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    The New York Botanical Garden book cover

    Don't think of the Bronx as beautiful? Think the northern borough of our city doesn't have much to offer besides a concrete jungle? Think again. The Bronx has many areas of beautiful greenery, including the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG).

    I had the pleasure of visiting the garden several years ago, and was blown away by the beauty of the flowers. The NYBG has many buildings that feature varieties of plants, including cacti, and features gorgeous grounds. I have the privilege of riding on the bus past the scenery every day on my way to work! One only has to visit these treasures to appreciate their grandeur and beauty. Make a trip to this amazing destination today!

    New York Botanical Garden History

    The first botanical gardens in history appeared in medieval times in European monasteries, and The New York Botanical Garden has been in existence for more than 125 years. It strives to provide a place of beauty for the Bronx, educate New Yorkers—especially children—about horticulture and plant life, and advance research in the area of horticulture. Botanical scientists have long utilized this treasure trove of plant life and knowledge to advance an understanding of their field. Landscape designers have created a beautiful sea of flowers and trees that adorn the outdoor areas of the garden. 

    Viewing the garden with photos from The New York Botanical Garden

    The photographs within the book The New York Botanical Garden entice readers to visit the magical land of flora that exists in the Bronx. Photos of the plants, historic images of the garden, and present-day shots of the landscape are included. There are also expert drawings of particular plant life that serve to educate and visually delight the readers. The wonderful images of plant life bring the garden to life in the pages within. 

    More books on horticulture

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    Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts

    Wyatt Cenac moderating a panel of Washington insiders and journalists

    Voter turnout this past midterm election was the highest it's been in over a century, but what can we realistically expect from Congress next? A recent study by The Washington Post and ProPublica suggests that Congress is dominated by party leaders preventing them from passing meaningful legislation. The Library hosted the reporters of this study, Paul Kane and Derek Willis, to discuss their findings, the archetypes for today's lawmakers, and advice on how constituents can ensure representatives take action. Joining them were Washington insiders; Lindsay Cormack, Stevens Institute of Technology assistant professor of political science, James Wallner, R Street senior fellow and former congressional staffer, and Stephanie L. Young, When We All Vote communications director, former Congressional Black Caucus staffer. Moderating the conversation was comedian and former Daily Show correspondant, Wyatt Cenac.

    Click here to find out how to subscribe and listen to the Library Talks podcast.

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    Welcome to our bi-weekly update on events happening during the next two weeks at The New York Public Library. With 92 locations across New York City, there's a lot going on! 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 to receive our round-up in your inbox, sign up here. We look forward to seeing you at the Library soon. 

    Selected Events

    The Library After Hours: Picture This—A Celebration of Photography
    The city's most cerebral happy hour turns the clock back to the 1840s for a night of art, science, and learning about early photographic pioneer, Anna Atkins. Join us for crafts, artist and curator talks, an illustration workshop, an Instagram challenge in the Rose Main Reading Room, 16mm films, and more as we look back to photography's past and gaze forward into the medium’s future. Priority tickets for early entry are for sale in advance, or pay what you wish at the door after 8 PM.
    Friday, November 30 | 7 PM
    Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

    The Illustrated History of the Snowman: Bob Eckstein with Lenore Skenazy
    Award-winning illustrator, writer, and New Yorker cartoonist Bob Eckstein shares over 200 illustrations depicting the history of the snowman and how the anthropomorphic character has been embraced around the world.
    Wednesday, November 28 | 6:30 PM
    Mid-Manhattan Library at 42nd Street

    Films at the Schomburg | Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple
    Award-winning filmmakers Stanley Nelson, Marcia Smith, and Noland Walker reveal the true, tragic story behind enigmatic preacher Jim Jones and his promise of a world of economic and racial equality that ultimately led to the largest mass murder-suicide in history.
    Wednesday, November 28 | 6:30 PM
    Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

    Holiday Extravaganza at the Library
    Attend the Library's Holiday Open House and enjoy carolers, live music and dancing, crafts, magic shows, special collection viewing, and much more. Tickets include a complimentary Friend of the Library membership.
    Sunday, December 2 | 1 PM
    Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

    Shelf Life: New Works, Made from the Archives
    The culmination of an intense semester of research and creative experimentation, New School University students, led by acclaimed saxophonist and composer Jane Ira Bloom, present new music and theater works inspired by and incorporating the Library's archives.
    Monday, December 3 | 6 PM
    Library for the Performing Arts

    Mid-Sentence | She Would Be King: Wayétu Moore with Isaac Fitzgerald
    Blending fantasy and reality, Wayétu Moore discusses her debut novel—a retelling of the foundation of the Republic of Liberia.
    Monday, December 3 | 6:30 PM
    Mid-Manhattan Library at 42nd Street

    Live Podcast Taping | The Librarian Is In: Eric Klinenberg
    Hosts Frank Collerius and Gwen Glazer speak with noted sociologist Eric Klinenberg about his book, Palaces for the People, and how the future of our democratic society might just be found inside a library.
    Tuesday, December 4 | 6:30 PM
    Jefferson Market Library

    Conversations from the Cullman Center | Climate in Motion: Deborah Coen and Daniel Kehlmann
    Deborah Coen talks about her new book, Climate in Motion: Science, Empire, and the Problem of Scale, with Daniel Kehlmann. Looking back to the 19th century, Coen uncovers the roots of modern climate science in the politics and growth of the Habsburg Empire.
    Monday, December 10 | 7 PM
    Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

    Mid-Sentence | Friday Black: Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
    A debut short story collection illustrates a modern day America full of racial violence, injustice, and characters fighting to survive with their humanity intact.
    Monday, December 10 | 6:30 PM
    Mid-Manhattan Library at 42nd Street

    A Velocity of Being: Maria Popova and Guests
    In an evening of readings and live performances, contributors to a new collection of letters curated by Maria Popova of Brain Pickings reflect on how they have been shaped by a lifetime of reading.
    Saturday, December 15 | 7 PM
    Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

    Business, Career & Finance

    Building a Better Retirement Portfolio
    Join CFP Simon Brady and learn about asset allocation, diversification, and the costs that can be incurred.
    Tuesday, November 27 | 6 PM
    Science, Industry and Business Library

    CEO Series: A.J. Jacobs on Gratitude and Business
    With his characteristic wit and humor, bestselling author A.J. Jacobs shares a journey of giving thanks that took him around the world. Books will be signed following the event. Registration is required.
    Tuesday, December 4 | 6 PM
    Science, Industry and Business Library

    Why Libraries and Research Matter For Talent Development Professionals
    Join the New York City Chapter of the Association for Talent Development to learn about the valuable role research and libraries play in the field of talent development.
    Thursday, December 6 | 6 PM
    Science, Industry and Business Library


    Technology Programs and Classes
    TechConnect offers more than 80 technology classes at libraries throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island—all for free! There are classes for all students from beginner to advanced, including series courses for those who want more in-depth knowledge.

    More Events

    16mm Film Nights: René Magritte
    Wednesday, November 28 | 6:30 PM
    Seward Park Library

    Shame: Joseph Burgo with Lisa Gornick
    Wednesday, December 5 | 6:30 PM
    Mid-Manhattan Library at 42nd Street

    Who Owns the Word | Part 2: Books
    Monday, December 10 | 6:30 PM
    Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

    How to Read A Protest: L.A. Kauffman with Avram Finkelstein
    Wednesday, December 19 | 6:30 PM
    Mid-Manhattan Library at 42nd Street

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    Ellen Bar trained at the School of American Ballet, joined New York City Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 1998 and was promoted to Soloist in 2006. While dancing, Ellen developed and produced the narrative dance film NY EXPORT: OPUS JAZZ, which premiered at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival and aired on the PBS series Great Performances

    In this blog post, Ellen recalls her first encounter with Jerome Robbins' work at age seven with her mother, a Soviet-era ballerina, and her changing relationship with his works as she becomes a professional dancer, then a filmmaker, and finally a mother herself. 

    When I was 7 years old, my mother took me to see New York City Ballet for the first time. It was an all-Robbins program: Dances at a Gathering and something else I can’t recall. It’s an odd choice for a child’s first ballet but, then again, the choice wasn’t about me. My mother is a former dancer from the Soviet Union and the evening was meant to be a rare treat for her. My parents had emigrated to the United States ten years prior, and they’d only recently begun to permit themselves small luxuries.

    We sat in the fourth ring, where the dancers were distant and tiny. I remember examining the program, enjoying the simplicity of the character names—Brown, Pink, Yellow, after the color of their costumes—which made sense to my seven-year-old brain. I spent the first few minutes happily connecting the figures on the stage to the characters in the program, trying to remember from my Crayola box what color was "brick." Solo followed solo, duet followed duet, and it all began to look the same. Every now and then, someone did a long balance, or a dizzying amount of turns, and I perked up.  But mostly it was just dance after dance after dance, set to a gentle piano score. I was bored.  So instead of watching the stage, I watched my mother.

    Dancers Wendy Whelan, Heather Watts and Robert La Fosse
    New York City Ballet production of "Dances at a Gathering" with Wendy Whelan, Heather Watts and Robert La Fosse, choreography by Jerome Robbins. The Jerome Robbins Dance Division. NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: swope_1211120

    Like most former ballerinas, my mother was not easily impressed—she had been brought up in the proud Russian tradition, trained by Vaganova’s own students. At home, I was always treated to a running commentary of criticism when we watched ballet videos. But at the theater, she’d completely forgotten I was there, absorbed in what was happening on stage. She sat perfectly straight with that unmistakable dancer’s posture, leaning as far forward as she could without falling, literally on the edge of her seat. Every now and then she let out a rapturous sigh or a little laugh, clapping vigorously in between dances. 

    I was fascinated by her reaction and frustrated too—because whatever it was that was so remarkable to her was invisible to me. I knew that I was missing something, that this ballet contained some profound truth that I couldn’t grasp. I filed it away with all the other mysteries I planned to solve once I was grown up.

    Eight years later, having followed in my mother’s footsteps, I was an advanced student at the School of American Ballet, living in the dormitories across the plaza from the New York State Theater. During the winter season, New York City Ballet performed every night for weeks on end. If there were any vacant seats, the house manager sometimes let in a few students. The house manager’s name was Mr. Kelley, and he was a forbidding-looking man, with colorless eyes and a brusque manner. Every night, the students would ask him about tickets, and every night he’d turn them away—"nothing for you," he’d say, waving us off. 

    The faint-of-heart would leave, but not me, and not my close circle of friends. We stayed and stayed, as the last bells rang, sometimes even after the orchestra had begun. We learned to play up our disappointment, to plead and beg and moan, and Mr Kelley’s cool facade would crack. "Alright," he’d say with a little bit of grudging respect, as he wrote us a pass for the last row of the orchestra. I remember how magical and powerful those passes felt, like keys to the kingdom, though they were just little white cards with the seat numbers hastily scribbled on.

    This was how I saw Dances at a Gathering, I mean, really saw it, for the first time. The music and the choreography which had been white noise when I was younger suddenly emerged as a language I could understand. Not just a language, but poetry; satisfying on the surface for its rhythm and melody, but also rich with a deeper meaning. Like my mother all those years before, I sat on the edge of my seat, relishing the nuance of small gestures, the unexpected musicality, the way the movement personified joy. The dancers were there only for each other, a community united by a common passion. They were me and my friends, navigating art, friendship, rivalry, and love on a daily basis, our relationships continually forming, shifting, breaking. This is where my own love affair with the Robbins works began. For the rest of my time as a student, I made sure not to miss a single Robbins ballet—with Mr. Kelley’s help, of course.

