This year the Historic Districts Council launched a new campaign to combat the potential loss of historic community libraries. The campaign is expected to lead to the nomination of all the New York City Carnegie Libraries to the New York State and National Register of Historic Places.
Listing on the Registers would both provide a variety of incentives for the libraries: they would be eligible for special funding of capital needs, appropriate alterations, renovations or restorations would have the added benefit of guidance from the New York State Office of Historic Preservation (SHPO) and protections: demolitions or serious alterations would be reviewed and discouraged by SHPO, and communities would be given a clear path to weigh in their concerns.
Several of the Carnegies, including Brooklyn’s Macon and Bedford branches, Manhattan’s St. Agnes and 67th Street branches, and the Bronx’s Hunt’s Point and Mott Haven branches have been renovated in recent years, adding state of the art technology while restoring period details and providing improved public access.
The Historic Districts Council is hoping to raise $15,000 to complete the National Register nominations. To Make a donation to the Campaign to Preserve the Carnegie Libraries click here.
Photo: An Elmhurst Carnegie Library opened in 1906 and demolished in 2012.
The Committee to Save the New York Public Library will hold a vigil in opposition to the plans for the NYPL’s 42nd Street and Mid Manhattan Libraries on Monday, June 3rd, from 6:00 to 7:30 PM at the 5th Avenue entrance to the 42nd Street Library.
The vigil will coincide with the New York Public Library Spring fundraising gala. The event is co-sponsored by Citizens Defending Libraries, and will feature an appearance by Rev. Billy and his choir. Read more →
Previously, the Committee issued a document entitled “The Truth About the Central Library Plan,” which it calls an “analysis of the NYPL’s plan to gut the 42nd Street Library and sell the Mid-Manhattan Library and Science, Industry and Business Library.” The latest volley in the battle over the library is a response to NYPL’s recent “Setting the Record Straight,” an attempt to counter critics. Read more →
A grand total of $95,000 has been granted to the Chazy Public Library and the Plattsburgh Public Library, thanks to a collaboration organized to help Adirondack libraries win state funding for technological upgrades.
The Charles R. Wood Foundation, the Lake Placid Education Foundation and the Adirondack Community Trust (ACT), worked together to support the expanding role of libraries in the Adirondack region. Libraries exist to serve the public. In difficult economic times, they are a particularly valuable community resource, available to all residents regardless of economic status. “Our libraries are now called upon to support technological literacy and skills development,” said Bobby Wages, President of the Board of the Charles R. Wood Foundation. “That means they need electronic hardware and software, and librarians need to know how to use it and teach others to use it.”
”In May, ACT convened a meeting of the region’s library systems, the state’s library system, and these two regionally-focused foundations to explore the changing roles of libraries and what we could do to help,” said Cali Brooks, ACT Executive Director. As a result of the meeting, the Charles R. Wood Foundation and the Lake Placid Education Foundation offered funding for libraries already seeking funding for technological upgrades through the Public Library Construction Grant Program of New York State Public Library. The New York State Public Library had opened a $14 million competitive grant to regional library systems for a range building renovation projects. In order to qualify for a grant, a library would have to supply at least 50 percent of the funds that would be matched through the Public Library Construction Grant Program.
Working in partnership with the Clinton, Franklin and Essex County Library System, ACT reached out to libraries all over these counties to encourage them to apply for funds and offer assistance. Once a library’s technology project application was approved for the Public Library grant program, the Charles R. Wood and Lake Placid Education Foundations matched each other’s grants to qualify each library to receive the funds.
“Our goal is to strengthen the technological capacities of the Adirondack North Country libraries to make them even more vital community centers of initiative,” said Fred Calder, President of the Lake Placid Education Foundation. “We are committed to helping these libraries gather funds through matching grants and to do so in collaboration with the Charles R. Wood Foundation and others whenever possible.”
“Since ACT’s inception, we have considered libraries important community partners. We manage 12 library endowment funds and have made over $500,000 in grants to support Adirondack libraries,” Cali Brooks reported.
The Chazy Public Library is converting a former physician’s office building into a technologically sophisticated, rural public library. Grant funds will be used to transform the basement into a Community Room for multimedia applications and training/retraining for life skills. Many Chazy residents rely on the services of the public library to fulfill technological, academic, and leisure needs. With the new Community Room, the public will have access to state-of-the-art multimedia equipment for job-preparedness workshop presentations, special training sessions, tutoring by Literacy Volunteers, and more.
The Plattsburgh Public Library is the central library of the Clinton, Essex, Franklin County Library System, better known as CEF. It provides online reference help to residents throughout the three-county region. Grant funds will be used to create a private computer interviewing cubical in the public computer room for video and interviewing by residents searching for jobs. In recent years, Plattsburgh Public Library has become increasingly involved in literacy and skills development initiatives. The Library also provides a career center, where job seekers use technology and learn computer skills to obtain gainful employment. The computer interviewing cubical will enhance support to those patrons.
Photo: Kelly Sexton, Local History Librarian, and David Robinson, Library Page at the Plattsburgh Public Library.
The Adirondack Museum Library, Blue Mountain Lake (Hamilton County) has been selected as the recipient of the � Annual Archives Award for Program Excellence in a Historical Records Repository,” by the New York State Archives and the Archives Partnership Trust. The award was presented to Director Caroline M. Welsh and Librarian Jerry Pepper at a luncheon ceremony at the Cultural Education Center in Albany on October 12, 2010. The award commends the library for an outstanding archival program that contributes significantly to the understanding of Adirondack history. The award further recognizes the facility for well-organized and managed archives and for efforts to provide access to documentary heritage through extensive collections and excellent education programs for teachers and school children.
