop, is a bold new online magazine dedicated to inventing the Asian American creative culture of tomorrow. In an age when Asian Americans are relegated to sidekicks, whether in sitcoms or the corridors of power, we believe it's time to bring Asian Americans into the conversations that matter. We're thinking about Asian American identity in a way totally different from anyone else for a pan-racial, trans-cultural, truly world-spanning audience."

    A taste of the magazine:

    "When I was a teenager, my mother, mostly unprompted, would share snippets of her life with me. We would be listening to Khmer music on loop on our multi-disc CD player—classical wedding songs by the famous Sinn Sisamouth or Ros Serey Sothea, Khmer rock legends, or 90s synth versions of their classics—and she had associations for each of them, like the day she married my father in a weekend-long ceremony, or 'Chnam Oun 16' ('I'm Sixteen') for the nights she snuck out of the house to go dancing. There was rarely a Khmer song that she didn't know. This was her connection. And so it became mine, through the nostalgia it evoked of a time when I didn’t exist, when my mother was a relatively free young woman. My parents' wedding photos were destroyed during the regime so I have no images to refer to of their younger selves. This is why I fawn over old photos of my friends’ relatives, because they have versions of themselves in other decades; they can imagine themselves placed in a different period in time. At times I feel like my parents didn't even exist in that time." - from "Our War is on My Mind" by Sokunthary Svay

    Kartika Review


    "Kartika Review is an Asian Pacific Islander American literary arts journal that publishes fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, commentary on the writing and publishing, and author interviews. The journal launched in 2007 under Founding Editor Sunny Woan's guidance."

    A taste of the magazine:

    "In every woman's diary, the only month is May.
    She rings the buzzers of the beautiful
    until her fingers are blue.
    She locks god out of her mother's
    house, calls it a museum.
    She bleeds her father's mistresses,
    calls it perfume." - from "Fable" by Michelle Chan Brown

    Bamboo Ridge


    "Bamboo Ridge Press was founded in 1978 to publish literature by and about Hawaii's people. It currently publishes two volumes a year: a literary journal of poetry and fiction featuring work by both emerging and established writers and a book by a single author or an anthology focused on a special theme. Both the journal and book are available singly or by subscription. While special attention is given to literature that reflects an island sensibility, Bamboo Ridge is broad in scope and embraces a variety of work from writers across the nation. Some of our books have received recognition for literary excellence and for their contribution to the understanding and appreciation of Hawaii's cultures and people. Bamboo Ridge publications have been adopted as texts or recommended reading in high school and college classrooms and have found a diverse audience across the country. Work from Bamboo Ridge has been adapted for speech and storytelling performances, plays, and readings. Bamboo Ridge Press continues to nurture the voices of Hawai'i and celebrate our literary tradition."


    A taste of the magazine:

    "Just enough hope for me 
    to think that yes we can 
    do this 
    and do that 
    with all we have 
    or don't have 

    Just enough time for finish my poem 
    For da dis of da dat 

    Just enough space to write 
    All these thirty years 
    We did this 
    We did that " - from "Just Enough Shave Ice" by Jean Toyama



    "For the relaunch of DesiLit Magazine, we wanted to choose a new, more evocative, name — a name that evoked South Asia, but also the shared colonial history of South Asian nations and the contribution that South Asian languages have made to English, the primary language of our journal... Perhaps Jaggery will offer a path of connection between diaspora writers and homeland writers; we also welcome non-South Asians with a deep and thoughtful connection to South Asian countries, who bring their own intersecting perspectives to the conversation. Our hope with Jaggery is to create a journal that offers the best writing by and about South Asians and their diaspora. Dark, complex, intense — and hopefully delicious."

    A taste of the magazine:

    "1981 was a bad year for a Parsi to come to America. The Iran hostage crisis had left Americans with a smoldering resentment of foreigners. 'Go home!' Viraf was told.

    Not to his South Bombay stomping grounds: Marine Drive, Churchgate, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Cuffe Parade, Eros, CCI, Colaba. Not to Seth Building and his loved ones: Mum, Dad, Mamaiji—best not to even think of Maya.

    No. Go home to Iran. To a place he'd never seen.

    Go back a thousand years.

    Reverse his ancestors' voyage into the unknown, after the Arab invasion put Zoroastrianism to the sword. In wooden dhows, half a millennium before Columbus embarked for India, they’d sailed the Arabian Sea. Iran to India, Pars to Gujarat, migration in his blood.

    There would be no going home, no going back ever for the Parsis. Centuries of settling and moving and starting up again. Sanjan to Navsari, Navsari to Udvada, Udvada to Bombay. And now, after hundreds of years, India to America. Old World to New." - from "Hood," an excerpt of Go Home by Sohrab Homi Fracis



    "Eastlit is a site for:

    • Local Asian writers born and brought up in the region whose literature tell the stories of the region past and present. Asian writers who expose the culture, the people and the changes.
    • Writers who have moved to the region whose writing is either about East and South East Asia, or whose writing has been influenced by living in the region. Those who make a significant contribution to Asian literature or who are influenced by Asia and Asian literature.
    • Asian writers with ethnic roots in the region who have moved to or been born in other locations. Asian writers who want to explore or even reengage.
    • Writers from outside East and South East Asia who wish to connect with the region in a meaningful way.
    • Readers with an interest in the Asian literature of East and South East Asia that is written in English.
    • Publishers seeking new writers and works. Especially Asian writers or writers of Asian poetry, Asian fiction, Asian novels and creators of Asian art."

    A taste of the magazine:

    "The children love the stories of the most gruesome and always ask to hear about Pret, the giant, emaciated, insatiable spirits who feed on human excrement through pin hole mouths which immediately burns the inside of their throats or Krasue, the floating woman’s head with attached viscera that feed on sleeping men in the night. There is no shortage of specters. One legged vampires who roam the forest, eyeless children who extend their arms infinitely to search for lost mothers. There are banana and coconut tree ghosts, water ghosts, jumping Chinese ghosts; even the termites and buffaloes leave spirits behind in her stories." - from "Honeymonsters" by John McMahon



    "Mizna is an organization devoted to promoting Arab-American culture, providing a forum for its expression. We value diversity in our community and are committed to giving voice to Arab Americans through literature and art... Mizna continues to be the only journal of Arab American literature in the United States, and is currently in libraries, museums, and on coffee tables throughout the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East."

    A taste of the magazine:

    "Today, many artists are dealing with a crisis of conscience. They are grappling with the idea of using art as a platform to voice social injustices. 'Social art' has become increasingly prevalent in the context of a world experiencing more and more censorship in media. The debate that is happening now is about whether or not artists have the agency to actually promote change, and whether or not that responsibility should be put on the shoulders of the artist in the first place. Can art in fact make a difference and should we be placing that expectation on art? We find ourselves asking these questions within funding structures and an art economy that are also controversial, and at times an extension of the very issues we are addressing in our work. Who is funding and buying our work?" - from an interview with Heba Y. Amin

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

    Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Google Play

    Times Square 1914
    This is Times Square in 1914—can you believe it!? Image ID: 836171. New York Public Library Digital Collections.


