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Posts from Harlem Library

Africans in India: From Slaves to Generals and Rulers

Generals, commanders, admirals, prime ministers, and rulers, East Africans greatly distinguished themselves in India. They wrote a story unparalleled in the rest of the world — that of enslaved Africans attaining the pinnacle of military and political authority not only in a foreign country but also on another continent. Come discover their extraordinary story in a groundbreaking exhibition at the Schomburg Center — on view from February 1 to July 6 — and on March 21, join Dr. Faeeza Jasdanwalla, a descendant of the African dynasty of Janjira for a conversation on 

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11 Free Websites to Practice English at Home

RTlibrary on FlickrAt the New York Public Library's Adult Learning Centers, where adults work on basic English and literacy skills, we're often asked for recommendations of websites for adults to practice English at home. Below you'll find eleven sites, some with a focus on listening, some on vocabulary, others on grammar, and some with a range of activities. Happy learning!

Easy World of English

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Clicks to the Black World

Digital Schomburg's online exhibitions on various aspects of the black experience have truly become a global phenomenon. They are attracting visitors from all over the world. From Argentina to Zimbabwe and Montenegro and the Maldives in between. What do they know that perhaps you don't?

In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience remains the most visited curated exhibition of The New York Public Library. With a few clicks, visitors from 206 countries and territories, including Kazakhstan, Tonga, Suriname, Mongolia and Malawi, 

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Poetry Writing With Adult New Readers, Strategy 1: The List Poem

You have not crossed the bridges I have crossed. You have not listened to the music I have listened to. You have not been in the top of the World Trade Center the way I have been there. You have not seen the waves I have seen. You have not fallen from horses the way I have fallen. You have not felt the guns on your neck the way I have felt them. You have not been in the sea with a big storm in a little boat the way I have been.

—Excerpt from "Don’t Give Me Advice," by Luis Marin, Tompkins Square CRW

This month is

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Read for Your Life: Resources for Teaching Health Literacy to Adults

A woman came into the Library's Center for Reading and Writing, where she was enrolled in a basic literacy class. Visibly shaken, she pulled a staff member aside and confided that she wasn’t sure if she would be able to continue in the class. She had felt some pain in her breast, and her doctor had recommended that she have a mammogram. Not having any idea what a mammogram was, she understood it to mean that she had cancer. The staff member showed her how to find information about

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From Masailand to Tompkins Square Library: A Journey in Literacy

Last year, Victoria joined a basic reading and writing class at Tompkins Square Library's Center for Reading and Writing. She agreed to speak with me about her experience so far and what brought her here.

Where are you from?

I grew up in Kenya, in the Masailand, in a village with 10 huts.

What other languages do you speak besides English?

I speak the Masai language and Swahili, and other tribal languages: Kikuyu, Luo, and Kamba. I came to America in 1986. I speak English every day, but 

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Finding Inspiration and Companionship at the Library

William Logan. Photo: Beowulf SheehanWilliam Logan, a retired truck driver from Harlem, didn’t have much of a chance to go to the Library as a boy growing up.

But now that he’s retired, he’s making up for lost time.

“I try to come to the Library every day,” said Logan, 68, who lives alone and comes to Harlem Library nearly every afternoon for inspiration, relaxation, and companionship. “Reading keeps your mind sharp.”

For Logan, coming to the Library is part of 

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Legal Aid and Information in New York City

From criminal cases to income tax law, legal issues are part of our everyday life.  Finding the information you need can be confusing and difficult. Luckily there are organizations in the city to help you out at no or low cost. Here are a few to turn to if you need legal help.

New York Bar Association Services The New York Bar Association offers a number of free services to the public: legal referrals, an advice hotline and access to a variety of informative legal clinics. If you need a lawyer and 

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What I talk about when I talk about Haruki Murakami

I recently finished the memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. I have been a big fan of his dream-like novels for almost fifteen years now, having first discovered The Wild Sheep Chase at a yard sale in Cambridge, MA. I was with a friend who declared the back cover synopsis to be the worst summary ever.  Something about it intrigued me though and I bought the copy for about 50 

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2010's Oscar-Worthy Books

The Oscar nominations were announced last week and this year, there are four Best Picture nominees that were adapted from books.  If you've seen the films and want to read the books, here they are:

The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich. This book was adapted into the Golden Globe-winning film, The Social Network, starring Jesse Eisenberg (nominated for Best Actor) and based on the true story of the beginnings of facebook.  

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NYC Civil Service Examinations

Many jobs within the City of New York government are filled through competitive, citywide examinations, which are administered by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services or DCAS. Positions like Police Officer, School Safety Agent and Correction Officer are all filled on a

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Public Assistance Resources in NYC

Are you confused about the numerous benefit and assistance programs offered by New York state and city government and whether you qualify? There is a lot of information to digest out there and it's constantly changing. Both Access NYC and My Benefits are two helpful sites that allow you to screen for your eligibility for public assistance. You can do so anonymously or by creating an account. You will be asked to enter some basic information about yourself and your family to 

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A Helping Hand from Food Stamps

The United States Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known more commonly as the Food Stamp Program, provides support to low-income New Yorkers including working families, qualified immigrants, the elderly and the disabled to increase their ability to purchase food. A household must qualify under eligibility rules set by the federal government to enroll in this program.  To determine your eligiblity for this or other goverment assistance programs, click

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Happy Birthday Woody Allen

Woody Allen was born Allen Stewart Konigsberg 75 years ago on December 1st in Brooklyn, New York.

According to the

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Finishing Up: "Kitchen Confidential"

The third course chapter of Kitchen Confidential recounts Tony's series of jobs after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America.  From the fading glory with a view of the Rainbow Room to the Apocalypse Now atmosphere of Works Progress, then later to the slow failures of Tom's and Rick's Cafe, etc. Along with an increasingly fat paycheck, his stories of the various kitchens he worked in 

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Discount sushi and other really bad ideas

Welcome back to the Reader’s Den.  This month we are reading Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen ConfidentialJenny’s post from last week gave us some background on Bourdain.  We are progressing in the book onto the second course now, which outlines “what strange beasts lurk behind the kitchen doors” as well as several 

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Energy Assistance Benefits

The cold weather is approaching and heating costs can get expensive. The New York State Department of Energy Research and Development Authority has some tips on how to save on energy costs, weatherize and find emergency heating assistance near your home.  As well, you might qualify for government assistance to help pay for heating and/or utility costs.  HEAP and UAP are two programs offered to citizens of New York.  You can check here for eligibility and 

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November Reader's Den: "Kitchen Confidential"

Welcome to this month’s Reader’s Den!  This month we’ll have a discussion co-led by Jenny Baum and Ursula Murphy about Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. Please feel free to comment or bring up anything relevant to the book in the comment section.  We'll try to address and facilitate discussion as it comes up. 

“I’ve long believed that good food, good eating is 

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Get Up, Stand Up! Information for Voters before Election Day

The New York State General Election is November 2, 2010.  Both Senate seats and a gubernatorial election are up to be voted on as well as many other races. The voter registration deadline is coming right up, read below for more information.

http://www.elections.state.ny.us/ If you are registered already, find out where to vote. If you aren’t sure if you are registered or not, you can enter some basic personal information here to

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Harlem Library - Pictures from the Past

Recently we found some old and not so old photographs of the Harlem branch among our files and wanted to share. 

The first is from April 8, 1910 and is a photograph of our 2nd floor children's room with its beautiful marble frieze and fireplace (which at the time seemed to be functioning). This was taken not too long after the branch opened in July of 1909. 

The others are from a 1998 visit by Ossie 

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