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Blog Posts by Subject: Reference

Are electronic job applications a black hole?

For our patrons who have already attended John Crant's Self Recruiter lectures at the Science, Industry and Business Library, you already know that he believes the "Submit" button on applications is the company's way of reminding you who is in charge of the process. With some online job applications taking as long as two hours to complete, job seekers should consider whether or not the whole process is worthwhile.

Here are a few things to consider before you do all 

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Summer Reading+HomeworkNYC: Get Your Badge!!!! has launched a great interactive website that allows everyone, young or old to participate in summer reading!

In case you haven’t checked it out, go to and click where it says, “Register now!” (When registering you do not have to fill-in first name, last name, or email address).

Once you have created your account the fun begins. You get to create your virtual person, by dressing it, changing the hair, and picking facial features 

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Research: Making Room for the Process and the Product

Teaching Research skills to 6th graders was one of my more daunting tasks and one with which I struggled the most.  When I realized that my frustration level (why weren’t they getting this?) matched my students’ (Why is she making us do this?) I knew I was doing something, if not everything, wrong.

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Movable books in the Spencer Collection

Books with movable flaps, pop-up pages, and other "interactive" features are known to librarians as "Toy and movable books" and more than a thousand examples can be found in the Library's catalog. Most are modern children's books, but the genre has a surprisingly long history, pre-dating even the dawn of printing, and most early examples were 

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Maurice Wertheim

The Wertheim Study is a hidden gem at The New York Public Library, though certainly treasured by the writers and scholars that use it.  But who was Maurice Wertheim?

Born in 1886 and a Harvard graduate, he wore many hats.  He began his career at the United Cigar Manufacturers Company, moving on to Hallgarten & Co., the Underwood Corporation, the Cuban Atlantic Sugar Company, the Hat Corporation of America, the Bond Stores Company, and his own company, Wertheim & Co.  During WWII he 

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A Language of Our Own: America’s English and the Influence of Noah Webster

Most people are familiar with the name Noah Webster as the father of the American Dictionary, a book that we all grew up with and still use today.  What many people may not know is that besides being a lexicographer, he was also a dedicated orthographer and philologist, working in spelling reform and lingustics, and had a large influence on the early American language.

Webster began his career as a schoolteacher and recognized a need for a quality teaching tool for children learning grammar and 

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Catch the Wave @ the Bronx Library Center - Adult Summer Reading 2010

Courtesy Desk - Bronx Library CenterHey, Adults, looking for that great summer read for the beach or something lengthier than Poetry in Motion while commuting through dark subway tunnels – look no further than the Bronx Library Center. This summer the Bronx Library Center is looking to reward four readers who read and post the most book reviews online at

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The Magathon

In 2002, we had our first public program in the DeWitt Wallace Periodical Room, it was a collaboration with CLMP (Council of Literary Magazines & Presses) called “the Magathon”. The Library and CLMP shared the same goal, to support and celebrate literary magazines and what better place to hold the event then a beautiful public space, that collected and housed a vast collection of contemporary literary magazines.

This event and collaboration has 

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Handcrafted Postcards

Last month saw the last of the Library's Handmade Crafternoon spring series, as our special guest Natalie Chanin provided us with a tremendous afternoon of stories, lessons, and inspiration.  (The list of books we browsed that afternoon will come soon, I promise!)  Although I’ll miss our creative community over the summer break, Maura and I will be busy as

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Engaging the Text: Literary Marginalia in the Berg Collection

As Edmund Blunden's biographer tells it, the poets Edmund Blunden and Siegfried Sassoon sat down together on the night of November 7, 1929 to annotate a book. That book was Robert Graves’ memoir Goodbye to All That, and their notes were anything but laudatory.

Graves had published Goodbye to All That, an account of his early years and service in the first world war, to critical acclaim earlier that year.  Blunden and 

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A Passenger to Remember: Introducing the Spencer Collection

"A collection ... of the finest illustrated books that can be procured, of any country and in any language ... bound in handsome bindings representing the work of the most noted book-binders of all countries..."