    During those student years, I often saw Jerry (I took the liberty of calling him that in my head) in the audience and I dreamt of telling him what his work meant to me. Time and again, I circled him, shark-like, at intermissions, but either the right moment never presented itself or I was too scared to seize it when it did. I doubt my compliment would have meant much—he’d received far more important ones than mine. Then again, no one understood the vulnerability of adolescence better than Jerry.

    I joined New York City Ballet as a corps member in 1998, just two months before Jerome Robbins died. I got to know his ballets in a new way, from the inside out, by dancing them. When choreography feels right, when it embodies the music perfectly, when it becomes ingrained in your muscle memory, it brings you closer to the creator. Dancing Robbins’ ballets in the Company where he created them was enough of a gift for me. But Robbins would continue to give in ways I could never have predicted.

    In 2005, I was part of the original cast of New York City Ballet’s revival of NY Export: Opus Jazz, which had not been performed in decades. I was just one of the ensemble, yet it was one of the most satisfying experiences of my dancing life. Just like Dances at a Gathering, I found my youthful struggles, my deep connection to my city, my complicated relationships with my friends inside the dance. And I saw something else too—I saw how this particular ballet, which in so many ways was a product of the late 1950s, could be updated for a new era without losing its essential nature. 

    opus jazz
    N.Y. Export, Opus Jazz, 13. The Jerome Robbins Dance Division. NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 1808654

    Along with my fellow soloist and best friend, Sean Suozzi, I developed an idea to reimagine NY Export: Opus Jazz as a film, shot on location in present-day New York City, with scripted narrative scenes to weave the different movements together.  During his life, Robbins rarely allowed anyone to alter his work in any way. To protect his legacy after his death, he left strict requirements about how his ballets should be rehearsed and performed. Naturally, the Robbins Rights Trust was wary when we approached them. But, inexperienced filmmakers that we were, we made clear that it was Robbins himself who had planted the seeds of our project. The fact that we could envision NY Export: Opus Jazz as a film was only possible because of what Robbins had done with West Side Story, shooting dance in a visceral, cinematic way at gritty, urban locations. And despite his own inexperience directing major motion pictures, he won an Oscar for his very first one. He showed us what was possible, even if it was improbable. 

    Five years later, with a lot of help, hard work, and more than a little luck, NY Export: Opus Jazz aired on PBS, bringing what was once a little-seen ballet to millions of people around the country.  It went on to play film festivals and arthouse cinemas, and was broadcast on foreign television networks around the world. Together with the Robbins Trust, we created a curriculum to accompany the film, which has been used across the New York City public school system. Because of NY Export: Opus Jazz, I found a new career as a film producer after I retired from dancing. And I met my future husband, Jody Lee Lipes, who co-directed and shot the film.

    Last month, we sat beside our three-year-old daughter at a children’s program at New York City Ballet. Like all the other doting parents, we watched her more than we watched the stage, finding joy in her joy, as she bounced in her seat to Fancy Free and West Side Story Suite.  For now, she loves the sailor costumes and all that snapping but, someday, she will see so much more.  When that day comes, I’ll tell her all about Jerome Robbins, and how he changed the shape of our lives, starting with Dances at a Gathering all those years ago. 

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  • 11/27/18--20:23: How to Browse DVDs Online
  • The New York Public Library’s circulating collections offer our patrons thousands and thousands of DVDs, all available to borrow for free

    Visit our online catalog to browse the full collection of DVDs available for checkout from The New York Public Library. DVDs results can be sorted by relevance, date, title, or author.


    Refining Your Search Results

    You can refine the results by Collection (Adult, Children, Young Adult). You can also narrow the search results by using the tag facet. To do so, click More to see the tags, select the ones you’re interested in, and click Apply.


    Placing a Hold for Delivery

    Library cardholders can request to have any DVD delivered to your local branch for pick up—completely free.  Here’s how.

    1. Identify the DVD you’d like in the online catalog and select Place Hold.

    2. Enter your library card number or username and four digit PIN.

    3. Select your pick up location.




    DVDs in Multiple Languages

    To find films in other languages you can run a keyword search in the catalog. Type in the first three letters of the language and DVD. For example, “SPA DVD “or “FRE DVD.” Our most popular foreign language collection include:


    Streaming Movies Online

    As an alternative to DVDs, the Library also offers patrons free online access to the Kanopy collection. Available to patrons 13 years or older, Kanopy offers a broad selection of more than 30,000 feature films, documentaries, foreign language, and training videos that can be streamed to your device from anywhere.

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    Listen on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Google Podcasts.

    We're obsessed with libraries loaning unconventional items: seeds, toys, tools, clothes, games, museum passes... and sculptures. Local artist Wendy Richmond joins Gwen and Frank to talk about her work and her new installation, which encouraged patrons to take home her incredible sculptures of her own hands. 

    jmr installation
    Wendy with her shelves of sculpture in the Jefferson Market lobby.

    Check out our live show on Dec. 4!

    Frank and Gwen will be talking to Eric Klinenberg, author of Palaces for the People, at Frank's own Jefferson Market Library! Tuesday, Dec. 4, at 6:30 p.m. -- click here for all the details.


    Guest Star: Wendy Richmond, artist 

    The art installation at Jefferson Market 

    Wendy's Instagram, where you can see photos of her sculptures and the installation at JMR, and #CheckOutThisSculpture

    Want to talk to Wendy about how to get local art into your local library? Email her: wendy [at] wendyrichmond [dot] com

    More recommendations:

    The sculpture Wendy gave to Gwen, now on her desk, where she sees them every day.

    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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    A display case from the East Village in the 1980s exhibitionIn October 2018, Tompkins Square Library presented "A Look Back on the East Village of the 1980s," a vigorous and enthusiastically researched show focused on the creative counterculture of the surrounding neighborhood in the 1980s.

    The show presented important, vital highlights from the night club scene, along with the music, theater, and art activity of that period—a period in which the East Village was recognized nationally and internationally for its sometimes-famous and sometimes-infamous personalities and places.

    Invaluable help was provided by the following people: 

    Close-up of black-and-white art from the exhibition on the East Village in the 1980sAlexandra Reese, a local family and event videographer (all photos featured in this post were shot by Alexandra). Video and photos of the show kickoff event is HERE

    Andy McCarthy, a reference librarian at the Milstein Division of US History, Local History, and Genealogy at NYPL, and a former NYC double-decker bus tour guide

    Armand Ruhlman, a contributing adviser, a local filmmaker, writer, and playwright; and a precious friend of, and volunteer at, the Library

    Deirdre Donohue, a Managing Research Librarian at the NYPL Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division

    Jonathan Slaff, a publicist in the specialty of international cultural events

    Patrick Walsh, a devoted patron and  a special friend of the Library

    Sophie Glidden-Lyon, La MaMa Experimental Theater Club Archive Project Manager

    Susan Rabbiner, an Assistant Director for Exhibitions (SASB, NYPL)

    History of the East Village: 1980s

    In the 1970s, New York City was considered a troubled place. According to an infamous Daily News headline, President Gerald Ford even told the city to "drop dead" (note: he never explicitly uttered those two words). But in a few short years, NYC was reasserting its role as the center of the universe—financially, culturally, and creatively.

    A collage of performers from the Cabaret at La MaMa theater

    By the 1980s, people from all points on the map, especially artists, were flocking to New York City to pursue a career. Due mainly to low rents and a housing stock of cheap, dilapidated buildings, the East Village saw numerous individuals moving into the neighborhood. In many cases, these were people who had left (or escaped) their hometowns and local communities in search of a more welcoming experience relative to their hopes and dreams. In the East Village, these seekers found a safe haven of sorts—a place that allowed many artists, especially, to gather together and do their thing.

    Close-up of art and archival material from the exhibition on the East Village in the 1980s

    By the mid-1980s, the New York Times was declaring the East Village the most interesting and, perhaps, the most exciting neighborhood in the most interesting and most exciting city in the world.

    East Village Eye magazine cover

    The East Village became nationally and internationally recognized for counterculture ideas and trends. Foremost among this explosion of activity was the emergence of the area as the center for the East Coast punk rock culture and New Wave movement. This included the emergence of various music venues as legendary, world-renowned destinations.

    Thus, the East Village of the 1980s was a unique, perhaps once-in-a-lifetime moment of art and creative rebellion that may never be matched.

    Collaboration and Credits

    Black-and-white photos featured at the exhibition on the East Village in the 1980s

    In conjunction with the show, the Tompkins Square Library has been working with material from the New York Public Library special collections, the NYU Fales Downtown library, La MaMa Theater, and Theater for the New City archives.

    Of significant interest are the many photographs and fascinating ephemera and reproductions from the East Village in the 1980's.

    At a kickoff event, the Library hosted A Conversation with: Penny Arcade, Clayton Patterson and Chris Rael, who talked about the East Village in the 1980s. The discussion was moderated by Andy McCarthy.

    You can see photos from the event here, courtesy ONEDAYBABY, and watch a one-minute video from the show. (Music in the video is Zasapalooza (c) 2000 by Chris Rael & Deep Singh, Morbid Stork Music (BMI).)  

    Generous support for The Tompkins Square Library’s East Village presentation has been provided by the Exhibition and Public Programs Office in SASBArt and Architecture Collection Department in SASB, NYU Fales Library,  La MaMa Experimental TheaterTheater for the New City, volunteers and friends of the library. Many thanks for your brilliant ideas, inspiration and participation.

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    An illustration of a chair and table by a fireplace with a wreath over a nearby window; it says Hearty greetings and all kinds of good wishes for Christmas and the New Year

    It’s that time of year, as the snow and cold weather arrive, when every spare moment seems to involve either baking or shopping or decorating or wrapping or cooking or writing or, or, or… Well, I’m here to say it’s okay to take time for yourself!

    Put down whatever it is you’re doing, pick up a book full of cozy things, make yourself a nice, hot drink (cocoa, mulled wine, tea… you decide), wrap that fuzzy blanket around you, get a nice chill mix of music playing and put your feet up! You’ve earned it! This is hyggeat it’s hyggiest!

    Here’s a list of some of my favorite cozy reads for this holiday season. Enjoy!

    Cozy Reads for Christmas

    One Day in December book cover

    One Day in December by Josie Silver

    On a snowy London evening right before Christmas, Laurie is on the upper deck of a bus on her way home when she locks eyes with a mystery man standing at the bus stop. It feels like love at first sight but, before either of them can do anything about it, the bus pulls away.

    Laurie will spend the next year looking for her mystery man. When she finally finds him, it turns out he’s her best friend’s new boyfriend. Over the next 10 years, Laurie, Jack, and Sarah will navigate friendship, romance and sex, and what comes next.  

    Make sure you have plenty of reading time when you start this. It's pretty un-put-downable!

    Prince in Disguise book cover

    Prince in Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm

    Dylan’s pageant queen sister Dusty is the star of the reality series Prince in Disguise, and now she’s nabbed her prince—err, make that Scottish Lord, Ronan Murray. Much to Dylan’s dismay this means she must now spend Christmas in Scotland filming the Prince in Disguise wedding special. In no way does she want to end up the B plot or breakout star of some second rate reality show but she has no choice.

    Dylan is soon shipped off to a drafty castle filled with crazy in-laws and manipulative TV producers, where she meets Jamie, one of Ronan’s groomsmen, who’s funny, smart and awkward, with the bluest blue eyes she’s ever seen. Christmas in Scotland might not be so bad after all.