    Our annual spelling bee,  words we can't pronounce, a trio of music recommendations, and of course what we're reading now.

    Guest Star:  Jay Vissers

    Book & Non-Book Recommendations

    Jay:  Front lines / Michael Grant

    Operas by Georg Handel

    Gwen:  North, south, east, west / by Margaret Wise Brown ; pictures by Greg Pizzoli

    book cover image

    Camp Lisa and more music by Lisa Loeb

    Frank:  The Art of Noise 

       gif:  zttrecords



    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

    Subscribing to The Librarian Is In 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 other Thursday 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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  • 05/18/17--08:51: Bronx Book Fair 2017
  • bronx beauty

    I was excited to attend the Bronx Book Fair for the first time on May 6, 2017. This is the fifth year of this event, which is held at the Bronx Library Center. I was interested to hear from editors, authors, agents, and library administrators about the world of books, publishing, and accessing materials. All of the sessions were enlightening. 

    Business of Writing

    Kevin Larimer, the Editor-in-Chief of Poets and Writers Magazine, spoke first. He offered advice for authors who are attempting to get their work published. If you find literary magazines that they are fans of, perhaps the magazines would like your work as well. Also, small presses that you like may accept your work. Check which publishing houses your favorite authors have been published in for ideas of where to submit your writing.  

    Michael Mejias is a literary agent. He told us that agents can help get your work published. They can guide your first draft so that it is presentable and more acceptable to publishing houses. Agents like to become your creative partners for this book and subsequent works. It is vital to learn to write a good query letter to entice agents or publishers to accept your work. Also, find an agent who works with your genre (eg. cookbooks, etc.)

    Bronx Book Desert?

    Robert Farrell from Lehman College moderated this panel. Melissa Cross Aquino (Bronx Community College), Noelle Santos, who is starting a literary and wine bar in the Bronx, Oren Teicher (American Booksellers Association (ABA) and Giselle Dixon (NYPL) participated in this conversation.

    Farrell asked the panelists if the Bronx is indeed a book desert.


    Santos responded with an emphatic yes. Dixon mentioned that there are 35 branch libraries in the Bronx, and that sometimes people say that the Bronx is a book desert as a buzz word.

    Farrell asked the participants to describe the relationship between bookstores and libraries. Why do we need bookstores?

    Teicher lamented the dearth of bookstores in the Bronx. However, the United States as a nation has far fewer bookstores than European countries. Libraries and bookstores share a similar mission: to expose the public to ideas. However, bookstores are businesses so they are looking to make a profit. Having small businesses in the community is valuable because the money generated from sales re-circulates in the neighborhood. 

    Aquino mentioned the fact that libraries were her second home as she was growing up in the Bronx. There, she learned to find books, love books, and find herself in books. However, at some point, she did not want to return the books. The sympathetic librarian told her about The Book Place, which was a bookstore around the corner. Bookstores add character to neighborhoods. At first, she was afraid of the electronic revolution and ebooks. However, her back started hurting with so many books in her pack, so she caved and started reading ebooks. 

    Farrell asked Santos what inspired her to want to open a literary bar.

    Santos relayed her work history as an accountant, which definitely comes in handy in terms of running a business. If she knew how much work it was going to be two years ago, she is not sure that she would have done it. However, it was very disappointing to her when Barnes and Noble left the Bronx since she lived at the store. Her first step was to contact ABA; they sent her a wonderful kit about how to open a bookstore, and she simply followed the instructions. She won second place in a New York start up competition. Then, she took a course in Florida for a week about owning a bookstore. There, she learned about investments and what skills she would need in order to make this happen. She is glad to have support from the Bronx, $150 K worth of support. She ran a crowd-funding campaign in order to raise the capital. She wants lenders to know that we have intellectuals in the Bronx and people who like to read.


    Farrell asked Dixon what the library is doing to promote reading.

    Dixon responded that early literacy is a big initiative in the library currently. She loves the library, but there is nothing like having your own books. She believes that the library and bookstores are partners. We can increase the bilingual collections, since we want to serve readers of other languages and encourage language learning. We offer social events where people discuss literature and writing programs to promote creativity.

    Farrell asked Teicher if bookstores are doing well.

    Teicher told us that individual bookstores in the United States have grown over the past seven years, but they face much online competition. Existing stores are expanding their markets to new audiences, and the new owners tend to be younger with better technological skills. This is a very competitive business, since it is hard to win people's leisure time. Readers tend to act differently at different times; sometimes, they prefer ebooks and at other times they want the satisfaction of holding a tangible print tome or browsing library bookstacks. 

    Aquino assigns online reading to her students in an online course. The class only meets in person once per month. She believes that people are besotted with over stimulation in today's social media environment. However, it is important to be quiet sometimes and get away from so much extraneous information. She likes Millenials because they are aware of what they want and need.

    Teicher mentioned research that finds people have greater retention from print than electronic materials.

    Farrell mentioned the important social aspect that a lit bar lends to the community.


    Santos did much marketing research to discover which visuals would appeal to her neighborhood. She wants to incorporate graffiti art in the interior to make people feel like they are in the Bronx. The wine is more of the social aspect. She wants to attract a younger crowd by incorporating hip hop into the place. She is a Millenial herself.

    Farrell asked her to speak about her 400-member book club.

    Santos related that part of her market research included discovering how much people would spend on books. She started a book club which turned into a monster. They have used meet-ups to meet in person. She plans to have a Mommy and me book club and other events to serve the needs of the community.

    Dixon was happy to relay the information that the library is capable of hosting such book club events. We have space to promote reading. 

    Aquino believes fervently that the Bronx definitely has a need and capacity for more bookstores. She looks forward to a time when she must choose from a plethora of options.

    Farrell asked Teicher to distinguish the qualities of successful versus unsuccessful bookstores.

    Teicher mentioned that more bookstores have recently popped up in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Population density definitely helps NYC in terms of potentially attracting customers.

    Santos entirely welcomes the competition, and she is happy to help other would-be bookstore owners get started. She knows that she cannot serve the entire Bronx. In Denver, there exists a community of bookstores. There, it is easier to get big-name authors because they can visit many bookstores in the area. She wishes to open by the end of 2017 in the Hunts Point or Mott Haven area.


    Kevin Young and Poetry

    Kevin Young, the director of the Schomburg Center, shared his poetry with us. He mentioned that the Schomburg recently acquired James Baldwin and Maya Angelou's papers. He read from his numerous books of poetry. One of his poems, Aunties, was about his family from Louisiana. Dear Darkness was a book that he started off by writing about memory, then it slowly morphed into a book of elegies. When his father died, he started writing more about food because it was a way to talk to his father. He grew up eating soul food, or just food, as they called it. He read more poems, including A Prayer to Black-Eyed Peas, Ode to Sweet Potato Pie, etc. Charity was a poem about cleaning up after his father's death, both literally and figuratively. I enjoyed his readings, which were full of emotion, and the man obviously has a way with words. His work was poignant and sweet.