The Adirondack Museum Library is the largest and most comprehensive repository of books, periodicals, manuscripts, maps, and government documents related to the Adirondack region.
Supported by private funds, the library is administered by the museum and fulfills an independent mission as a library of record for the Adirondack Park.
Due to an asbestos abatement project on the second floor of the Central Library, the storage collections of the Schenectady County Public Library will be unavailable from now until approximately the middle of June, according to Bob Sullivan of the Schenectady Digital History Archive.
The shutdown will affect the bulk of the libraries local history collection, including most of their yearbooks and some of their city directories. The newspaper microfilm and the city directories on the main floor will remain accessible, as will the library’s Ancestry and HeritageQuest subscriptions.
The New York State Education Department (NYSED) has been awarded $9.5 million in a matching grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to expand computer access in public libraries across New York State. The funding is being provided through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP).
The grant will support the State Library’s Broadbandexpress@yourlibrary project to help low-income, unemployed, underemployed, and other vulnerable populations in upstate New York. High unemployment rates, a distressed economy, and a lack of affordable public access to high-speed broadband services, education, training and technical support have been particularly acute in geographically isolated upstate communities. The grant will enable the State Library and its public library partners to purchase equipment to expand the public’s access to computers and teleconferencing. Broadbandexpress@yourlibrary will provide more than 860 computers in 30 libraries and five mobile training centers across 41 economically distressed upstate New York counties with populations totaling 6,655,824 (2008 census). This grant will allow libraries to extend hours, provide 24/7 access to job search resources, and serve an estimated 50,000 additional users per week system-wide.
New York State Education Commissioner David Steiner said, “Libraries are vital to our communities and our economy. The increased broadband capacity, training and online resources funded through this grant will provide more New Yorkers with access to essential online information for work, healthcare, education, and citizenship as well as E-government resources.”
“What librarians and libraries do everyday is vitally important work,” said State Librarian and Assistant Commissioner for Libraries Bernard Margolis. “Yet, even though New Yorkers turn to their public libraries more in difficult economic times, libraries themselves have suffered cuts and reductions to their valuable services. This grant will enable our libraries to continue to do critically important work and to expand the opportunities, education, and services that high speed Internet provides to the unserved and underserved in our communities.”
The New York State Library, within NYSED, worked with partner libraries throughout the state and the New York State Office of the Chief Information Officer/Office for Technology (CIO/OFT) to submit the proposal for the grant. In order to participate in this matching grant, partner libraries must make an in-kind contribution to support the project. The total in-kind match is $5.4 million. (A list of partner libraries accompanies this release.)
“CIO/OFT is very proud to continue supporting the innovative Broadbandexpress@yourlibrary project,” said Dr. Melodie Mayberry-Stewart, New York State CIO, Director of the Office For Technology, and Chair of the Broadband Development and Deployment Council. “In these tough economic times, access to free resources is critical for New York’s citizens. Many times, computers located in libraries are the only point of broadband contact for many citizens. Those who do not own a computer or have access to the internet often go to the library, where it is available for free. And for those who have never used a computer help is available. These grants will help ensure our libraries can continue to provide high-speed, reliable internet services and digital literacy training programs for our communities.”
The Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, funded by ARRA, provides matching grants to support the deployment of broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas, enhance and expand public computer centers, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service. Funded at $4.7 billion, BTOP will also advance ARRA’s objectives to spur job creation and stimulate long-term economic growth and opportunity.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided a total of $7.2 billion to fund projects that will expand access to and adoption of broadband services. NTIA plans to announce all grant awards by September 30, 2010.
The New York State Library is the largest state library in the nation. In addition to its research collection of more than 20 million items, the State Library provides leadership and support to libraries and library systems throughout the state, maintains a Talking Book and Braille Library serving more than 39,000 New Yorkers, offers 24-hour access to an online catalog, and provides residents with 24/7 access to NOVELNY, New York’s first virtual library. The State Library is located in the Empire State Plaza in Albany. For information call 518/474-5355 or go to www.nysl.nysed.gov.
A notice at the New York State Library’s home page reports that technical issues have crashed the state library’s online catalog. The catalog has been unavailable since yesterday. A simple notice reads: “The Library’s catalog will be unavailable until further notice. We are working with the vendor to resolve the problem and apologize for the inconvenience.” Visitors can still search the Library’s website but catalog access to collections is down.
Adirondack Museum Librarian Jerry Pepper will present an illustrated presentation entitled “When Men and Mountain Meet: Mapping the Adirondacks” at the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake on Monday, August 10, 2009. Part of the museum’s Monday Evening Lecture series, the presentation will be held in the Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. There is no charge for museum members. Admission is $5.00 for non-members. A contested terrain amid warring nations, a frontier rich in timber and minerals, a recreational and artistic paradise and a pioneering wilderness preserve, the Adirondack Mountains are an intensively mapped region. Using rare and rarely seen maps, drawn from the over 1400 historical maps and atlases in the Adirondack Museum’s collection, “When Men and Mountains Meet: Mapping the Adirondacks” will chart the currents of Adirondack history, as reflected through the region’s maps.
The Adirondack Museum introduced a new exhibit in 2009, “A ‘-Wild, Unsettled Country’: Early Reflections of the Adirondacks,” that showcases paintings, maps, prints, and photographs illustrating the untamed Adirondack wilderness discovered by early cartographers, artists, and photographers. The exhibition will be on display through mid-October, 2010.
Jerry Pepper has been Director of the Library at the Adirondack Museum since 1982, he holds Master degrees in both American History and Library Science. Photo: “A New and Accurate Map of the Present War in North America,” Universal Magazine, 1757. Collection of the Adirondack Museum.