Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Photo Credit: Piotr Redlinski for The New York Times

After an appointment in the meat-packing district today, I decided to get off the subway early to venture over to the newest branch of the New York Public Library. Having read about the Battery Park City library branch in a recent The New York Times article , my curiosity was piqued. I hoped off on Chambers Street and walked way, way, way west - right by the water - to get to this place.

It was white white white with pops of orange - super modern and spare like the Mode Magazine office in Ugly Betty. Lots of children, way more children than adults. This meant that I could jump immediately on a computer to check email. Also, I found the books I wanted right away.

Am I happy that this new branch is here? Yes. Does it have the same charm and character of some of the older and mustier branches? No. My visit left me nostalgic for Donnell, a NYPL library that used to sit across the street from MOMA. It housed the largest collection of children's books in the world, a media center, books in all languages, a kick-a** teens floor where teens themselves had a say in both book selection and programming. I remember talking to the Teen Central librarian about five years ago and her telling me that they could not keep up with the demand for Push by Sapphire, the novel upon which the Oscar-nominated film Precious was based.

Which makes me think: it's not just books that make a library, its the folks that work there, their knowledge base, and their willingness to share that knowledge with patrons like me and you.
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