    LGBTQ Literature

    This panel consisted of Imani Rashid, Meriam Rodriguez, Orlando Ferrand, and it was moderated by Charles Rice- Gonzalez (Hostos Community College).

    Rashid began with a dispiriting story of how her work was stolen by an editor. The names of the characters were changed. In fact, she even heard the story being read aloud on television, and it hurt her to hear the work being credited to someone else. Unfortunately, this experience caused her to give up writing for two decades. Luckily, she found solace in the ability to self-publish a work on the celebration of Kwanzaa.


    Rodriguez completed a unique challenge to write a novel in 30 days with Nano Wrimo. She says that it was definitely an interesting experience. At first, she did not know if it was possible to complete since it was so much work. However, she persevered, and she is proud of the accomplishment. Unfortunately, the pressure to finish in such a short amount of time really limited the quality of the work. Under a crunched time limit, creativity is not as free to develop and flourish. She prefers to self-publish so that she does not have to market her work to publishing houses.

    Ferrand previously worked at IBM as the Director of Communications. He speaks several languages, a skill which aided him in that job. He has found writing to be more helpful than all of the therapists in the world. Nowadays, self-publishing has become more acceptable, but he prefers to have a second set of eyes for his work.

    Overall, this event was an interesting look into the book world of the Bronx. This annual event occurs at the Bronx Library Center every spring. Hope to see you there next year!


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    This year, The New York Public Library celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism. The Bernstein Award honors working journalists whose books shed light on issues, events, or policies, such as this year's nominees, whose reporting addresses gun violence in America, the spread of cholera, and Syria. Helen Bernstein (Fealy) was a columnist, whose work often appeared in the Palm Beach DailyNews. This award was created in honor of Bernstein's strong support and appreciation of journalism and its role in our society. For over a century, The New York Public Library has built an important collection of journalistic works as evidenced by the current exhibition, Celebrating Excellence in Journalism: Freedom of Press in America, which displays materials ranging from coverage of the Pentagon Papers in the New York Times to a work by the 17th Century English poet John Milton that serves as a foundation to the First Amendment. In addition to our expansive print collection, patrons can explore the work of notable journalists using NYPL's electronic resources. In honor of Helen Bernstein, take a look at some of the work by famous women journalists from our databases.

    Ida B. Wells

    In addition to being a prominent civil rights and anti-lynching activist, Wells wrote a number of columns for the African-American newspaperThe Chicago Defender.

    The Chicago Defender, July 30, 1927 , ProQuest Historical African American Newspapers


    Dorothy Thompson

    A journalist who began her career in Germany, and was later expelled from the country for her articles on Hitler, continued her journalism career in the United States in print and on radio.

    Daily Boston Globe, August 27, 1934, ProQuest Historical Newspapers


    Francis Fitzgerald

    Fitzgerald provided extensive coverage of the Vietnam War, and authored the influential book Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam, for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1973.

    The New York Times, September 4, 1966 ProQuest Historical Newspapers


    Ethel L. Payne

    Payne became widely known as the "First Lady of the Black Press," and wrote widely about the Civil Rights Movement during the 1950's and 1960's and went on to build a career at CBS covering national and international news.

    The Chicago Defender, January 19, 1952, ProQuest Historical African American Newspapers


    Find More

    Anyone can read articles by these, and many other journalists, by exploring our many online collections of newspapers, periodical, and journals, below are just some of the e-resources NYPL patrons can access. This blog post was researched entirely using NYPL's electronic resources. With more than 500 online research options available, many accessible from home with a library card, we challenge you to go beyond the search engine and dig deeper online with NYPL.

    Historical Newspapers Databases

    America's Historical Newspapers | British Library Newspapers | ProQuest Historical Newspapers | Hispanic American Newspapers, 1808-1980 | Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers | ProQuest Historical African American Newspapers

    Contemporary Newspapers Databases

    National Newspaper Premier | New York Times (1851-2013) | Chicago Tribune | Washington Post | Ethnic News Watch | Independent Voices | PressReader

    World Newspapers Databases

    Newspaper Source (EBSCO) | South Asian Newspapers | Caribbean Newspapers (1718-1876) | African Newspapers (1820-1922) | World Newspaper Archive (1800-1922) | Times of London Digital Archive


    Flipster | Time Magazine | Life Magazine | The New Yorker

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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.

    Twins - Female twins with picture frame
    Twins - Female twins with picture frame

    We Read...

    Amazingly brave books written by LGBTQ authors from places where it is still illegal to be gay and summer reading recs from indie booksellers. Take a walk down memory lane. The 1980s have been captured beautifully. Dennis Lehane may share a favorite book with you. Hint: it's "great." We partnered with Esopus to bring you a gorgeous friendship album. Have you noticed that TV adaptations of books are being done in a whole new way? Anne of Green Gables may be a little different than you remembered her in the new Netflix series. George Packer and Reiham Salam discuss civic engagement and political unrest. What does it mean to be an artist and young African immigrant today?

    Stereogranimator Friday Feels:

    GIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator - view more at
    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. ​ Every other week, our resident book experts are live on Facebook giving book recommendations! Like our Facebook page, and every other Thursday at 3 PM EST you can watch live and comment to get a personalized book recommendation.

    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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    The Family Development Training and Credentialing Program (FDC)  at City Tech (CUNY) Workforce Development Center, is a major New York State initiative that provides frontline workers with the skills and competences they need to empower families. The FDC curriculum, developed by Cornell Univesity, consists of approximately 90 hours of intensive, interactive  classroom study and 10 hours of small group instruction in portfolio development.  For more information call 718-552-1121.

    Red Hook on the Road Training Program at Brooklyn Workforce Innovations helps unemployed New Yorkers start new careers in commercial driving.  After four  weeks of classroom and behind-the-wheel training, students are prepared to take the NYS Commercial Driver's License (CDL) road test.   For more information call 718-237-4846.

    If you love the great outdoors, here are  six career paths to consider: Atmospheric Scientists, including Meteorologists, Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Geoscientists, Hydrologists, Environmental engineering technicians, Forest and conservation workers.  You can learn about these occupations from the U.S. Department of Labor blog, Earth-Friendly Jobs, authored by David Terkanian, supervisor in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Projections Division.

    Community Access, Inc. will present a recruitment on Tuesday, May 23, 2017, 11 am - 3 pm for Front Desk Receptionist (5 openings),  Housing Counselor (5 openings), Painter - Floater (2 openings),  Senior Maintenance Mechanic -Floater (1 opening), Maintenance Mechanic - Floater (2 openings), Maintenance Worker - Floater (2 openings) at Upper Manhattan Workforce 1 Career Center, 215 West 125th Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10027.  By appointment only.

    Career Development workshop:  Job Finding Club  on Tuesday, May 23, 2017, 2 -4 pm at Flushing Workforce 1 Career Center, 138 60 Barclay Ave. 2nd Floor, Flushing, NY 11355.  This workshop is for all interested jobseekers and dislocated workers to form a weekly support group focusing on obtaining  job goals.