    An unexpected gem full of charm, wit, and lovely, swoony surprises, that leaves you with lots of warm and fuzzy feelings by the end. One of my faves of 2018. 

    someone to trust

    Someone to Trust by Mary Balogh

    It’s Christmas and Colin, Lord Hodges, should be looking for a suitable bride but the beautiful widow Elizabeth catches his eye. Almost 10 years Colin's senior, Elizabeth (and Colin) knows there can be no question of marriage, but a magical Christmas day has them rethinking what makes a suitable match.

    In A Very Special Christmas, a Mary Balogh holiday novella collection, Balogh brings the full force of English country Christmases with all the festive trimmings. Mistletoe is always hung and emotional wounds are always healed. 

    Mary Balogh is a master at writing the perfect Regency Christmas story.  If that's your jam, you'll love these!


    Christmas on the Island book cover

    Christmas on the Islandby Jenny Colgan

    On the remote Scottish island of Mure, the Christmas season is stark, windy, icy and… festive. It's a time for getting cozy in front of whisky barrel wood fires, and enjoying a dram and a treacle pudding with the people you love—unless, of course, you’re Flora and you've accidentally gotten pregnant by your ex-boss, and don't know how to tell him.

    Meanwhile, Saif, a doctor and refugee from war-torn Syria is trying to enjoy his first western Christmas with his sons on this remote island, where he’s been granted asylum. His wife, however, is still missing and her absence hangs over what should be a joyful celebration.

    Travel to the beautiful northern edge of the world and join the welcoming community of Mure for a Highland Christmas you'll never forget.

    Jenny Colgan might be the inventor of the hygge holiday romance. Her Christmas novels are the warmest, coziest, bakiest novels I've ever read. 

    Christmas at the Chalet book cover

    Christmas at the Chalet by Anita Hughes

    It’s Christmas week in the exclusive Swiss Alps town of St. Moritz. Wedding gown designer Felicity is there for the biggest fashion show of her career. When her boyfriend gives her a spa day instead of ring, she thinks that she may never walk down the aisle in one of her own creations.

    Nell, a model in Felicity’s show, is planning her dream wedding to her dream guy but her bickering family is ruining the fairytale. Surrounded by stunning vistas, snow-capped mountains, and the magic of the season, Felicity and Nell both need some good, old-fashioned Christmas miracles.

    If you're in need of a little jet-setting this holiday season, Anita Hughes is your girl!

    The Twelve Clues of Christmas book cover

    The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen

    It’s Christmas 1933 in Scotland and Lady Georgiana Rannoch may be 36th in line to the British throne but she is also penniless and freezing! So when she gets a job hosting a holiday gathering down south in the tiny village of Tiddleton-under-Lovey, she leaves as soon as she can.

    Spending the holiday in such a picturesque place should be like something straight out of a Jane Austen novel. Instead, Lady Georgiana finds herself surrounded by villagers and partygoers dying in "accidents." Luckily, Lady Georgiana is pretty handy around a crime scene.

    Lady Georgianna mysteries are akin to 1930s screwball comedies filled with all your favorite British eccentricities, and a solid mystery to keep readers guessing.

    Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners

    Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners by Gretchen Anthony

    For Violet Baumgartner, the family’s annual holiday letter proves the perfection and success of the family. This year, the big event in the letter will be her husband’s retirement party. But the party becomes a disaster when, in front of 200 guests, Violet's daughter Cerise confesses a shocking secret.

    Violet, Cerise, and the rest of the Baumgartners are soon embroiled in an epic battle of wills and family dysfunction with their friends and relatives ensnared as witnesses to their very un-Baumgartner-like behavior—that will definitely not be making their holiday letter.

    A debut novel that is a smart, hilarious, easy read. It might make your family dysfunction look simple by comparison. Fingers crossed. 

    What the Dead Leave Behind book cover

    What the Dead Leave Behind  by Rosemary Simpson

    As the Great Blizzard of 1888 cripples New York City, heiress Prudence Mackenzie awaits her fiance’s safe return but as the next day dawns, her fiance is one of the hundreds found frozen to death on the streets. However, he also has his head bashed in and an ace of spades in his hand

    Still filled with grief from her father’s recent death, Prudence is convinced her fiance’s death is no accident. Surrounded by people who may not have her best interests, she must rely on a complete stranger, an old friend of her fiance, who was once a Pinkerton detective.

    This is one of my favorite new historical mystery series: a female character to be reckoned with, a promise of romance, and a lot of great Gilded Age New York details.

    Carols and Chaos book cover

    Carols and Chaos by Cindy Anstey

    It’s 1817 and the joys  of the Yuletide season abound at Shackleford manor. However, lady’s maid Kate Darby and valet Matt Harlow hardly have any time to enjoy the holiday. Between their duties at Shackleford and caring for their own families, they are too busy to do much celebrating. This would be a very inconvenient time for them to fall in love.

    But ignoring their feelings becomes the least of their worries when shady dealings come to Shackleford’s gates, and Kate and Matt get swept up in the intrigue! A stand-alone companion to Suitors and Sabotage.

    The author lovingly sends up everyone's favorite Regency romance tropes to create thoroughly orginal new stories full of wit and charm. Perfect for fans of Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen. 

    Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses

    Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale

    Single mom Abby Fuller has never regretted putting her dreams of becoming an interior designer on hold for a more lucrative job, to better raise her son, Max. But when a friend recommends her for a small decorating job before the holidays, she jumps at the chance. Businessman Nick Sinclair needs his mansion decorated with all the trimmings before his family descends. What he doesn’t need is a distraction—even if it is almost Christmas.

    With snow falling all around, a huge mansion to decorate, and a gorgeous, brooding man stalking the halls, Abby has her hands full this holiday!

    A novel full of festive charm and cheese. If you love a Hallmark Christmas movie, this just might be the perfect book for you!

    Winter in Paradise book cover

    Winter in Paradiseby Elin Hilderbrand

    Irene’s idyllic life in Iowa comes to a crashing halt one cold, wintry evening when she gets a phone call telling her that her husband, away on business, has been killed in a plane crash on the faraway Caribbean island of St. John. She and her two sons soon arrive in paradise, shocked to learn that her beloved husband had been living a secret life.

    Crushed by betrayal and desperate to unravel the lies and intrigue her family’s life has been built on, Irene finds that she and her sons may be finding a new beginning for themselves on their new island home.

    Hilderbrand leaves behind her usual setting of Nantucket to head south to the Caribbean for a new series, with wonderful results. 

    The Christmas Sisters book cover

    The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan

    Up in the snowy Scottish Highlands, Suzanne McBride wants nothing more than her three adopted daughters to make it home for a cozy Christmas. It may be their mother’s dream, but the three sisters are stressing out.

    Workaholic Hannah is hiding a life-changing secret; stay-at-home mom Beth is having a personal crisis, wondering if she should go back to work; and Posy isn’t exactly living her best life, not sure if she’s ready for any big changes, including falling for her sexy neighbor Luke. All hail a family Christmas, whether the family wants one or not.

    The Scottish Highland setting put this on my radar but it's also heartwarming and sexy, making it perfect for this list.

    Bonus Recommendation

    Snowdrift and Other Stories book cover

    Snowdrift and Other Storiesby Georgette Heyer

    A pragmatic governess is rescued from an overturned carriage in the snow, a naive girl breaks into a house to ask for mercy for her feckless brother, a silly schoolgirl returns home for the holiday, two friends find themselves in a duel over a woman, a governess and a soldier of the Peninsular War seek shelter at the same inn… 

    These are just a few of the charming stories from this thoroughly entertaining and witty collection of short romances and stories of independent women, enigmatic men, and silly flibbertigibbets.

    For something more sinister, try Heyer’s mystery A Christmas Party. As a myriad of guests gather for a festive, holiday party they discover there’s a killer in their midst when their universally reviled host is found dead in a room locked from the inside!

    Georgetter Heyer is a favorite author who never disappoints. These are fun, quick reads if you don't have a lot of time on your hands. 

    For even more reading suggestions try our 2017 list, Cozy Christmas Reads.

    And for even more fun, check out my Spotify playlist, A Hygge Christmas, created especially for this post. Happy holidays, everyone!


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    Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts

    John McPhee with Paul Holdengraber on stage at LIVE from NYPL
    Photo by Sarah Stacke

    In his seventh collection of essays, The Patch, master non-fiction writer John McPhee shares a montage of stories and reflections that range from a visit to the Hershey chocolate factory to encounters with Oscar Hammerstein, Joan Baez, and Mount Denali. Calling on his signature devotion to structure, McPhee has winnowed this body of work to present a random assembly he calls an “album quilt,” a memoir as only he could write it. He will spoke with Paul Holdengräber about the arc of his life and career. 

    Click here to find out how to subscribe and listen to the Library Talks podcast.

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    Like an animated alphabet book, the film A is for Aye-Aye: An Abecedarian Adventure captures images from the alphabetized subject headings of the New York Public Library Picture Collection to create a world that comes to life one letter at a time. Augusta Palmer’s 14-minute film uses a library resource as the jumping off point for a child’s imagination.

     An illustration of an aye-aye with the text "A is for Aye-Aye" and an apple hanging from the letter A.

    In the film, the rows of black folders on the shelves before Iris, the 9-year-old protagonist, are a bit intimidating at first glance. How does Iris begin here? She looks around at the adults in the room for help. There are two approaches: She can wander back and find a subject that interests her, grab the folder, and let serendipity take her; or, she can ask the librarian at the desk for help with a subject.

    Lucky for us, when Iris enters the collection, imagination wins! A is for Aye-Aye takes us on an adventure that captures all the glory of inspiration that can be gathered and manipulated from this diverse collection of pictures. We asked filmmaker Augusta Palmer a few questions about her ideas for the film:

    Where did the idea for your film A is for Aye-Aye begin?

    Children's illustrations with the letters A, B, C, D
    A-B-C-D by Walter Crane, 1909. NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 1701865

    I fell in love with the Picture Collection when I was still in my twenties, but the idea for the film started to percolate when my oldest child, Laila, was starting to read in 2010.

    I suddenly thought, why not make an ABC film using images from the Collection. It took quite a few years, two Kickstarters and great collaborators like animator Sabina Hahn, who brought so much of her own vision to the piece. When she was 9, my daughter became the star of the film, so her collaboration and inspiration were essential.

    Why did you use a child's perspective in the film? Did you ever use the Picture Collection when you were a kid?

    I grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, so I couldn't go to the Picture Collection as a kid. The downtown library in Little Rock was one of my favorite places, and one of the first places I was allowed to go on my own.

    It was a real refuge for me, and that's the experience I wanted to convey and the reason I used a child's point of view. I just wanted to celebrate creating a whole world in your mind at the library. That, combined with experiences I had at the Picture Collection. Someone really did raise a magnifying glass and look at me through it one day, just as happens to the girl in the film.

    A is for Aye-Aye uses hundreds of pictures to create the animation in the movie. How did you choose the images?

    I really just chose images that attracted my eye and my mind from each letter. It was very intuitive. I made quite a lot of collages to start. Later on, animator Sabina Hahn used those as a jumping-off point but also found images I'd overlooked and brought in her own great taste and ideas about movement.

    Music also plays an important role in the film. How did you and Greg Karnilaw, the composer, come up with the score?

