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Jan 15, 2020. 21 comments

America's First Children's Librarian Thought Goodnight Moon Was Crap

America's First Children's Librarian Thought Goodnight Moon Was Crap

The children’s section of the library, with its tiny tables, story hours, and kid-height shelves of books intended to appeal to still-developing brains are one of the things that America actually gets right. And we mostly owe these tranquil spaces dedicated to developing minds to the vision of one woman—Anne Carroll Moore, who created one of nation’s first children’s sections at the New York...

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Rich Juzwiak Rich Juzwiak Sep 15, 2017. 5 comments

What Does the Library Have To Teach Us in 2017? Plenty

What Does the Library Have To Teach Us in 2017? Plenty

The new documentary Ex Libris - The New York Public Library works like a Russian nesting doll of information about information about information. In the signature style of master documentarian Frederick Wiseman, this sprawling, almost three-and-a-half-hour opus delivers a series of vignettes (many recurring) shot at various library branches across New York (with a particular emphasis on the

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Kelly Faircloth Kelly Faircloth Sep 05, 2017. 11 comments

This Exhibit on Female Printmakers Is a Treasure Trove of Fascinating Women

This Exhibit on Female Printmakers Is a Treasure Trove of Fascinating Women

There are certain stereotypes about women’s creativity prior to the twentieth century, and generally they revolve around appropriately domestic novels, amateur watercolors, needlework, and “folk art.” But there’ve always been women who found ways around those rules. Witness, for instance, an ongoing exhibit at the New York Public Library, featuring works by female printmakers from the 1500s...

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Madeleine Davies Madeleine Davies Sep 05, 2017. 10 comments

Sweet, Syrupy and Scary Vintage Valentines to Help You Celebrate Love the Old Fashioned Way

Sweet, Syrupy and Scary Vintage Valentines to Help You Celebrate Love the Old Fashioned Way

In a world full of dating apps and divorces, it’s easy to look back on the courtship practices of the past through rose-colored lenses. While now, it’s all “butt stuff on the first date,” a suitor back then would win you over with charm, chivalry, and Valentines featuring creepy fat babies. (And if that didn’t work, he—and it would be a “he” because being gay could get you thrown in...

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Kelly Faircloth Kelly Faircloth Aug 21, 2017. 24 comments

Before Google, There Was the Patient, Long-Suffering Staff of the New York Public Library

Before Google, There Was the Patient, Long-Suffering Staff of the New York Public Library

Once upon a time—midcentury America, to be precise—you couldn’t turn to the Google search bar with all your most deeply personal and/or random questions. Instead, there was the New York Public Library and its very patient librarians.

As NPR explained back in December (and our compatriots at io9 reported), the NYPL’s Reference and Research Services has fielded all manner of questions for...

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Kelly Faircloth Kelly Faircloth Aug 19, 2017. 7 comments

Peek at the New York Public Library's Collection of Naughty Bits 

Peek at the New York Public Library's Collection of Naughty Bits 

You name it, the New York Public Library’s probably got it. Including a substantial collection of historically important erotica, apparently!

The New York Times went behind the scenes for a (tastefully edited) peek at the goods. They’ve got Playboy, sure, but it’s much more than that. “We try to buy things that are important, that we think will help document how American society thought about...

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