    Basic Resume Writing  workshop on Wednesday, May 24, 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.

    Career Development workshop:  Dealing  with Job Loss  on Friday, May 26, 2017, 11 am - 1 pm at Brooklyn Workforce 1 Career Center, 250 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201.  This workshop is for all interested job seekers to express their feelings.  Instructors will discuss the job loss stages of grief and will administer self assessment exercise.  For more information, please call (718) 613-3811. 

    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 May 21 become available.


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    The Pforzheimer Collection is a significant repository for the study of prominent British women of the ­eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and its materials by and about these women were spotlighted in a major 2005 exhibition at the Library, Before Victoria: Extraordinary Women of the British Romantic Era.

    In the last 12 years the Pforzheimer Collection has accessioned yet more materials by extraordinary women. To name just a few: an album containing original watercolors  by the novelist (and, briefly,  a lover of Byron's) Lady Caroline Lamb; six manuscript letters by Mary Shelley; and what is very probably a holograph fragment of Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Woman. This post, however, examines three recent acquisitions created by utterly obscure British women of the nineteenth century. In providing a bit of biographical context for the making of these items,  we bring to light some singular aspects of the lives of these ordinary women.

    Marianne Wing notebook of original poetry, 1834-1881

    Drawing from the Marianne Wing notebook of original poetry.
    Drawing from the Marianne Wing notebook of original poetry, probably done ca. 1834

    Marianne Wing was born about 1819 in the agricultural and textile town of Braintree, Essex about 45 miles northeast of London. The Wings were a family of silversmiths and watchmakers; by 1851, Marianne's brother, William, had a London shop at 163 New Bond Street. According to the 1836 dedication in her notebook of poems and prose meditations, it was he who encouraged the "firstlings of [her] Fancy," inspiring her to write.

    Wing's verses have quotidian subjects ("Home," "The Garden," "Friendship") and stale rhymes (shady hours/wildest flowers; beautiful earth/musical mirth), but are mildly interesting as original productions of a provincial English teenaged girl in the 1830s. In "The Forsaken," for instance, perhaps inspired by a real-life romantic rejection, her speaker, after swearing that all is forgiven, asks the reader to do her a favor after she dies: "Bid him glance o'er this face of paly hue / And whisper in his ear – She died for you."   

    Accompanying the poems are several finely-rendered drawings, mostly of birds and flowers. Some are beautifully colored and heightened with gilt.  

    The notebook was then laid aside for nearly 50 years before its writer, now the long-widowed Mrs. Abbott, added two final poems, dated 1880 and 1881, addressed to her grandchildren. These verses showcase her grandmotherly affection, but they are not entirely sweet.  She bids her eleven-year-old grandson: "Let duty stern for ever be / a guiding star through life for thee," and reminds her granddaughter, aged nine, that "Thy home is not here, / But waiting above."

    In 1889, at age 70, Marianne Abbott married again to James Raper, a 69-year-old carpenter. Two and a half years later, she was admitted to Peckham House insane asylum in Surrey, where she died within two weeks.

    Margaret Hudson receipt book, 1830-1950

    Margaret Hudson receipt book.
    Front cover of the Margaret Hudson receipt book.

    Margaret Hudson of Calcutta began writing entries in her reversed-calf-bound receipt book in September of 1830, well into the second cholera pandemic. Interspersed with recipes for Indian dishes  (Cashmerian chutney, Country Captain, fowl curry, kedgeree, etc.)  are four separate cures for cholera, and six  for dysentery. Also included are instructions for making ink, tooth powder, and furniture varnish; and cures for the cough, hydrophobia, snake bites, flatulence, and a mysterious ailment noted only as "Bleeding P---s."

    Born Margaret Williams on April 6, 1800, in Calcutta, her father, Robert Williams, was a prominent merchant and auctioneer. He died at sea in 1813, leaving his wife with no means to care for Margaret and six other daughters; charitable subscriptions were taken up in India, and donations were solicited in London.

    At age 16, Margaret married Nathaniel Hudson, a lawyer, with whom she had a number of children, the youngest being Emily (1836-1904) and Adeline Maria (1838-1911). The family moved to London sometime after Nathaniel's death in 1846.

    Emily and Adeline Hudson never married and continued adding to their mother's receipt book after she died in 1860. It was probably they who tipped in the few printed late 19th century London food-related advertisements, one listing ice cream recipes for use with the American Freezer, "shown in practical operation at The Atomospheric Churn Company."

    It is unclear who inherited the receipt book after Adeline died, but subsequent owners added a number of manuscript and printed recipes (from magazines like Woman's Own) dating between 1936 and 1950. The westernness and decadence of some of the 20th century recipes, three of which are illustrated with pasted-in photographic clippings (Coffee Nut Layer Cake, Chocolate Cake, and Roman Pie), provide a sharp contrast to Margaret Hudson's Bengali-influenced and survival-oriented entries in the early pages of the volume.

    Achmed and Athene (London: John Bennett, 1828)

    A scarce but not unknown book (Google Books version), Achmed and Athene; or, The Loves of a Turkish Youth and a Greek Maiden is an anonymous, orientalist Romeo and Juliet verse tale followed by nine shorter lyric poems. There are no solid textual clues as to the author's identity, though the speaker of the titular poem self-identifies as "Young – timid – inexperienc'd – and unknown." The Pforzheimer Collection recently acquired a copy of the book that has the following early penciled annotation, in an unknown hand, on the front free endpaper: The Author of this work was Miss Watson whose father was burnt in Plymouth Citadel.

    On March 12, 1836, Fort-Major James Watson, in his 70's, died in a fire at the citadel at Plymouth, along with his two young daughters, Marion and Elizabeth. Their three bodies – "mere shapeless cinders," as newspapers reported – were found huddled together in the cellar, having fallen through the bedroom floor during the conflagration. Among the family members who managed to escape with their lives were Watson's son John, who was blind, and his twin sister, Anne. If we accept the note in the Pforzheimer copy of Achmed and Athene, "Miss Watson" must have been Anne Watson, who would have been about 20 when the book was published.

    Lines from "To Ellen."
    Lines from one of the poems "To Ellen" that follows "Achmed and Athene."

    Anne and John Watson were born on the Channel Island of Guernsey. Five years after the fire, the twins were still living together in Plymouth, but  Anne married Thomas Manford, Esq., a clerk in the War Department in 1841. She apparently published no further books, and  died at Plymouth in 1874.

    Of the shorter poems which follow "Achmed and Athene," the most compelling are the two addressed "To Ellen." The ungendered speaker expresses an unrequited desire for the subject that causes "mingl'd pain and shame." If Anne Watson was in fact the author, these verses are a remarkably forthright declaration of romantic love for another woman. 