    I've known Greg for over 20 years now and I really trust his instincts. He scored a documentary I co-directed with my husband, Chris Arnold, called If You Succeed and, from that point on, I saw that he always saw another layer beyond what I see in a given scene. He really got that the film is about play and about interiority, and the score reflects that in an amazing way.

    He began composing before the film was finished and was like a master tailor, shortening and lengthening pieces to fit the completed film. One of my favorite parts of making the film was watching the musicians record the score; it was amazing to hear and see!

    Do you have a favorite folder or subject in the Collection?

    It's not in the film, but I love that there are folders labeled "Dead, The" with all kinds of funeral imagery. I love the folders on music and all the beaches folders, as well as the many place folders, like the one for the Gilbert Islands. And, naturally, I love Book Illustrations - ABC Books.

    Appropriately, A is for Aye-Aye begins with a girl arriving at the library in front of the Schwarzman Building. She crosses the street to the Mid-Manhattan Library to begin her adventure in the Picture Collection. The film ends with the girl musing with the aye-aye back in front of the Schwarzman Building, foreshadowing the Picture Collection’s relocation to where it began 103 years ago.

    A little girl stands in front of a lion statue at the New Public Library, from the film A is for Aye-AyeWhen the New York Public Library opened in 1911, patrons began requesting pictures of things. They often didn’t need a whole book on Abraham Lincoln, and they didn’t necessarily know who had photographed him, they just wanted to see a picture of him, or of a platypus, or it could have been Union Square.

    In response, librarians began collecting pictures of things as requested by the public and the Picture Collection was slowly built in the stacks off of the cataloging room at the time, Room 100. The Collection was pieced together by requests from the public like, "I need a picture of a solar eclipse" or "people treading grapes." The librarian would file the request and let the patron know when they had found a picture to suit the need.

    Postcard image of Union Square, New York City
    Union Square postcard. NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 836187 

    During the 1930s, Works Progress Administration (WPA) workers began filling the Collection files with pictures from newspaper and magazine sources and it grew rapidly.It began with 23,500 pictures and boasted over 2 million in the 1940s.  It moved from its beginning in Room 100, to the ground floor of the Central Building, where it eventually overflowed the boundaries of its assigned space into the adjacent hallway.

    By the early 1980s, the Collection moved again, given a new home and a new shelving system at the Mid-Manhattan Library across the street. It resided in this space for about 35 years until the summer of 2017 when it moved back to the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street. Once again happily housed in Room 100, the Picture Collection still collects pictures, notes their sources, and files them by subject for the inspiration of anyone doing image research.

    Engraving of an aye-aye
    Aye-aye engraving. NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 821859 

    Join us for A is for Aye-Aye workshops with Augusta Palmer in December in the Picture Collection:

    Build a World: Film screening and Collage Workshop
    Wednesday, December 12, 2018, 4 PM, all ages

    Inspired by the collages of filmmaker Augusta Palmer’s A is for Aye-Aye: An Abecedarian Adventure, workshop participants will create their own collages on paper using elements collected from the NYPL Picture Collection. Will your collage create a sense of play between line, color, and form? Will it create an imaginary space that could host a series of mysterious events? Or an expected character who inhabits your new world?

    Build Your Own Beast: Film screening and Stop Motion Animation Workshop
    Saturday, December 15, 2018, 11 AM, children’s workshop

    After watching A is for Aye-Aye: An Abecedarian Adventure, workshop participants will create their own characters using elements from the collection. Kids will work together to create a short stop-motion animation featuring their new creations.

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    What makes the Library Shop a one-of-a-kind destination? It's the inspiration of the Beaux Arts landmark building located in the heart of New York and the mission of all libraries, which gives us free access to every book and word ever written.

    As a result of such inspiration, more than half the items on this list are original designs that range from calendars to ornaments and jewelry, and from an Italian leather backpack to a new quote tote. Available only at The Library Shop.

    Top 10 Holiday Gifts at the Library Shop

    1. Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany

    The cover and two inside pages from the book Bibliophile

    Book lovers rejoice! In this love letter to all things bookish, Jane Mount brings literary people, places, and things to life through her signature and vibrant illustrations. As a bonus, the book features our main building as well as recommendations from one of our booksellers.

    2. Leather NYPL Bookbinding Stamp Backpack

    Three views of a leather backpack

    This compact leather backpack is designed and produced in Italy. It features a bookbinding stamp originally used on the spine of books bound in, and for, The New York Public Library.

    3. NYPL Library Card Ornament

    Colorful book covers with a New York Public Library check-out card on top of a red book

    Did you know that for nearly 100 years, most library books were checked out using the two-card system? One stayed in the book, the other with the librarian. This new NYPL library card ornament is inspired by the original and has quickly become one of our top-selling ornaments!

    4. 2019 Bookish Quote Calendar

    Samples of pages from the Bookish Quote calendar including the quote A book is a dream you hold in your hand
    This calendar is filled with inspiring bookish quotes for every month, featuring Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. Seuss, William Faulkner, George Eliot, Michelangelo, Albert Einstein, Cicero, Jorge Luis Borges, Jane Austen, Neil Gaiman, Fran Lebowitz, and Mark Strand.

    5. Library Tote Bag Ornament

    Back and front image of a small ornament replica of the New York Public Library tote bag
    This NYPL 2018 exclusive design is modeled from our "What Are You Reading Now" tote. Hang it on your tree and add it to your armful of shopping bags from 5th Avenue!

    6. Dickens Quote Tote Bag

    A red tote bag with the quote What greater gift than the love of a cat

    The latest in our Quote Tote series, this double-sided bag features a cat quote from Charles Dickens on one side, and our favorite cat on the other.

    7. Logo Charm & Necklace

    One gold necklace and one silver necklace, each with a charm featuring the New York Public Library lion logo

    Imprinted with the Library's award-winning logo, this clean, modern charm declares your support for the Library, its programs, and its mission.

    8. When in Doubt Socks

    Maroon socks with the text When in doubt, go to the Library
    We might be preaching to the choir here, but we think the message on these socks is indisputable. Whether for learning or entertainment, escape or inspiration, the Library has books for everyone.

    9. Book Stack Earrings

    A pair of gold-colored earrings, each with a charm of a stack of books

    A little stack of books for your bookish style, available in gold and silver to go with every outfit. Made for NYPL.

    10. Library Lion Bookends

    Five books in between marble-looking bookends of the New York Public Library lions
    The New York Public Library marble lions, Patience and Fortitude, flanking the entrance to the Library's Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, are familiar and beloved icons for New Yorkers and visitors to the city. If you've been eyeing our lion bookends for years, perhaps this is your moment.

    Check out more of our top gifts here and don’t forget to check out our newsletter! Sign up and receive 10% off your first Shop order.

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    Welcome back, Cookie Lit fans! Tuesday, December 4 is National Cookie Day and the New York Public Library staff is back with more literary cookie recipes to help you celebrate. Of course, the recipes from our 2015, 2016 and 2017 Cookie Lit blog posts are still available (and delicious), but we have a whole new batch for 2018!

    A plate of cookies and a great book go hand-in-hand, so try your hand at creating some of this year's entries. Just click on any of these scrumptious-sounding recipes for a quick link to literary cookie goodness: 

    Peanut Butter Banana Cookies | Russian Tea Cookies | Chocolate Chirp Cookies | Bread and Jam Brown Sugar Shorties | Chocolat Chocolate Chip Cookies | Nevermore Eggnog Cookies | Wee Free Men Cookies | If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Cookies | The Woman in White Cookies | Flourentines | Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread | Snow White Christmas Cookies

    Peanut Butter Banana Cookies
    Susen Shi of Mid-Manhattan Library

    It's a hunk, a hunk of burning love. Love for peanut butter and bananas, that is. Partake in a favorite combination of Elvis Presley, but the cookie edition. Best with a warm glass of milk and some rock 'n' roll!

    Recipe from Gimme Some Oven:

    Black and white photo of Elvis Presley, but with him "holding" his biography in one hand and a plate of cookies in the other
    Original Elvis Presley image from Wikimedia Commons
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
    • 1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter 
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 cup mashed banana (about 1 medium banana)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • (optional: cane sugar, for sprinkling)

    1. Heat oven to 350º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

    2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, cornstarch, salt, baking soda and cinnamon until combined. Set aside.

    3. In the (separate) bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add peanut butter, egg, banana, and vanilla, and continue mixing on medium speed until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl once if needed. Fold in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

    4. Measure out a rounded tablespoon-full of dough, roll it into a ball, then place on the baking sheet. Use a fork to press down the top of the ball and make a criss-cross pattern. Sprinkle with a pinch of cane sugar, if desired. Repeat with remaining dough.

    5. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until slightly golden around the edges. Cool for 10 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

    6. Serve immediately or store in a sealed container for up to 1 week.

    Russian Tea Cookies
    Nancy Kandoian of Maps, Local History & Genealogy

    "Nina weighed the Count's remark, then looking once to her left and once to her right, she confided. She explained that while the card room was rarely used, at three o'clock on Wednesdays four women met there without fail for a regular game of whist; and if you arrived by two thirty and hid in the cupboard, you could hear their every word--which included a good deal of cursing; and when the ladies left, you could eat the rest of their cookies." from A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.

    Betty Crocker made Russian Tea Cakes a classic in her Betty Crocker Cookbook of All Purpose Baking back in 1942, when the Soviet Union was our ally during World War II. Today, you might know those cookies by another name; whatever they were called, with their richness of butter and nuts, they would have been a good choice for the card-playing ladies and Count Rostov, the gentleman living out his days under Bolshevik rule in the grand Hotel Metropol in central Moscow.  You can find the Theatre Square location on this Plan gor. Moskvy (map) from 1931.

    • 1 cup butter or margarine, softenedPhoto of Russian tea cookies with a copy of the book A Gentleman in Moscow
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 1/4 cups Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup finely chopped nuts
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • Powdered sugar

    1. Heat oven to 400º F.

    2. Mix butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and the vanilla in large bowl. Stir in flour, nuts and salt until dough holds together.

    3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

    4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool slightly on wire rack.

    5. Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar; cool on wire rack. Roll in powdered sugar again.

    Chocolate Chirp Cookies
    Arieh Ress of SIBL/Mid-Manhattan Library

    "'Frog,' said Toad, 'let us eat one very last cookie, and then we will stop.' Frog and Toad ate one very last cookie. 'We must stop eating!' cried Toad as he ate another. 'Yes,' said Frog, reaching for a cookie, 'we need willpower.'" - Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel. (Read Frog and Toad Together or watch it!)

    Like it or not, bugs are the future of sustainable protein, not to mention part of the average day in much of the world, with more than two billion people worldwide eating bugs. With a very small carbon footprint and universal ease of access, these ubiquitous critters may even be kosher!

    While some recipes call for cricket flour along with whole crickets, we took our recipe from The Telegraph as it only had whole crickets, and we thought it best to ease into the next big food staple. Frog and Toad seem to have a lot of difficulty with willpower when it comes to their delicious cookies and, if you can forget what's in them, we think you'll have the same "problem" with these! 

    Yield: 48 cookies
    Photo of Chocolate Chirp Cookies

    • 2 ¼ cups of plain flour
    • 1tsp. baking soda
    • 1tsp. salt
    • 1cup unsalted butter, softened
    • ¾ cup caster sugar
    • ¾ cup brown sugar
    • 1tsp. vanilla
    • 2 eggs
    • 12 ounces chocolate chips
    • 1 cup chopped mixed nuts (optional)
    • ½ cup dry- roasted crickets

    1. Pre-heat the oven to 375º F.

    2. Mix together butter, all sugar, and vanilla and beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

    3. Beat in the eggs and then slowly add flour, salt and baking soda.

    4. Stir in the nuts, insects and chocolate chips.

    5. Place rounded teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto a greased baking tray and put in the oven for 8-10 minutes.

