FROM LAURIE ANDERSON TO VAMPIRE WEEKEND, ROY BLOUNT, JR., TO RENÉE FLEMING, STEPHEN COLBERT TO BILL T. JONES—MORE THAN 100 LUMINARIES REFLECT ON THE TREASURES OF AMERICA'S FAVORITE PUBLIC LIBRARY.
Marking the centennial of The New York Public Library's Beaux-Arts landmark at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, Know the Past, Find the Future harnesses the thoughts of an eclectic assortment of notable people as they ponder an even more eclectic assortment of objects. From among the Library's vast collections, these writers, artists, philosophers, scientists, musicians, athletes, architects, choreographers, and journalists—as well as some of the curators who have preserved these riches—each select an item and describe its unique significance. The result, in words and photographs, is a glimpse of what a great library can be. Teams of volunteers from Bank of America, plus the Library lion, distributed free copies of the book on the steps of the main building, as well as in New York City subway stations, on the morning of May 19, 2011. Passerby were encouraged to take a copy and pass it along to someone else when they finish reading!