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    Alexander Pope.
    Alexander Pope. ID: 1817860

     May 21 marks the birthday of Alexander Pope, one of the most famous English poets of the 18th century. The author of The Dunciad and The Rape of the Lock, Pope is best known as a master practitioner of satirical and comic verse. In celebration of this forefather of humorous poetry, here are nine of our favorite poems that make us laugh, available in collections at your local library:

    Where the Sidewalk Ends

    "Sick" by Shel Silverstein

    Shel Silverstein, the celebrated children's poet and illustrator, has so many wonderfully funny poems that it's hard to choose just one. But our favorite from Where the Sidewalk Ends just might be "Sick," which famously begins:

    I cannot go to school today,
    Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
    "I have the measles and the mumps,
    A gash, a rash and purple bumps..."

    Miracle Fruit

    "What I Learned From the Incredible Hulk" by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

    One of the newer poets on this list, Aimee Nezhukumatathil is an acclaimed author and the poetry editor of Orion magazine. We love this poem of hers, from her 2003 volume Miracle Fruit, excerpted here:
    "When it comes to clothes, make
    an allowance for the unexpected.
    Be sure the spare in the trunk
    of your station wagon with wood paneling
    isn’t in need of repair. A simple jean jacket
    says Hey, if you aren’t trying to smuggle
    rare Incan coins through this peaceful
    little town and kidnap the local orphan,
    I can be one heck of a mellow kinda guy..."
    Return to the City of White Donkeys

    "Bounden Duty" by James Tate

    The late James Tate, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, was an exceptional comic writer with a gift for strange, surreal humor. His famous "Bounden Duty" is perfect example, beginning with an unexpected phone call:

                 "I got a call from the White House, from the
    President himself, asking me if I’d do him a personal
    favor. I like the President, so I said, “Sure, Mr.
    President, anything you like.” He said, “Just act
    like nothing’s going on. Act normal. That would
    mean the world to me. Can you do that, Leon?' "

    Alice in Wonderland

    "You Are Old, Father William" by Lewis Carroll

    Most everyone knows Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and the famous Jabberwocky, but our favorite funny poem of Lewis Carroll first appeared in Wonderland, when Alice first meets the Caterpillar and she recites "You Are Old, Father William," beginning:

    "You are old, Father William," the young man said,
    "And your hair has become very white;
    And yet you incessantly stand on your head—
    Do you think, at your age, it is right?"

    The Essential Etheridge Knight

    "Haiku" by Etheridge Knight

    Etheridge Knight, who is best known for his 1968 volume Poems from Prison, was also a master of haiku. Many of his haiku are very dark and evocative, inspired by his prison environment. But throughout his work, Knight displays a knack for finding humor in hardship, and this charming haiku is a perfect example of his straightforward wit:

    "Making jazz swing in 
    Seventeen syllables AIN’T 
    No square poet’s job."
    The Best of Ogden Nash

    "I Didn't Go to Church Today" by Ogden Nash

    One of America's premier comic poets, Ogden Nash's work is clever, quippy, and quick -- take his famous poem "Fleas," which reads: "Adam / Had 'em." But our favorite is "I Didn't Go to Church Today:"

    "I didn't go to church today,
    I trust the Lord to understand.
    The surf was swirling blue and white,
    The children swirling on the sand.
    He knows, He knows how brief my stay,
    How brief this spell of summer weather,
    He knows when I am said and done
    We'll have plenty of time together."
    Serious Concerns

    "The Orange" by Wendy Cope

    Wendy Cope is one of our favorite comic poets, and she has published many great pieces of light verse throughout her long career. This poem, from Serious Concerns, starts off goofy but ends positively life-affirming:

    "At lunchtime I bought a huge orange—
    The size of it made us all laugh.
    I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
    They got quarters and I got a half.

    And that orange, it made me so happy,
    As ordinary things often do
    Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
    This is peace and contentment. It's new.

    The rest of the day was quite easy.
    I did all the jobs on my list
    And enjoyed them and had some time over. 
    I love you. I'm glad I exist."

    Lunch Poems

     "Poem [Lana Turner Has Collapsed]" by Frank O'Hara

    This absolute gem is by Frank O'Hara, an important figure in the New York School of poets in the 1950s and 60s who was famous for his warm, easy style of writing. O'Hara perfectly sums up the overblown drama associated with celebrity gossip with this poem about the famous actress and model:

    "Lana Turner has collapsed!
    I was trotting along and suddenly
    it started raining and snowing
    and you said it was hailing
    but hailing hits you on the head
    hard so it was really snowing and
    raining and I was in such a hurry
    to meet you but the traffic
    was acting exactly like the sky
    and suddenly I see a headline
    there is no snow in Hollywood
    there is no rain in California
    I have been to lots of parties
    and acted perfectly disgraceful
    but I never actually collapsed
    oh Lana Turner we love you get up"

    Philip Larkin

    "This Be The Verse" by Philip Larkin

    Finally, this list just wouldn't be complete without this darkly funny piece by English poet Philip Larkin. A cautionary tale about the failures of parenthood with the cadence and meter of a Dr. Seuss book, Larkin's best lines in "This Be The Verse" aren't exactly fit for print -- but the last stanza basically sums it up, entreating the reader to avoid the pitfalls of parentage: 

    "Man hands on misery to man.
        It deepens like a coastal shelf.
    Get out as early as you can,
        And don’t have any kids yourself."
    Got any other suggestions for comic poems? Let us know in the comments!

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    Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created one of the most popular fictional characters in modern literature, the detective Sherlock Holmes.  Doyle was probably well aware that a great detective novel needs more than a great detective, there should also be an intriguing crime. By exploring The New York Public Library's Crime, Punishment, and Popular Culture database—a digital archive that presents a broad history of crime in the 19th century with over 2 million pages of primary source materials, including manuscripts, books, broadsheets, and periodicals—we can begin to understand what might have inspired the most iconic detective books of all time. 

    The 19th century was a time of fascination with all things criminal, especially in Britain and the United States, and the press and publishing industry did not hesitate to sensationalize the latest criminal trials.  Take for example, the coverage of the trial and execution of Robert Blakesley, who was accused of murdering the gentleman Robert Burdon, and then attempted to murder his own wife.  The Blakesley trial was covered extensively, and creatively with illustrations and poems. Perhaps it was stories like this one that inspired Doyle in his crime writing.

    Life, Trial a Execution of Robert Blakesley, for the Murder of James Burdon. H Paul, Printer, 1852?

    Fortunately, for anyone who is curious about crime writing in the 19th century, Crime, Punishment, and Popular Culture is filled with interesting stories, along with its illustrations, such as the Blakesley case.  But there may have been many other sources that could serve as inspiration for great crime writing in the 19th century. Maybe Sir Doyle in his leisure time liked to read periodicals similar to The National Police Gazette, a publication that covered all forms of illegal activity, and could often be found in places like barber shops. Not only are issues of The National Police Gazette available in this digital archive starting from 1845, but one can also read issues of The Bristol Police Gazette,  The Victoria Police Gazette, The Boston Police Gazette, and other versions of this publication from around the world.