    Bread and Jam Brown Sugar Shorties
    Stephanie Anderson of BookOps

    Bread and Jam for Frances is supposed to be a morality tale about the perils of being a picky eater but, as a kid, I never understood what could be so wrong about bread and jam for every meal. (Although I did covet the little cardboard shaker of salt that Frances had in her lunchbox!)

    The recipe for this cookie comes from Smitten Kitchen's Brown Butter Brown Sugar Shorties. You can use strawberry or gooseberry jam, as they are both mentioned by Frances in one of her little jam songs, or go into uncharted territory with your own favorite! 

    Yield: 32 cookiesPhoto of jam cookies with a copy of the book Bread and Jam for Frances

    • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
    • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar (preferably dark)
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt (flaky salt would be great in these)
    • Jam of your choice
    • Demerara sugar (Sugar in the Raw) or sanding sugar for rolling (optional)

    1. Cut butter into four or five pieces and cook butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it has a nutty fragrance and flecks on bottom of pan turn a light brown, anywhere from 4 to 7 minutes. It helps to frequently scrape the solids off the bottom of the pan in the last couple minutes to ensure even browning. Transfer butter to a bowl and chill until just firm, about 1 hour.

    2. Beat together butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Beat in vanilla, then mix in flour and salt at low speed until just combined.

    3. Transfer dough to a sheet of wax paper or parchment and form into a long rectangle so that the sliced cookies will  look more like bread slices,  about 12-inches long, 1 1/2 inches tall. Chill, wrapped in wax paper, until firm, about 1 hour.

    4. Preheat oven to 350° F with rack in middle. Unwrap dough and roll it in coarse sugar, if using, and press the granules in with the paper you’d be using to wrap it. Slice dough into 1/4-inch-thick slices, arranging 1 1/2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Press a small indent with your thumb or a small spoon.

    5.Bake until surface is dry and edges are slightly darker, 10 to 12 minutes. Let sit on sheet for a minute before transferring to a rack to cool. (Cookies will quite fragile at first, but will firm up as they cool.) Once cooled, fill indent with jam of your choice.

    Pro tip: the greatness of the slice-and-bake cookie is that you can just bake a few at a time and then hide the rest in the fridge (for a week) or the freezer (for a month) until the craving strikes again.

    Chocolat Chocolate Chip Cookies
    Kathleen Kalmes of Science, Industry and Business Library (SIBL)

    "Happiness. Simple as a glass of chocolate or tortuous as the heart. Bitter. Sweet. Alive." -Chocolatby Joanne Harris

    These doubly-chocolatey cookies are the perfect companion to Joanne Harris' novel about the transformational magic of including a bit of sweetness in your life. Happiness indeed!

    Yield: 48 cookiesA plate of chocolate chocolate chip cookies with a copy of the book Chocolat

    • 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 cup butter (2 sticks softened)
    • ¾ cup light brown sugar
    • ¾ cups granulated sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 2/3 cup Cocoa
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips
    • 1 cups nuts (optional)

    1. Heat oven to 375° F.

    2. Stir together flour, cocoa and baking soda.

    3. Cream the sugar, add eggs and vanilla, beat well.

    4. Gradually add flour mixture.

    5. Add chip and nuts if using.

    6. Drop by rounded teaspoon on ungreased cookie sheet.

    7. Bake 8 to 10 minutes.

    Nevermore Eggnog Cookies
    Elizabeth Waters of Mid-Manhattan Library 

    "Quoth the Raven 'Nevermore.'" -The Ravenby Edgar Allan Poe

    It seems that eggnog was a favorite drink of Edgar Allan Poe in his college days, so we made some rich, spicy eggnog-inspired cookies to enjoy while reading The Raven and other Poe classics. Gothic icing is optional.

    If you’d like eggnog with your cookies, check out this version of the Poe family eggnog recipe. And Instagrammers can find a special Insta Novel edition of The Raven @nypl.
    Eggnog Snickerdoodles (adapted from America's Test Kitchen's The Perfect Cookie)

    Yield: 48 cookiesEggnog Snickerdoodle cookies and the book Edgar Allan Poe, Complete and Unabridged

    • 2½ c all purpose flour
    • 2 tsp cream of tartar
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg (reserve ½ tsp for later)
    • ¾ tsp cinnamon
    • 16 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
    • 1¼  c packed light brown sugar (original recipe calls for 1½ c granulated sugar.)
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1¼  tsp rum extract
    • ¾ tsp vanilla extract
    • ½ c confectioners sugar

    1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

    2. Whisk flour cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a bowl.

    3. Beat together butter and granulated sugar at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes

    4. Add eggs, one at a time, and rum and vanilla extracts, and beat until incorporated.

    5. Reduce speed to low and and slowly add flour mixture; mix until just combined.

    6. Working with 1 tablespoon of dough at a time, roll into balls and space them 2 inches apart on prepared sheets. Using bottom of greased dry measuring cup, press each ball to even ½ inch thickness. (I recommend chilling dough for an hour or two first to make it easier to work with.)

    7. Bake cookies until edges are lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack.

    8. Whisk confectioners’ sugar and nutmeg together in small bowl and dust cookies with mixture before serving.

    Notes: The original recipe did not call for adding spices to the dough. I added both nutmeg and cinnamon, and included some vanilla extract with the rum extract since I like vanilla in eggnog. The original recipe uses 1 ½ tsp. of rum extract and no vanilla.

    The America’s Test Kitchen editors also note that rum can be substituted for rum extract, but the flavor will be less pronounced. My family thought the combination of the two extracts made for a delicious eggnog cookie.

    Wee Free Men Cookies
    Jenny Baum of Jefferson Market Library

    "'They think written words are even more powerful,' whispered the toad. 'They think all writing is magic. Words worry them. See their swords? They glow blue in the presence of lawyers.'" -The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

    These Wee Free Men cookies are sugar cookies with blue icing to resemble their namesakes—minus their shock of red hair. I used an animal cookie recipe adapted from Chloe's Vegan Desserts by Chloe Coscarelli. The icing is a half a cup of powdered sugar mixed with 2 teaspoons soy milk, with a tiny amount of blue food coloring added.

    Yield: about 60 1-inch cookiesCookies in the shape of little blue men, with a copy of the book The Wee Free Men
    • 1 1/4 c. all purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 cup vegan margarine
    • 1 to 2 tablespoons water
    • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • Cookie icing

    1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two or three large baking sheets with Silpat or parchment paper.

    2. In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, and baking soda. Add margarine, 1 tablespoon water, and vanilla. Pulse until soft and doughy. If needed, add 1 more tablespoon water.

    3. Working with half the dough at a time, place the dough between 2 large sheets of floured parchment paper. Roll dough out until it is 1/4 inch thick. Gently peel off the top sheet of parchment paper.

    4. Using a 1-inch cookie cutter, cut out as many shapes as you can. You can combine any remaining scraps to roll and cut more cookies.

    5. Place the shapes on the prepared baking sheets about 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly gold around the edges. Let cool on the pan.

    6. Decorate the cookies with icing. Let set, then serve.

    If You Give  a Mouse a Cookie Cookies
    Gwen Glazer of Readers Services

    "If you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to ask for a glass of milk." -If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff

    Putting the "lit" in "literal" are some If You Give a Mouse a Cookie cookies, based on the book. The text doesn’t offer much information about the actual cookies, but going by Felicia Bond’s sweet illustrations, I'm guessing they're chocolate chip. 

    I used the Copycat Levain Bakery recipe and followed it to the letter (don’t skip the refrigeration step and don’t overbake!) These cookies are gigantic and delicious, well worthy of a frenetic mouse and the exhausted kid who’s been chasing him around all day. 

    Yield: 12 giant cookies!Chocolate chip cookies, a glass of milk, and a copy of the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
    • 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour (I used King Arthur Unbleached AP Flour)
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
    • 3/4 cup + 4 teaspoons (6 ounces) light or dark brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 eggs, cold, lightly beaten in a separate bowl
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 cups dark chocolate chips (Large ones make for gooier chocolate puddles throughout!)

    1. Line a large baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper. 

    2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, powder, and salt. 

    3. In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until it comes together in one lump, about 1 minute. Add in the sugars and beat for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves into the butter. Lower the speed to medium-low, and mix in the eggs and vanilla and beat until mixed (the batter will be lumpy). Gradually add in the flour mixture, beating until a little flour remains. Fold in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.

    4. Divide the dough into 12 even pieces. Shape the dough roughly into a ball, but do not roll it. Place on the prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes but up to 12 hours before baking.

    5. Preheat oven to 375° F. Bake cookies for 15 to 20 minutes, until light golden brown. When in doubt, take your cookies out early. The cookies will continue to cook as they cool. There's nothing that ruins them more than being overcooked. I can't stress this enough! Cool on a wire rack, then serve!

    The Woman in White cookies
    Jenny Baum of Jefferson Market Library

    This "Cookie in White" has Victorian flair and a secret surprise nestled inside. It would even appeal to the character of Count Fosco who has "a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons and poison" as Wilkie Collins wrote in The Woman in White
    Frosted Coconut Sprinkled Almond Cookies: Adapted from the Cranberry Walnut Thumbprints recipe in Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz& Terry Hope Romero
    • 1/2 cup canola oilA plate of white cookies with a copy of the book The Woman in White
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
    • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup mini white chocolate chips
    • 1 cup whole almonds
    • white vanilla frosting (store bought or following directions)
    • unsweetened coconut shreds
    For the frosting:
    • 2 tablespoons nonhydrogenated margarine, softened
    • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
    • 1 tablespoon nondairy milk
    • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanillla extract

    1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

    2. Beat ingredients through salt together to form a stiff dough.

    3. Stir in white chocolate chips.

    4. Pat into small golf ball size cookies. Place whole almond in the middle, flatten slightly and place on the cookie sheets.

    5. Bake for 15 minutes.

    6. Allow cookies to cool sufficiently before frosting and dipping tops in shredded unsweetened coconut.

    7. Mix frosting ingredients together until creamy enough to spread. If too dry add another teaspoon of non-dairy milk; if too runny, add in another tablespoon of powdered sugar.

    Virginia Bartow of Special Formats Processing

    The Florentine Deception by Carey Nachenberg starts off with a simple enough task, and lands its hero in the middle of an incredible adventure. These cookies also start out simple enough… but the end result will blow you away!

    A plate of pastries with a gooey topping and a copy of the book The Florentine DeceptionPastry

    • 14 oz. (28 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened
    • 1-1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
    • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 lb. 5 oz. (4-2/3 cups) all-purpose flour


    • 1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
    • 2 Tbs. light corn syrup
    • 3/4 cup water
    • 7 oz. (14 Tbs.) unsalted butter
    •  3/4 cup honey
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 2 tsp. freshly grated orange zest
    • 17 oz. (4 cups) sliced blanched almonds, lightly toasted
    • 3/4 cup chopped candied orange peel (optional)
    •  6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

    1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter the bottom and sides of an 11” x 17” rimmed baking sheet. Line the bottom and sides with parchment paper, leaving about 1-inch overhanging at the short ends. Butter the parchment.

    2. Cream the butter with the sugar, then add the flour and salt and stir until incorporated.

    3. Spread the crumbs on the baking sheet and with floured hands press them into a thin, even layer on the bottom and up the sides of the sheet pan (between 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick). Patch any cracks or holes at this point.

