Monday, April 11, 2016

It's National Library Week!

Yes, it is National Library Week and the theme this year is Libraries Transform.  This year Gene Luen Yang is the honorary chair of Library Week.  Gene is the author of the award-winning graphic novel American Born Chinese as well as the 2016-2017 National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.

I use the library a lot and always have.  It is a place where I can borrow books, access some wonderful databases, look through a big, big collection of digital images or just sit and read quietly.  Since it is National Library Week,  I thought I would share with you the libraries that have impacted my reading life:
This is the first library I went to when I was growing up and my mother had to take me for the first few years.  It is the Flatbush Branch of the Brooklyn Public library and it is located on Linden Boulevard at Flatbush Avenue.  I don't know how old this branch is, but I know it's been here at least since the beginning of the 20th century.  It was a small library, but it had everything I wanted.  My goal was to read from A to Z.  The problem was they kept adding new books to each letter and I couldn't keep up.

This is the central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.  It is located across from Grand Army Plaza at the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Eastern Parkway.  When I was a teenager, I was allowed to hang out here doing homework with friends Sunday afternoons, after church and Sunday dinner.  It was about a two mile walk from my house, but back then we didn't have much money and any that we had was saved to walk up to Junior's on DeKalb Avenue for cheesecake.

This is the main branch of the NYPL.  I literally sat here and wrote my dissertation.  This library has so many resources and primary documents that I never ceased to be amazed by.  It is such a beautiful library and there is always so much going on there for students, scholars and/or tourists.  If you visit, be sure to take a selfie with Patience and Fortitude, the library lions.

This is the main reading room on the third floor.  It's closed now for repairs but was a wonderful place to sit and work.  On warm sunny days, I liked to sit outside and eat my lunch and watch the tourists watching the people watching them.  Those feel like such wonderful carefree halcyon days now.  I still go there once in a while to get information for some of my blog posts and other projects, and for the Children's Literary Salon.
 Nowadays, I do most of my librarying here at the Webster Branch of the NYPL.  It is located on York Avenue between East 76th and East 77th Streets.  This branch has been here since 1906.   It's a small library but they have great interlibrary loan service.  If you go into the children's department, you will see a small signed picture of Jack Ezra Keats.  Why?  Because this is the branch he used for his library needs.

These are my favorites libraries.  What libraries have impacted your lives?

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