    "The National Police Gazette the Leading Illustrated Sporting Journal in America." National Police Gazette, 20 Aug. 1887

    However, it may be no coincidence that the same time period when Sir Doyle wrote his first Sherlock Holmes novel coincided with the rise of the private eye profession and detective agencies, for example the famed Pinkerton Detective Agency, known for catching Jesse James, Butch Cassidy, and the Wild Bunch. Through the Crime, Punishment, and Popular Culture online archives, we have access to information that Sir Doyle would probably have loved to get hands on. Anyone can log-in and access the personal papers of the Pinkerton Detective Agency, as well as other important detective agencies during the 19th century, such as the Wood Detective Agency, known for catching the murderers Jesse Pomeroy and Russell Noble.

    Pinkerton's National Detective Agency Records, 1853-1999, Letterpress Books and Miscellaneous Reports
    Pinkerton's National Detective Agency Records, 1853-1999, Letterpress Books and Miscellaneous Reports

     Although, Sir Doyle did not have access to the manuscripts from these well known detective agencies, perhaps he relied on sources such as Revelations of a Lady Detective by George Vickers, published in London in 1864, which is also available in Crime, Punishment, and Popular Culture.

    Revelations of a Lady Detective. George Vickers, 1864

    For anyone interested in Sherlock Holmes, or any form of crime writing or history of crime and punishment this electronic archive is a perfect source. This time period saw the development of the police force, the reformation of the judicial system, and evolution of the penal system, and this archive includes a wealth of fact and fiction, with primary documents including: police force reports, trial transcripts, prison postcards, true crime fiction and Penny Dreadfuls. No one can know for sure all of the sources that served as inspiration for Sir Doyle, but by exploring this expansive digital archive one can imagine that he only had to look around him.  This blog post was researched entirely using NYPL's electronic resources. With more than 500 online research options available, many accessible from home with a library card, we challenge you to go beyond the search engine and dig deeper online with NYPL.


    Life, Trial a Execution of Robert Blakesley, for the Murder of James Burdon. H Paul, Printer, 1852?. Crime, Punishment, and Popular Culture 1790-1920, Accessed 19 May 2017.

    "The National Police Gazette the Leading Illustrated Sporting Journal in America." National Police Gazette, 20 Aug. 1887, p. [1]. Crime, Punishment, and Popular Culture 1790-1920, Accessed 19 May 2017.

    Revelations of a Lady Detective. George Vickers, 1864. Crime, Punishment, and Popular Culture 1790-1920, Accessed 19 May 2017.

    Researching 19th Century Crime Online Resources

    Crime, Punishment, and Popular Culture

    Issues: Understanding Controversy and Society

    19th Century UK Periodicals

    Illustrated London News Historical Archive

    ProQuest Historical Newspapers

    Ballistics (Crime Scene Investigation Ballistics)

    The Cambridge Companion to Crime Fiction

    Crime and Criminals

    Crime and Punishment in American History

    The Prison Journal

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    Me in the Library of Congress

    I presented at the Computers in Libraries conference in Arlington, Virginia this past March, and between sessions I decided to find out what people were reading.

    The Death of Expertise
    Tim's pick

    1. Tim Spalding, founder of LibraryThing: The Death of Expertise in preparation to interview Tom Nichols a few weeks later.

    As a side note Mid-Manhattan library is excited to have Mr. Nichols join us on Thursday, July 6, when he will give an author talk about this book on the 6th floor at 6:30 PM. 

    1.5. His son was in attendance too, and was carrying a copy of The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis.

    2. Bethany Leach of Recorded Books: listening to The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connolly and reading Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer which she said is terrifying but somewhat hopeful too. “They’ve done all this work to gain control, but they still don’t entirely have their way!”

    3. Ann Marie S. Ruskin of SLA: The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons. Also Founding Mothers: The Women who Raised our Nation by Cokie Roberts "is excellent!" she said.

    Founding Mothers
    Ann Marie's pick

    4. Vivian Parham of Brooklyn Public Library: Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message by Tara Mohr.

    5. Angie M. of Brooklyn Public Library: Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History by Bill Schutt.

    6. Cameron Myers Brooklyn Public Library: David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. Also Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.

    7. Roy Degler of Oklahoma State: C U Next Tuesday by Jane Mai and The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew it was None of his Business which I have since discovered has been animated

    8. One of my grad-school classmates also presented at the conference: Katie Bertel of Buffalo State: The Rebel by Camus.

    The Rebel
    Katie's Pick

    9. Nick Tanzi of Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library in Suffolk County, NY: The expanse: Leviathan wakes by James S. A. Corey.

    10. Trey Gordner of Koios: "The City of God Against the Pagans" by Augustine of Hippo.

    11. Barb R. of Novi Public Library:  The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. "I love it and want too see the movie now" she said.

    12. Steve of the North Country Library System loves Lee Child's Jack Reacher series, and a book whose title he couldn’t quite remember about prisoners turned into vampires in Colorado. A little digging and I’m pretty sure it is The Passage by Justin Cronin.

    13. Amanda Jones of Rapid City Public Library: Just starting A Bridge Too Far  by  Cornelius Ryan. “I love WWII books and so far this is a good one.”

    Angie's pick

    14. Stephen Burg of Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library: Avengers vs x-men Omnibus He had some choice words for Cyclops!

    15. Janet Kowal at Connetquot Public Library:  In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume. "So far so good!" she said.

    16. IdaMae Craddock of Burley Middle School in Charlottesville, VA: All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brandon Kiely. “It’s really good!” she said. 

    17. Another former classmate, Kelly Kroese of Monticello High School in Charlottesville, VA was also speaking at the conference: American Street by Ibi Zoboi  "It's about a girl immigrating from Haiti whose mother is detained in NYC. The girl ends up in Detroit, the desolation of which reminds her of home" she said.

    American street
    Kelly's pick

    18. Malcolm McBryde at Huntington City Township Public Library in Indiana: Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson as well as Ian Rankin's latest John Rebus book, Rather be the Devil.

    19. The work of Nelson DeMille was also recommended as well.

    20. And as for me? I'm just now finishing the audiobook of  Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation by Aisha Tyler which was so good I helplessly binge-listened to the whole thing in one day. I'm also reading the wonderfully terrible KFC novella Tender Wings of Desire by  Colonel Sanders (yep... that's a thing that exists) and am about to start Margaret Atwood's Angel Catbird graphic novel series. 

    Bonus round: The hotel hosting the conference had this amazing bulletin board up when you first walked into the conference. What is the staff of the Hyatt Regency Crystal City reading?

    What are the staff reading?