    4. Refrigerate for 10 minutes, or until firm. Blind bake the dough by covering it with parchment and baking weights (or dried beans) in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the weights by spooning them off of the parchment, remove the parchment carefully, and bake the dough another 10 minutes. Cool completely.

    5. In a large saucepan, heat the cream with the orange zest over moderate heat, just until bubbles appear around the edge, about 5 minutes, and set aside.

    6. In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the sugar with the corn syrup and water and bring to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring just until the sugar dissolves. Cook the syrup over moderately high heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until a medium amber caramel forms (350° on a candy thermometer), about 5 minutes. Remove immediately from the heat. Add the honey and the butter to the caramelized sugar (very carefully as the hot mixture will bubble up). Bring it back to a boil.

    7. Add the infused cream, again it will bubble up. Cook the caramel topping over moderately high heat until a candy thermometer registers 255° (about 4 minutes). Stir in the almonds (and candied orange rind, if using) and immediately spread the caramel over the pastry with a wooden spoon.

    8. Return the baking sheet to the oven and for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the topping is bubbling. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let cool completely.

    9. Run a knife around the edge of the baking sheet to loosen the pastry and turn it over, parchment side up onto a flat baking sheet. Remove the parchment and using a serrated knife, score the pastry (not the filling), trimming around the edges, and then scoring every 1 ½ inches parallel to the short side. Then score on the diagonal 1 inch apart. Using a sharp knife cut through filling on the scored lines, first trimming the edges (a great treat for anyone who wanders through the kitchen) and then cutting out the diamond shaped cookies.

    10. Put the cookies right side up on two wire racks over wax paper. Melt 6 ounces of the chocolate in a bowl in a microwave oven for about 1 minute. Put the melted chocolate in a small plastic bag. Snip the corner off and drizzle melted chocolate over all of the cookies. Refrigerate until the chocolate is just set, about 5 minutes.

    Note:  The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 2 months.

    Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread
    Anne Rouyer of Mulberry Street Library

    No Scottish Christmas is complete without a tin of shortbread at the ready! Here, we get all posh by fancying it up with chocolate and peppermint extract. So snuggle down in front of that wood fire, enjoying a dram and a wee bit of shortbread.

    Inspired by Christmas on the Island by Jenny Colgan
    Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread with a copy of the book Christmas on the Island

    • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 cup butter
    • 2 tsp peppermint extract (NOT mint or spearmint)
    • 1 3/4 cups flour
    • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
    • 6 oz chocolate chips or disks
    • Peppermint Baking Chips for sprinkling (I use Andes mints)

    1. Heat oven to 350° F and spray sides of an 8-inch cake pan or springform pan and put parchment paper on the bottom of the pan.

    2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.

    3. Add peppermint extract and mix until smooth.

    4. Add flour and cocoa powder gradually, incorporating slowly and mix until combined. Dough will be very thick.

    5. With lightly floured hands, press dough evenly into pan.

    6. Bake 22 to 24 minutes or until edges just begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool in pan about 5 minutes. Carefully cut the round into 16 wedges. Cool completely in the pan on cooling rack, about 30 minutes.

    7. Melt chocolate in microwave at 20 second intervals, mixing each time until chocolate is fully melted.

    8. Pour chocolate into a piping bag with a small round tip (or into a ziplock bag with a corner cut off) and drizzle chocolate over cookies.

    9. Sprinkle peppermint baking chips onto chocolate as you go—chocolate dries quickly.

    Snow White Christmas Cookies
    by Melissa Scheurer of Mid-Manhattan Library

    I was inspired to make a cookie that looked like the snow-covered Christmas tree on the cover of David Handler's The Snow White Christmas Cookie. They do remind me of my type of Christmas tree—twinkly and festive with random ornaments spaced unevenly and tinsel thrown on for good measure. The recipe comes from Culinary Envy
    • 2 cups (4 sticks) butter, softenedSnow White Christmas Cookies with a copy of the book The Snow White Christmas Cookie
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 3¾ cups flour
    • 1 small box (3.3 oz) White Chocolate Instant Pudding Mix (not sugar-free)
    • 2 cups white chocolate chips
    • 1½ cups dried cranberries
    • ½ cup pecans, chopped (optional)

    For decorating:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat or parchment paper.

    2. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

    3. Add in flour and instant pudding and mix until combined.

    4. Fold in white chocolate chips, dried cranberries and pecans.

    5. Roll cookies into about a 1½" ball and place onto baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Lightly press down on cookies to slightly flatten (or if you want to cut them out using cookie cutters; on a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into a ¼ inch (.6 cm) thick circle. Cut into rounds or other shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter. Place on the prepared baking sheets and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. This will firm up the dough so the cookies will maintain their shape when baked).

    6. Bake at 350° F for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies start to slightly brown around the edges.

    7. Allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before moving to cooling rack.

    8. If you are decorating: I just placed the morsels, M&Ms, peppermint, and sprinkles on top while they were cooling on the baking sheet. I let them cool completely before I used the white icing to decorate the top.

    Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

    Thank you to all our bakers, and to those who came up with ideas for them to bake! 

    Please share your #CookieLit ideas below and you could see them in next year's edition. If you bake some of these recipes, don't forget snap some pics and use the hashtag #CookieLit when you post.

    See you with more recipes next year!

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    Insta Novels - The Metamorphosis

    The New York Public Library released another edition of Insta Novels: The Metamorphosis, a novella by Franz Kafka illustrated by César Pelizer (@cesarpelizer). The Metamorphosis is available to read on the Library's Instagram account  (@nypl).

    Insta Novels reimagine Instagram’s Stories feature as a new platform for some of the most iconic stories ever written. Insta Novels were first launched in August 2018 with a digital version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by Magoz (@magoz). In October, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story "The Yellow Wallpaper," illustrated by Buck (@buck_design), was released to read on the Library's Instagram account. On Halloween, Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" was released at midnight. The program, created by independent advertising and creative agency Mother in New York and developed in partnership with the Library, aims to make these stories more widely available, reach new audiences, and turn a space for fleeting interactions into one for immersive reading.

    How to Read The Metamorphosis on Instagram

    First, go to the Library's Instagram account (@nypl) and tap "Metamorphosis 1" in the highlights section, right under the bio.

    Rest your thumb on lower right part of the screen to hold the page, and lift your thumb to turn the page. (The lower right thumb holder is designed to double as a flip book: if you lift your thumb and let the pages flip, you'll see an animation.)

    Did you miss the previous Insta Novels of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, "The Yellow Wallpaper," or "The Raven?" You can still read the Insta Novel editions by locating them on our virtual bookshelf in the highlights section of the Library's Instagram account (@nypl). 

    The Metamorphosis Readalikes

    If you like The Metamorphosis,  you might also enjoy a new novel, Waiting for Eden by Elliot Ackerman—a surreal, shadowy novella about a recently returned Iraq war veteran. While in a coma, awaiting to learn his fate, he envisions cockroaches crawling out of the walls (among other terrifying visions).

    Dig a little deeper and try some of Kafka’s lesser known works, too:


    Read on SimplyE from The New York Public Library

    The stories featured on Insta Novels are also available on SimplyE, The New York Public Library's free e-reader app, available on the App Store or Google Play.

    Anyone can browse classic titles, including "The Raven," "The Yellow Wallpaper," Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and The Metamorphosis, in the SimplyE Collection in the app. Those eligible for library cards from The New York Public Library can also access 300,000+ e-books, from bestellers to classics, by connecting to NYPL in the app.


    Other Ways to Read the Stories

    There are many ways to read or listen to The Metamorphosis, "The Raven," “The Yellow Wallpaper," and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Anyone can access the full texts of the stories on the Project Gutenberg website. NYPL cardholders can check out the books and audiobooks via the NYPL catalog. Also, you can find many of the stories by searching the online catalog of NYPL's Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library.

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    Caitlin E. Brown is a doctoral candidate in Musicology at Indiana University and was a Short-Term Research Fellow at New York Public Library in 2018. She is currently working on her dissertation which explores musical activity at American artist colonies in the early twentieth century.

    I had the pleasure of spending three weeks working with materials from the Yaddo records of the Manuscripts and Archives Division at The New York Public Library for my dissertation on musical life at American artist colonies in the early 20th century. The first thing to know about the Yaddo collection is it contains a staggering amount of material. The library holds over 500 boxes of items detailing the history of the Yaddo artist colony, including founding legal documents, personal correspondence, concert programs, tickets, photographs, newspaper clippings, and original works of art. Simply considering the breadth and size of the collection, it is easy to see that Yaddo has played a major role in the cultivation of American art over the last century.

    Yaddo mansion
    Yaddo mansion; NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: ps_mss_cd21_315

    Yaddo was originally the late 19th century retreat of wealthy philanthropists Spencer and Katrina Trask in Saratoga Springs, New York. The Trasks first leased the property for the summer of 1881 and eventually purchased it for their permanent vacation home. The impressive estate was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2013 and consists of nearly 40 acres of woods, lakes, countryside, gardens, and a Queen Anne Revival Mansion.

    Spencer and his wife Katrina were generous patrons of the arts and cultivated a salon-like atmosphere at Yaddo, inviting artists and intellectuals from all over the world to take part in their lavish house parties and discuss contemporary art, music, philosophy, and science.

    Tragically, Spencer and Katrina lost all four of their children before the turn of the 20th century and decided to turn their beloved home into a retreat for artists. The Trasks envisioned a place of "rest and refreshment [for] authors, painters, sculptors, musicians and other artists both men and women, few in number but chosen for their creative gifts" where they could work uninterrupted for long swaths of time and draw inspiration from the beautiful grounds. Yaddo welcomed its first group of creative guests in 1926, including painters, writers, sculptors, and composers.

    I spent much of my time at NYPL sifting through administrative records and guest files, looking for items specifically related to Yaddo’s musical history. A particularly difficult task was piecing together details about lesser-known composers and musicians, so stumbling across information linking more familiar composers to Yaddo's early history was a welcome opportunity to expand my previous knowledge of well-known figures. It was a lovely surprise when I stumbled upon Leonard Bernstein’s name on a notecard (and how to reach him), as seen here:
    Index card with contact information and details of 1952 residency for Leonard Bernstein; text says "reach him through his secretary who lives at Curt's NYC address"
    Yaddo records, box 539; NYPL Manuscripts and Archives Division; photograph by author

    Executive Director Elizabeth Ames kept detailed notes on Yaddo guests and their whereabouts after leaving the colony. This particular set of notecards is the remains of a guest card catalog that Ames and her secretaries created in Yaddo’s early decades. I was delighted to discover that many of the cards contained vivid details about guests’ stays, their food preferences, how they got along with other guests (or did not), outstanding long-distance phone bills, and any conflicts that occurred. It does not appear that any personal details from Leonard Bernstein’s residency made it onto his notecard, but it  inspired me to conduct a small investigation into Bernstein’s connections to Yaddo.

    Leonard Bernstein portrait
    Undated portrait of Leonard Bernstein; NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: psnypl_the_5221

    Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) was an American conductor and composer known globally for his charisma and unique style, both on the podium and in his original compositions. Incidentally, this year the music world is celebrating the centennial of Bernstein’s birth and many historians have been inspired to revisit his biography, filling in details and bringing more of his work to concert halls.