* * *

The Titanic disaster portrayed on a contemporary songsheet coverSometime in 1910, according to an often-repeated story that has acquired the status of legend, William Augustus Spencer visited the new central building of the New York Public Library, still

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Follow the Money (part 1 of 3): Social Media and the Big Spenders

Like a repeated news ticker, once again Facebook  is in the news. As a high player in the social media marketplace, it comes as no surprise that Facebook would lead headlines, but unlike Twitter , who caught media attention for reaching a record of 5 billion  tweets last week, Facebook's latest news round is not so glamorous. It does boil down, however, to the fact that social media is a marketplace.

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Don't Close the Book on the Harlem Library

Harlem Kids Add Their Voices: Keep Our Libraries Open!

Kids from the local school Promise Academy wrote these letters and more to voice their support for their local branch here on 124th street.   Our children's Librarian Leah Zilbergeld made this poster for everyone to see that kids love and need the library in their lives. 

Please don't shut down the library.  We need it to get our knowledge and people need computers 

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A Quick Guide to Culinary Research

While I've taught a number of classes about how one would begin culinary research at the New York Public Library, I understand that people can't always make it to midtown in the middle of the day, nor does everyone live in New York. For those reasons and more, I've put together a brief tutorial on how to begin culinary research at a library and I will attempt to make this as universally applicable to other libraries as possible. 

Cookery is the Word

Perhaps the most important trick when looking up cookbooks in a library catalog is to use the term 

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Silence, Exile, Cunning: The Anonym as Celebrity: A Critical Bibliography

 "What ails you, Polyphemos? Why do you cry so sore/in the starry night? You will not let us sleep./Sure no man's driving off your flock? No man/has tricked you, ruined you?/ Out of the cave/the mammoth Polyphemos roared in answer:/ 'Nobody, Nobody's tricked me, Nobody's ruined me!'"

The Odyssey, Book IX

 As any librarian today knows, 

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Lamenting the Greater Fall: 19th Century Prison Reform and The Women's Prison Association Records

An entry from Isaac T. Hopper's logbook of released prison inmates

November 27, 1846: "William Haynes, a native of Ireland, has been in this country about two years and six months.  He was sent to Blackwells Island three months for selling pernicious books."

December 30, 1846: "John H. Gilman, 41 years old, a native of Vermont, was convicted in this city for forgery in passing counterfeit money and sentenced to Sing Sing for seven years and three months."

January 22, 1847: "Cecelia Elizabeth Doremus, a native of this City 

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Live, Laugh, Love And Make Your Space "Your" Space

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." —William Morris

Designed to Order: Stylish Solutions to Organize Your Home (House Beautiful)

Spring is here and there's beauty everywhere. Gorgeous flowers are blooming, the Yankees and the Mets are playing. It's all very exciting. Spring is also the perfect time for a fresh start especially when it comes to cleaning out our homes, work place, and minds, from all of the unnecessary things we've 

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Andrew Heiskell Library: Celebrating 115 Years of Library Service

It seems like just yesterday that we were celebrating the Andrew Heiskell Library's Centennial. On June 3rd, this library will be 115 years old. The library has had a number of names and even more locations over those years, but one thing has not changed: our dedication to serving people who are physically unable to read standard print.

Anniversaries provide a good opportunity to consider the past as well as to plan for the future. So, here's a look back at Talking Book and Braille Service in the United States and here in 

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Andrew Heiskell Library: Return of the Blog

Return of the Blog: Once upon a time, the Andrew Heiskell Library had a blog. It disappeared for a while, and during that time, the library's website got redesigned, and now the blog is back, as part of The New York Public Library's Blogs. We're thrilled to be able to offer this communication format once more. And just in time for the vital Don't Close the Books on Libraries Budget Action campaign.

The proposed city budget for the fiscal year starting in July calls for a $37 million cut, the harshest in NYPL's history. 

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Rain Taxi featured at next Periodically Speaking: Focus on Poetry

"The Poet as critic" is the topic for the next Periodically Speaking: Focus on Poetry event and we'll appropriately be featuring the Mineapolis-based journal Rain Taxi. Rain Taxi is an eclectic, thoughtful publication, filled to the brim four times a year with literary criticism, interviews and reviews of poetry, non fiction & graphic novels. Although it covers the spectrum of American publishing at its heart are small 

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