    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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    On May 14, the storied Lower East Side synagogue, Beth Hamedrash Hagodol (BHH)*, suffered an explosion, destroying much of the structure in a matter of hours. The Library has a number of items that highlight the development and presence of synagogues in New York City, including at least one photographic collection wherein Beth Hamedrash Hagodol features prominently. This post pays tribute to the building, with a short history, and a view back to better days.

    black and white image of Beth Hamedrash Hagodol, ca. 1940
    Beth Hamedrash Hagodol, ca. 1940.Digital ID 5750836 The New York Public Library

    60 Norfolk Street

    Part of James Delancey's farmland in colonial New York, one could argue that 60 Norfolk Street's history began with fire: a Baptist congregation purchased the property after their church on the same block was destroyed in an 1848 blaze. Two years later, when the Norfolk Street Baptist Church's new Gothic Revival style sanctuary was dedicated there, the New-York Evangelist declared it "one of the most beautiful and imposing architectural objects in the city."

    The Baptist congregation relocated within a decade, and the building was home to, in succession, the Alanson Methodist Episcopal Church, and the New York City Church Extension and Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, before the structure was finally purchased by Congregation Beth Hamedrash Hagodol (Great House of Study), the "oldest congregation in America established by Russian Orthodox Jewish immigrants," in 1885.

    Detail, fire insurance map showing 60 Norfolk Street
    Detail, Sanborn Map of the block including Beth Hamedrash Hagodol, ca. 1903.
    Digital ID 1992710
    The New York Public Library

    The building was adapted, to suit the needs of its Orthodox congregation, and the synagogue served a rapidly expanding community (an estimated 500,000 Eastern European Jews moved to America in the last two decades of the nineteenth century, and many settled on the Lower East Side). In City of Promises, Annie Polland and Daniel Soyer observed:

    Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, perhaps the largest eastern European congregation (which, along with Kahal Adath Jeshurun, could trace its roots to Beth Hamedrash, the Russian congregation that formed in 1852 in Five Points), took the eastern European synagogue to a new level when it purchased a church on Norfolk Street and renovated it into a handsome synagogue.

    Indeed, BHH quickly grew in reputation, as well. Noted Andrew Dolkart: "Beth Hamedrash Hagodol became an increasingly important presence on the Jewish Lower East Side. The prominence of the congregation peaked in 1889 when New York's first and only chief rabbi, Jacob Joseph, became rabbi of the synagogue. … This added prestige to the congregation…"  

    Over time, the population of the Lower East Side shifted demographically, but Beth Hamedrash Hagodol consistently maintained a congregation. Threatened with calls for its demolition in the twentieth century, the building was designated a New York City landmark in 1967, and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999, recognized for its historical and architectural significance.

    Interior of sanctuaryFire affected the property again in 2001, leaving Beth Hamedrash Hagodol with damaged interior spaces. By 2007, with its congregation dwindling to fewer than 20 members meeting in a structure of questionable safety, BHH Rabbi Mendi Greenbaum closed the structure permanently. In 2012, Greenbaum and synagogue leadership submitted a so-called hardship application (used by owners in New York City who claim upkeep of their properties within the provisions of the laws would constitute a financial hardship) to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, and requested permission to demolish the structure. The application was withdrawn, but as real estate development in the surrounding area transformed from the mostly vacant Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA) into "Essex Crossing", local residents raised a collective eyebrow, concerned about BHH's motivations and willingness to protect the historical structure. The fire on May 14 devastated the building, and with it, hopes for its continued preservation.  

    A multifaceted landmark

    When the building came before the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) for nomination fifty years ago, the Building had already achieved informal recognition:

    "This great Synagogue has long been considered a landmark by the Greater New York Board of Rabbis, by the Union of Orthodox Congregations of the United States representing three thousand congregations and by the citizens of the community."

    And BHH was an unconventional landmark: the architecture was significant, but secondary to the role the synagogue - and its congregations - played in the history and development of New York City. At a time when structures were recognized largely for their aesthetics, BHH was landmarks for representing the history of the city and its religious institutions.  

    Out of the ashes?

    CRIS Data 052017.jpg

    Somewhat ominously, as of May 18, New York State's Cultural Resource Information System (CRIS) lists the property as "Demolished/destroyed by fire 5/14/2017", and Google Maps no longer includes a site label for the address, though the building outline remains. Certainly, acknowledged urban historian Allison Siegel, there are challenges ahead, but the miraculous is also possible: apparently, the institution's library survived the inferno, something many librarians would argue, is reason enough for hope.

    1933 black and white photo of congregants exiting 60 Norfolk Street
    Congregants exiting Beth Hamedrash Hagodol,
    1933. (detail) Digital ID 721939f
    The New York Public Library

    Further Reading

    The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission report, available free online, includes a description of the building's architectural features, and a brief history of the structure.

    And you can read the original National Register of Historic Places nomination form online via New York State's Cultural Resource Information System (CRIS) (you must login as a guest to search property reports).

    New York Public Library's Art & Architecture Division has a number of materials pertaining to the history of synagogue architecture and the Gothic Revival in the United States and elsewhere; the Dorot Jewish Division holds over 140 titles on global synagogue architecture as well as a number of items on the Lower East Side and its history; and the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division's Morris Huberland Collection includes over 250 images of synagogues in New York City.

    BHH in color photo, 1999
    Beth Hamedrash Hagodol, 1999. Digital ID 513126The New York Public Library

    See also the Library's Digital Collections for additional images of synagogues in New York City, including Milstein's Photographic Views of New York City, 1870s-1970s and images by Percy Loomis Sperr, and Dylan Stone's photographs of Block 266 in 1999, as well as maps of the Lower East Side, that chart the days before, during, and after 60 Norfolk Street was sanctified as Beth Hamedrash Hagodol.

    Search the Library's online catalog:

    Cited in this post:

    City of Promises, volume 2: Emerging metropolis: New York Jews in the age of immigration, 1840-1920, by Annie Polland and Daniel Soyer (also online via ProjectMuse)

    DNA Info New York and coverage of the building, past and present, as well as photographs of the interior spaces from the New York Landmarks Conservancy

    The New-York Evangelist, January 24, 1850: 14.

    Judah Eisenstein, "The History of the First Russian-American Jewish Congregation: The Beth Hamedrash Hagodol," Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society.9 (1901): 63–74.

    *There are two spellings of "Hagodol" in the literature regarding this building. This post uses the spelling conventions observed by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission and National Register of Historic Places listings.

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    在上次的部落格中提到希望有人能谈谈张爱玲的小说。果然在4/19 的书籍讨论中便有人介绍了了张爱玲的作品特色,特此感谢。 我们也特别欢迎作家陈九先生,来到我们中间与我们分享他对文学以及中国文化的看法。


                     倾城之恋齊瓦哥醫生zen and the art of六四内部日记



    张爱玲。  倾城之恋金锁记。。。。。





    Pasternak, Boris.  齊瓦哥醫生


    此书以初十月革命一次大战的俄国为背景。大户人家小孩日瓦哥被舅父带到圣彼得堡接受良好教育,日后成为了外科医生。革命成功后, 社会民生并没有因此改善,在颠沛流离的一生中,历经艰难困苦,情感飘忽在三个女人之间。 此书隐约地批判了苏联的意识形态,获1957年诺贝尔文学奖,可算是俄国经典小说之一。






    Pirsig, Robert M.  Zen and the art of art of motorcycle maintenance.