    After I came across this Bernstein item in the Yaddo collection, I wondered if he had any involvement with Yaddo before 1952. Through his personal letters, I learned that Bernstein had long been familiar with Yaddo and other musicians who spent time there. In August 1940, he wrote to fellow composer Aaron Copland:

    "Might Yaddo on Sept. 7 & 8 be interesting? Are you planning to go? I was thinking of upping to Lenox next week or so to see the Kouss [conductor Sergei Koussevitzky]. Perhaps I could combine both."

    In this letter, Bernstein refers to the 1940 Yaddo Music Festival of contemporary American music, which featured performances of new compositions by American composers.

    A significant challenge for American classical music composers in the early 20th century was finding opportunities in the United States for their music to be performed. In 1932, Aaron Copland and Elizabeth Ames pioneered the Yaddo festivals, which brought young American composers, musicians, and critics together for a few weeks in the summer to play and discuss new American compositions, and culminated in a series of concerts.

    The 1940 festival events consisted of four concerts over two days, portions of which were broadcasted nationally on NBC radio. The programs included works by Roy Harris, Charles Ives, Paul Bowles, Richard Donovan, Quincy Porter, Henry Cowell, David Diamond, Arthur Cohn, and many others. If Bernstein was able to make the trip to Yaddo for the festival, he would have had the opportunity to meet many musical peers and hear several American compositions performed for the very first time.

    Festival orchestra during 1949 Yaddo Music Period, photographed in Yaddo mansion
    Festival orchestra photographed in Yaddo mansion, circa 1949 from Yaddo records, box 368, folder 7;  NYPL Manuscripts and Archives Division

    Yaddo no longer mounts a contemporary music festival each summer, but the colony is still in operation and making plans for its continued support of the arts. Yaddo recently announced plans for the stabilization and restoration of the historic mansion, as well as a recommitment to "aesthetic daring, social egalitarianism, and internationalism, and the support of artists at political risk." Yaddo artists have collectively won 74 Pulitzer Prizes, 29 MacArthur Fellowships, 68 National Book Awards, and a Nobel Prize, making the work of any researcher interested in Yaddo’s history quite fruitful. I am eager to see what treasures are uncovered by other researchers in this collection.

    Quotations from Bernstein's letters are from The Leonard Bernstein Letters, ed. Nigel Simeone (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013).  For more about the festivals, see Rudy Shackelford, "The Yaddo Festivals of American Music, 1932–1952," Perspectives of New Music 17, no. 1 (Autumn-Winter, 1978): 92–125, or Tim Page, "The trailblazer: Aaron Copland and the Festivals of American Music" in Yaddo: Making of American Culture (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008).

    The Yaddo records are open for research. For more information or to arrange access, email


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    Listen on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Google Podcasts.

    Aristotle famously (er, probably) said that anger is a gift, and Gwen's been given one this year: Rebecca Traister's book about the power of women's rage. Plus, Frank finds more presents in The New Yorker archives and NYPL announces its year-end Best Books lists.

    Holiday gifts, anyone? This card was created by Pauli Ebner and found in the Art and Picture Collection, via NYPL's Digital Collections. Image ID: 1586968.

    NYPL's 2018 Best Books lists!

    Good and Mad by Rebecca Traister

    The Library Talks episode with Traister and Aminatou Sow

    The New Yorker magazine and The New Yorker Digital Archive (which CAN be accessed for free from anywhere, as long as you have a library card!)

    The Slowdown with Tracy K. Smith


    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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    Counting by 7s book cover

    The daily activities in the life of 12-year-old Willow Chance include hanging with her high school friend, Mai, speaking Vietnamese, being fascinated with botany, and attending appointments with the school counselor, Dell Duke. Willow is immersed in the drama of middle school until one horrible, stark, life-altering event changes her perspective on everything.

    The girl arrives home one day and sees police vehicles in her driveway.

    The dreaded words arrive: There has been a car crash.

    Willow after the tragedy defies Willow before the tragedy.

    The preteen feels as if she is in a hole. She does not want to take part in any activity that reminds her of normal living, including getting up and going to school. She becomes home-schooled. The void left in her soul from her parents' painful departure from this world is deep and palpable. Willow lacks interest in investigating things about which she previously would have been incessantly curious. Thoughts of her parents eclipse all the motivation she once possessed.

    Luckily, Dell Duke, Mai, and Pattie Nguyen rally around the heartbroken girl. They ensure that she is comfortable, receives schooling in a manner she can psychologically tolerate, and has a nice place in which to live. It is so terrific for Willow to be surrounded by love, but it is hard for her to feel and experience the warmth while grief envelops her. Living with the Nguyens is only temporary—the girl does not know where she will go or what she will do next.

    Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan, 2013

    I loved the portrayal of such a highly gifted, interesting protagonist in this book.

    Holly Goldberg Sloan's website
    Books about kids who have lost parents


    In a Perfect World book cover

    Caroline's mother is thrilled to be offered a position with OneVision so she can provide eye surgery to those who need it most in Egypt—it has been her dream for a long time to be able to work for the company. This means the entire family is moving to Cairo for Caroline's senior year of high school. It is quite a travel adventure, and the culture is much different than that of America. 

    Caroline is less than thrilled about the moving news. For one thing, she has been dating Owen for three years… happily, and does not want to leave him. She also does not wish to depart from her friends and everything she has known for her entire life, for this most pivotal year. The sexual harassment, inappropriate commentary, and general societal expectations of women in Egyptian culture startle the young woman unpleasantly. When she goes out walking with her father, though, no one seems to bother her. 

    Caroline spends her summer days seeing the cultural sites with her driver, Adam, who also happens to be quite the gentleman, kind and good-looking. She meets his family, who is Muslim. She learns about the religion and a different way of life. The women explain the meaning of hijabs to her. Throughout this journey, her parents provide support, reason with her, and sometimes annoy her, as Caroline embarks on a life away from her childhood.

    In a Perfect World by Trish Doller, 2017

    I loved the glimpse that this work provides into Egyptian life.

    Books about Egypt
    Trish Doller's website


    Lucky Broken Girl book cover

    When Ruth lived in Cuba, people thought she was intelligent. That's not the case in Queens, NY. People call her dumb because she does not know much English. She struggles to assimilate, but there's one area of her life where no one can make her feel bad: hopscotch. Playing that game with friends is one of the joys of her life. Then everything changes in the blink of an eye, and the youngster can no longer jump, run, or even walk. 

    Cars crashing into one another like a stack of dominos wreaks havoc on her life. The pile-up results in several fatalities and a broken leg for Ruth. The girl is told she is one of the lucky ones, but she does not feel so lucky having to be in a body cast. To prevent one leg from growing longer than the other, Ruth must remain in bed for six months. She is completely dependent on others for even basic needs.

    Ruth strives to keep a positive attitude and present such to the world. The girl does not want everyone to feel her anguish and be aware of her suffering. Certain days shine a light into her darkness; the festivities, gifts, and cake that are bestowed upon her on her birthday make her blissful. Ruth cannot wait until she can walk once again.

    Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar, 2017

    I love  immigrant stories, and this one does not disappoint.

    Books about Cuba
    Ruth Behar's website

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    Text that reads The New York Public Library Best Books of 2018

    Each year, a gaggle of librarians from all over The New York Public Library system come together to create our Best Books for Teens list. This tradition has YA librarians reading every book released within the calendar year to showcase what they feel best represents the best selection for the readers they serve.

    As the youth librarian at the Andrew Heiskell Talking Braille and Book Library, I look forward to sharing as many titles as possible every year. This post gathers every title available from the National Library Service (NLS) on that list and gives the opportunity to request the titles from either our braille (BR) and digital book (DB) collection, or titles available from our partnership with Bookshare. As titles are still being recorded and/or brailled, feel free to come back to this page to see what's been recorded.

    If you have younger readers, please enjoy our list of the Best Books for Kids 2018. As always, happy reading!

    Best Books for Teens 2018

    Finding Yvonne by Brandy Colbert book coverA Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti book coverPrice of Duty by Todd Strasser book cover


    After the Shot Drops by Randy Ribay
    Bunny and Nasir have always looked out for each other. Will the game they love destroy them?
    Bookshare | BR 22401 | DB 91542

    Analee in Real Lifeby Janelle Milanes
    Analee spends her free time as Kiri, a heroic elf-hunter. Now she needs to be brave offline.

    The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
    Leigh's grief takes her to Taiwan to chase her mother's ghost—who she swears has turned into a large, red bird.

    Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
    Zelie and her allies rise against their oppressers to bring magic back to the people.
    Bookshare | BR 22258 | DB 90928

    Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
    Darius doesn't feel Iranian or American enough to fit in. A change of scenery might be just what he needs.
    Bookshare | DB 92265

    Dear Rachel Maddow by Adrienne Kisner
    Brynn is heartbroken and about to fail out of school. What better time to run for student body president?
    Bookshare | DB 91299

    Devils Unto Dust by Emma Berquist
    The desert can make you, break you, or give you the shakes.

    The Disturbed Girl's Dictionary by NoNieqa Ramos
    Macy: proper noun. Young woman handling life. Would walk around the neighborhood with a machete.
    DB 90631

    Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
    In an alternate American South overrun by zombies, Jane battles the living and the dead.
    Bookshare | BR 22317 | DB 91635

    Dream Country by Shannon Gibney
    Follow a family from America to Liberia and back again ,in this powerful multigenerational saga.

    Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman
    The last drop falls from the faucet. The rivers run dry. The water is gone.

    Fatal Throneby M.T. Anderson et al.
    Tudor wives tell all!

    Finding Yvonne by Brandy Colbert
    The only thing Yvonne is sure about is that she's not sure.
    Bookshare | DB 91945

    A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena
    When everyone already thinks you're that kind of girl, why bother proving them wrong?

    Give the Dark My Love by Beth Revis
    Nedra is willing to go to great lengths to cure a plague—even if it means raising the dead.

    A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti
    After Annabelle loses everything, there's nothing left to do but run.

    Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry
    Have faith in your friends.

    Pride by Ibi Zoboi
    Should Zuri give love to all these new folks trying to change her 'hood?

    The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
    Soy Xiomara, Dominicana from Harlem. This is my story.
    Bookshare | DB 92221

    Price of Duty by Todd Strasser
    Everyone thinks Jake is a war hero.  Everyone except Jake, that is.  

    Royals by Rachel Hawkins
    Daisy's life is turned upside down when her sister falls in love with the crown prince of Scotland.
    Bookshare | DB 91237

    Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
    Life with her sister was always a duet, but now Rumi has to learn to go solo.

    Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson
    Mila just wanted her best friend back from the dead, but she brings back more than she bargained for.

    The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
    After a prom prank goes awry, Clara trades her summer at the beach for the back of a sweltering food truck.

    What If It's Us? by Becky Albertali and Adam Silvera
    Ben and Arthur meet-cute at the post office. It's the perfect place for the universe to send you a message, right?

     Rebel Without a Green Card by Sara Saedi book coverI Have the Right To by Chessy Prout with Jenn Abelson book coverMarch Forward, Girl by Melba Pattillo Beals and Frank Morrison book cover

    Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card by Sara Saedi
    Sara loves Ethan Hawke and hates her acne. She's also undocumented, but that's not going to stop her.
    Bookshare | DB 90355

    Bonnie and Clyde: The Making of a Legend by Karen Blumenthal
    Discover the truth about America's most notorious criminal couple.

