So what brings you to the library today?
I’m a literary agent and come here almost every day to research books that are similar to the manuscripts I’m working on to make sure we are presenting a topic in a new and fresh way. I’m also here reading books for pleasure - mysteries and thrillers, narrative non-fiction, memoir and children’s books. So I take advantage of your 50 book limit! I also use the main reading room on 42nd street.
I should tell you the library is starting a new initiative that will allow successful applicants to actually check out certain research materials—things that previously could only be used in the library.
I know it’s very exciting—the library is working on some amazing innovative projects! Actually, it just occurred to me—to switch topics—do you have an opinion on ebooks?
Yes, I’m all for them! They actually present new markets for writers. I think ebooks are good for shorter content for people to read on the run - while walking in the street or waiting to cross at a red light. It’s not something that takes away from the world of publishing, but adds to it.
So do you see the future being a co-existing between print and non-print?
Yes. I personally like the printed page—I get headaches from looking at a computer screen all day. Ebook readers aren’t as aesthetically pleasing as a book. These devices are distracting in a way because their design is so dynamic. When I want to engage with the printed word I need room for my own thoughts about what I read—the design of ebooks and ipads are too strong, too powerful in their design like CD-ROMs that you end up seeing things only their way—the way they are telling you to see it.
That’s a very interesting point, Debbie. So you mostly frequent this library, Jefferson Market—can I ask why?
This place has a pull on me over other libraries and it’s really not only about the books that brings me in here. This library is a source of inspiration because of its architectural beauty and its history—it motivated me to study the history of Greenwich Village. I come here to use your special collection on Village history downstairs—and the room itself with the brick vaulted ceiling is just a beautiful place to be, as a creative person that is important to me. Actually, this library inspired me to start my own book project which I wasn’t planning at all, I was just reading other people’s work. The book inspired a psuedo-memoir—because reading about the history inspired daydreams about myself with the characters from New York City’s history and the characters who passed through this building.
Oh that is so great. You’ve also been involved with another project—
Yes—there was a Twitter post announcing a contest on bookclubgirl.com about Laura Ingalls Wilder. Since I’m a fan I was interested. They asked for a blog post on how brutal this past winter was and the winners got a copy of Wilder’s The Long Winter. I was one of five winners and I wanted to donate the book to this library. But it didn’t seem like enough so I also gave a check for $500 in honor of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s birthday. I know th children of NYC are busy, but I hope they'll add at least one of her books to their reading lists. I think her novels are exciting because they’re more than fiction—they’re based on her family’s travels in the 1800's American frontier in territory where they were the first settlers. Life was what they made it.
Thank you Debbie—you are very generous and your gift is much appreciated. Speaking of blogs, what do you think of the My Library blog and the other NYPL blogs?
I like reading about the range of people who come through here and how we are all different—It’s nice to get to know the people I see in here reading.
Any suggestions for blog posts let me know because we are always looking for ideas—because of the social media we are involved with we get to be far more collaborative with our users than before. We always want to deliver good content! That’s what we try to do on our Facebook and Twitter, offer good content.
I like that! I like it as a way of meeting other people because it breaks me out of my habits—otherwise I gravitate to the same things all the time. So I’m always learning new things and the people here at the library find books for me that normally I would miss. You can’t always believe what everyone says or what you see online—but the library has integrity.
Thank you Debbie!