    骑着摩托车带着孩子与朋友一起望西部走。车子坏了修,修了又坏。朋友按照说明书一步一步修理,而其只靠直觉修理。这是认知上的分歧,这又引出了我们认识世界的两种方式:古典的与浪漫的。How to know the world:1.用解释学:即透过宗教认识世界,2.用理解:即通过科学来认识世界。而科学无法解释世界,只是通过五官达于大脑,近真理 而不是真理。。。。。


    陆超祺。 六四内部日记


    作者为人民日报副总编辑,47-49就读北大历史系,49年进入人民日报社服务,1990离休。 书写六四当时在社内所接触来自各方的报道。书的前半部只谈罗列事实,记录皆有时间,地点及出处。半部是作者自己的评论,感受与想法。


    陈九。 挫指柔




    夏坚勇。 绍兴12年




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


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    Winning a journalism prize from The New York Public Library evokes something extra because libraries enable people to discern fact from fiction, say Dan Fagin, a past winner of the Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism. Learn more about the prize and this year's finalists here.


    Dan Fagin, past Bernstein award winner, at Schwarzman Building



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    Teen space
    Teen space at Mulberry Street Library

    The Mulberry Street Library opened 10 years ago in May 2007. Since then it has become a haven for teens who need a place to meet up, a place to just hang out and a place to do homework. Nestled two floors beneath street level in Soho, it is a cozy place to get away from the noise and grind of daily life in New York City. So why do teen love it today? In honor of Mulberry's 10th birthday, we asked the teens in our weekly teen lounge why they love the library and here's what they had to say (in no particular order):

    1. A space just for teens (no adults allowed!)

    2. Lots of computers and laptops for homework and playing computer games

    3. Teen Lounge always has a good selection of snacks

    4. Fun activities every week 

    5. Cool staff (especially Anne and Grace the Teen Librarians)

    6. Close to lots of train lines - makes for easy commuting home

    7. All the colorful book displays and book recommendations

    8. Board games and card games to play

    9. Homework help if you need it

    10. Good graphic novel and manga selections

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    Severe combined immunodeficiency, SCID. A life of constant protection from pathogens. Devoid of contact with germ-carrying strangers. All Madeleine has ever known is life inside of her house with her nurse, Carla and her mother. A life of being sick and fearing illness intermittently. Until Olly moved next door, that is.

    Maddy and Olly strike up an online friendship consisting of email and texts. They know each other; they understand each other. They are both high-schoolers. Maddy is homeschooled and spends hours mired in online tutorials; Olly and his sister deal with a chaotic, abuse-filled household headed by his alcoholic father. 

    The young people find things to discuss and ponder about life. She longs to see him and feel his touch. Luckily for her, Carla agrees to allow Oliver into the house. However, Maddy's mother flips her top at this news. Everyone who enters the house must undergo a strict sanitizing procedure in order to remove foreign molecules from their person. Anything to stave off illness and almost-certain death.

    Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, 2015


    The couple's jaunt to a far-off place seems a bit far-fetched, but the book is an otherwise pleasant read.


    SCID video

    SCID web site

    Nicola Yoon's web site

    Munchausen by proxy books


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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.

    Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Google Play

    The New York Public Library is proud to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism. This prestigious award is given annually to journalists whose books have brought clarity and public attention to important issues, events, or policies.

    Today's episode features Jane Mayer, this year's winner. Her book is Dark Money: the the Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right.

    Dark Money cover and photograph of author Jane Mayer
    Photo by Stephen Voss.

    Meredith Mann, Bernstein library review committee member, describes the book this way:

    In Dark Money, the tenacious Jane Mayer slowly and comprehensively untangles the chaotic network of funding employed by the Koch brothers and their associates in support of their libertarian political agenda.  Over forty years of patient and persistent strategizing produced a robust network of endowed university departments, think tanks, lobbying groups, and "grassroots" organizations: a pipeline for the advancement of an economically far-right ideology worthy of any successful corporate business plan.  Mayer pieces together a story defined by its lack of paper trail, pushing for sources that occassionally push back (she details attempts to discredit her earlier investigations into the Kochs) in a work that is essential for a complete understanding of modern American politics.

    Author Bio

    Jane Mayer is a staff writer for The New Yorker. Her reporting  has been awarded the John Chancellor Award, the George Polk Award, the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting, and the I. F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence presented by the Nieman Foundation at Harvard. Mayer, who lives in Washington, D.C., covers politics, culture, and national security issues. Dark Money, the fourth of her bestselling and critically acclaimed narrative nonfiction books, is published by Doubleday.

    Critical Reviews

    "...[A] persuasive, timely and necessary story of the Koch brothers’ empire." — The New York Times

    "...Dark Money — a detailed accounting of [the Koch brothers'] rise and rise — is absolutely necessary reading for anyone who wants to make sense of our politics. Lay aside the endless punditry about Donald’s belligerence or Hillary’s ambition; Mayer is telling the epic story of America in our time. It is a triumph of investigative reporting." — The New York Review of Books

    "A valuable contribution to the study of modern electoral politics in an age that Theodore White, and perhaps even Hunter S. Thompson, would not recognize." — Kirkus Reviews

    Deeper Dive

    The 2017 winner will be announced on May 22. Check out more of our #Bernstein30 coverage, find a complete list of prior winners, and learn more about the process on the official site.


    Meredith Mann is a member of the 2016 committee of librarians that selects the five finalists for the Bernstein Award. Mann is a specialist in the Manuscripts & Archives Division. 


    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.”

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    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.” 

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    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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    May is Preservation Month! I know, there are only a few days left, but you can celebrate Preservation Month all year long with great books and other resources from The New York Public Library. Established in 1973 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, all are invited to celebrate historic American places—from the old neighborhood record store to famous skyscrapers, from parks and glorious landscapes to important cemeteries—in the spirit of "instilling national and community pride, promoting heritage tourism, and showing the social and economic benefits of historic preservation." Here are a few reads to inspire you throughout the year, from histories to how-to books to neighborhood guides.

    Cover image of Why Preservation matters featuring the Rose Reading Room at NYPLI want to learn everything about historic preservation! Start here:

    And take a gander at more in the Library's catalog under these subject headings:

    I could look up all day, but ack! the neck strain. Do you have anything on beautiful landmarks? Feast your eyes on these:Cover image of After the Final Curtain showing interior of movie theater

    I want to restore/repair/nominate my historic building. Look no further:

    Start with these publications from the National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, available from NYPL:

    And these titles:Cover image of Preservation of Modern architecture with image of Lever House

    Or pick books in the Library under these subject headings:

    I want to get outside and learn more about a neighborhood by walking its streets. Go forth with these:

    Or choose your own adventure from books in the catalog:

    I want to learn more about New York City's landmarks...and the buildings that should've been landmarks. Have you considered:Cover image of Landmarks of New York with the Brooklyn Bridge

    Need further guidance? Consult the preservation professionals:


    And don't forget our list of Preservation Month Reads from 2016!

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