    Boots on the Ground: America's War in Vietnam by Elizabeth Partridge
    America's conflict in Vietnam seen from 12 different perspectives.
    Bookshare | BR 22298 | DB 90589

    I Have the Right To by Chessy Prout with Jenn Abelson
    After being raped at her exclusive New England boarding school, Chessy Prout finds her voice and stands up for herself and other survivors.
    Bookshare | DB 90629

    Just Mercy: The True Story of the Fight for Justice by Bryan Stevenson
    If you knew someone on death row was innocent, what would you do?

    March Forward, Girl by Melba Pattillo Beals and Frank Morrison
    In a world where it's illegal to go to school, Melba Pattillo Beals takes a stand.
    Bookshare | DB 90630

    Votes for Women!: American Suffragists and the Battle for the Ballotby Winifred Conkling
    Take a fresh look at the American women's suffrage movement and its key players.


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    On a red background, text that reads The New York Public Library Best Books of 2018

    Each year, an assemblage of librarians from all over The New York Public Library system come together to create the Best Books for Kids: 100 Titles to Read and Share list. This tradition has librarians reading every book released within the calendar year to showcase what they feel best represents the most reflective, rewarding titles for our younger patrons.

    As the youth librarian at the Andrew Heiskell Talking Braille and Book library, I look forward to sharing as many titles as possible every year. Below is every title available from the National Library Service on that list, with the opportunity to request each title from either our braille (BR) and digital book (DB) collection or from our partnership with Bookshare. As titles are still being recorded and/or brailled, feel free to come back to this page to see what's been recorded.

    For older readers, enjoy our Best Books for Teens 2018 list. As always, happy reading!

    Best Books for Kids 2018 

    The Great Cheese Robbery, Volume 1 by Chris Mould book coverStella Diaz Has Something to Say by Angela Dominguez book coverTwo Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School by Julie Falatko book cover
    Early Chapter Books

    The Great Cheese Robbery by Chris Mould
    A ragtag family of itty-bitty buccaneers catapult into a comic caper when evil mice kidnap their cat.

    Stella Diaz Has Something to Say by Angela Dominguez
    A tongue-tied, bilingual third-grader finds her voice with the help of family, new friends, her pet betta fish, and Jacques Cousteau.
    Bookshare | BR 22224 | DB 90557

    Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to Schoolby Julie Falatko
    Jump into the minds of the well-meaning (yet hopelessly goofy) Sassy and Waldo, a canine duo determined to find out where their boy disappears to every day.

    Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz with Renee Watson book coverFront Desk by Kelly Yang book coverStanley Will Probably Be Fine by Sally J. Pla book cover

    Amal Unboundby Aisha Saeed
    In modern-day Pakistan, a life-altering mistake leaves strong-willed Amal an indentured servant. Will her determination lead her back to freedom?
    Bookshare | DB 91665

    Betty Before Xby Ilyasah Shabazz with Renee Watson
    Abused by her birth mother, Betty finds a loving home with neighbors who encourage her interest in social justice.
    Bookshare | DB 89952

    Bobby Wendy Mass & Rebecca Stead, art by Nicholas Gannon
    Bob's a little green zombie in a chicken suit! But where did he come from? And who is he really? Livy is determined to figure it out.
    Bookshare | DB 90947

    The Boy, the Bird & the Coffin Maker by Matilda Woods
    In the magical seaside town of Allora, where fish fly, a lonely coffin-maker and a boy on the run strike up an unlikely friendship.
    Bookshare | DB 91622

    Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel José Older
    A group of dinosaur-riding orphans fight for freedom in New York City during the American Civil War.

    Finding Langstonby Lesa Cline-Ransome
    Torn from everything familiar when his father moves his family from Alabama to Chicago, Langston finds refuge and solace in the poetry of another Langston.
    Bookshare | BR 22448 | DB 92516

    Front Deskby Kelly Yang
    Mia must help her parents navigate the intricacies of running a small motel while pursuing her dream of becoming a writer. Can her power with words help her family succeed?
    Bookshare | DB 91215

    The House in Poplar Woodby K.M. Ormsbee
    A deal with Death and Memory separates a family. Can twin brothers break the contract and bring the family together?

    I'm Ok by Patti Kim
    In a series of darkly funny schemes, Ok Lee plans his escape from bullies, bills, and Mom’s new boyfriend. But things are beginning to look increasingly desperate.

    Inkling by Kenneth Oppel
    An inkblot escapes his sketchbook prison and alters Ethan’s life for the better.

    Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake
    In the aftermath of a tornado, Ivy befriends June and feels the stirrings of a first crush.

    The Journey of Little Charlieby Christopher Paul Curtis
    Little Charlie realizes that he's not helping Cap'n Buck, "a stanking piece of human filth," recover stolen money—he's unwittingly become a fugitive slave catcher. For older readers.
    Bookshare | DB 90057

    Knockoutby K.A. Holt
    Levi discovers the advantage of being "small but fast" in a boxing ring. Will health problems and an overprotective family pull a TKO over his ambition?

    The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson
    An old letter sends two kids searching the past and the present to find a $40 million treasure.
    Bookshare | DB 90528

    Stanley Will Probably Be Fineby Sally J. Pla
    Stanley must summon his inner strength to battle overwhelming situations when he enters the city-wide scavenger hunt to win tickets to Comic Fest.

    Strongheart: Wonder Dog of the Silver Screen by Candace Fleming and art by Eric Rohmann
    A former police dog becomes an unlikely but sensational silent movie star. When accused of a crime he didn't commit, will the renowned canine sniff out the truth?

    Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier
    Nan Sparrow, a chimney sweep in Victorian London, befriends a mysterious magical creature in this fairy tale of monsters and great escapes.

    The Truth As Told By Mason Buttleby Leslie Connor
    Benny died falling out of a treehouse. Everyone in town thinks his best friend, Mason Buttle, knows more than he's saying. What will it take to prove his innocence?
    Bookshare | DB 92524

    Wed Wabbitby Lissa Evans
    Fidge is transported into the land of Wimbly Woos, who insist she is the champion they have been waiting for. Will she be able to free them from the tyrannical rule of Wed Wabbit?
    Bookshare | DB 90573

     How Ernie Barnes Went From the Football Field to the Art Gallery by Sandra Neil Wallace book cover the Forgotten Story of the SS Eastland Disaster by Patricia Sutton book cover The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten by Laura Veirs book cover


    Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went From the Football Field to the Art Gallery by Sandra Neil Wallace, art by Bryan Collier
    The unlikely story of a reluctant athlete who became a renowned artist.
    DB 90207

    Capsized!: the Forgotten Story of the SS Eastland Disaster by Patricia Sutton 
    An engrossing account that perfectly captures the palpable fear and loss on one tragic day in 1915.
    Bookshare | BR 22410 | DB 92012

    Crash: the Rise and Fall of America in the 1930s by Marc Favreau
    Rich with first-hand accounts, this multifaceted look at the Great Depression immerses the reader in this pivotal time.
    Bookshare | DB 90712

    The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian's Art Changed Science by Joyce Sidman
    A gorgeous examination of a self-taught artist and entomologist, the first to document the metamorphosis of butterflies. 

    Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten by Laura Veirs, art by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh
    From humble origins to worldwide acclaim, Libba never gave up on her dream. 

    Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The Record-Setting Dive of the Bathysphere by Barb Rosenstock, art by Katherine Roy
    A suspenseful story of two explorers whose determination and teamwork plunged them into previously uncharted ocean depths.

    A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin book coverThe Rough Patch by Brian Lies book cover
    Picture Books 

    A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin
    Little Star can’t stop sneaking bites of mooncake, but when it’s all gone, Mama can make more. Lovely as the night sky, this sweet story is impossible to resist.

    The Rough Patch by Brian Lies
    A farmer fox harvests hope after a great loss. 
    BR 22439

     Delightfully Frightful Poems by Calef Brown book cover Requiem for a King by Andrea Davis Pinkney book cover

    The Ghostly Carousel: Delightfully Frightful Poems by Calef Brown
    Zombie family reunions, vengeful canaries, and insect pie! This procession of creepy characters and gross-out delights are sure to make you say "ew!"
    DB 92008

    Martin Rising: Requiem for a King by Andrea Davis Pinkney, art by Brian Pinkney
    Emotional, musical poems explore the tumultuous last months of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life.
    Bookshare | DB 90151

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    Map of property in the 13th Ward of the city of New York belonging to the estate of Henry A. Coster, decd.
    Map of property in the 13th Ward of the city of New York belonging to the estate of Henry A. Coster, decd.; NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID:  57565869

    This collection of real estate maps of lots in early-19th century lower Manhattan are from auctions conducted by James Bleecker & Sons, Franklin & Jenkins, and others. Published as broadsides—that is maps printed only on one side which served as promotional tools for real estate auction houses—they are organized in groups by neighborhood: the Financial District; Greenwich Village, East Village (including New York University); the West Village; SoHo & TriBeCa; and, the Lower East Side. These maps show the massive change in land ownership and the organization of Manhattan in the early 19th century.

    Map of valuable property in the First Ward of the city of New-York to be sold at auction on Thursday, Nov. 12th, 1835, at 12 o'clock at the Merchants Exchange, by Jas. Bleecker & Sons
    Map of valuable property in the First Ward of the city of New-York to be sold at auction on Thursday, Nov. 12th, 1835, at 12 o'clock at the Merchants Exchange, by Jas. Bleecker & Sons; NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 57565851

    In 1825, the Erie Canal opened and with it came a new wave of development and expansion in New York City. As trade and commerce expanded during the following period, the population doubled almost every decade. These changes meant the built environment of the city needed to expand north beyond its historical boundary, Canal Street.

    These broadside maps were produced by the foremost real estate auction companies of the 1830s, to advertise and document the sale of land in the city during this property boom. They demonstrate, in great detail, how large Revolutionary War-era estates of families such as the Minards, Gilberts, and Costers were parceled out into blocks of townhouses. These maps also provide us with some of the most detailed print records of land ownership throughout lower Manhattan for this time.

    Map of lots to be sold at auction by direction of the Court of Chancery on Monday, the 12th day of May, 1834, at 12 o'clock at noon, by W.H. Franklin
    Map of lots to be sold at auction by direction of the Court of Chancery on Monday, the 12th day of May, 1834, at 12 o'clock at noon, by W.H. Franklin; NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 57565921



    These broadside maps are extremely important documents for showing not only how New York City dealt with such massive increases in population, but also how the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811 to grid the city was expanded below Houston Street. This collection of maps works in concert with other collections at the Library related to city planning on Manhattan from 1807 to the early 1820s, as well as the maps of 18th century farmland on the island that were produced by John Bute Holmes in the late 19th century.

    In addition to these resources, this collection of real estate maps speaks to many prominent landowners in Manhattan from the Revolutionary War-era, whose lives are well-documented by primary source materials in the Manuscripts and Archives Division. 

    More detailed information about this collection is available through the NYPL Archives and Manuscripts Portal and NYPL Online Catalog The digitized collection can be viewed through the NYPL Digital Collections

    Related NYPL Research Collections:


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    Wayétu Moore's debut novel explores African diasporic identity through historical fiction and magical realism. In a conversation with Buzzfeed writer, Isaac Fitzgerald, Moore talks about the stories behind her new book She Would Be King: the history of her native Liberia and the childhood stories her family used to tell her. Moore says, "I grew up hearing stories that always included someone disappearing or shapeshifting or casting a spell...when I moved to America these things were relegated to Disney, but back home, that just wasn't the case."

    Wayétu Moore and the conversation of her book she would be king

    Click here to find out how to subscribe and listen to the Library Talks podcast.

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