Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

Blog Posts by Subject: Reference

The United States Sanitary Commission Records Processing Project

The Manuscripts and Archives Division has embarked on a three-year project to comprehensively arrange, describe, and physically preserve the United States Sanitary Commission Records, made possible by a generous donation enabling The New York Public Library to expand access to its archival collections. This blog will introduce you to the organization, its records, and the processing project, with further explorations and updates to 

... Read More ›

(1/2x + ... = ?, Calculators that Crush Challenging Math Problems

The World Wide Web is a great source for online calculators. Some of these calculators are much more powerful than your typical desktop calculator. They show you not only the answer to your problem but also the step-by-step process used to get to that answer.

If a student is not sure how to do a math problem these calculators can help…but…there is often more than one way to solve a problem. A teacher may show a different method of solving a problem.

These calculators cover different subjects and work in different ways. Choose the 

... Read More ›

Prisons We Choose to Live Inside

I recently read Doris Lessing's 1987 collection of essays, Prisons We Choose to Live Inside. As an intern with the Correctional Services Program at NYPL, the book had layers of meaning for me. Lessing shares her wisdom, her unapologetic inquiries, and her unique experience through four essays on human behavior.

Her approach is rational and clear. She asks us to use our powerful tools of reflection to amend our 

... Read More ›

Controlled Chaos: A Day Working the Rikers Island Book Cart

Another day of volunteering at Rikers Island with the NYPL has come to a close. Thursday I went to one of the male detention houses along with my mentor and two other staff members from NYPL. We were there for "book cart service," which is a little different than what I remember from Shawshank Redemption.

We delivered books to both solitary confinement and two different "houses," which are the names of blocks within the building. The inmates in solitary confinement are 

... Read More ›

Books Behind Bars

Rikers Island Prison ComplexI spent the first week of March working with the Correctional Services Librarian at the New York Public Library. It was part of an internship through the University of Michigan's School of Information designed to be carried out during our alternative spring break week.

Some of my time was spent answering letters from inmates from Correctional Facilities at various locations 

... Read More ›

Dial-A-Teacher

Have you ever looked at your child's homework and wondered "what is this"? You want to help but you have no idea where to begin. Well there is a service that can help you provide homework help to your child. It is called, Dial-A-Teacher and it is part of New York City's public libraries website homeworknyc.org

HomeworkNYC.org provides homework help in any subject of the school's curriculum. Get one-on-one help online or by phone from a New York City school 

... Read More ›

My Library: Nikko

Nikko's been coming to Jefferson Market for nearly half his life! A media omnivore, the library is his Netflix alternative.

Read More ›

Wilbur, the Translator

In Chapter 18 of Candide, our hero and his valet Cacambo arrive in the utopian kingdom of El Dorado, where the streets glitter with precious stones. The people of El Dorado speak Cacambo's mother tongue, a Peruvian dialect indecipherable to Candide, and Cacambo becomes the sole communicator and interpreter. Candide relies on his valet to communicate with the natives of this strange and beguiling country.

The travelers are invited to dine at the King's palace. The dinner proceeds merrily, led by their affable royal 

... Read More ›

Google 101

Many of us, use google for everything. We look up addresses, movie times, weather, admit it you know you have typed in your name too. In any case, google has become a search strategy, but many of us do not use all of the incredible features it has to offer.

How to do a basic google search?

-Always put your search terms in "quotation marks". This will allow google to search the words as a phrase.

-When specifying your search use "+" to include another topic in your search OR use "-" to exclude a topic from your search.

-You can also specify what 

... Read More ›

Candide in New York (or the Problem of Evil)

In 2003 I began work on an edition of Candide for Broadview Press that was published in 2009. For the cover image, I suggested a photograph of the twin towers in flames. I also had an idea for an image to balance it on the back cover: the famous snap from Abu Ghraib of a hooded man standing on a box, arms outstretched and apparently in mortal fear of electrocution. If you find that poor taste, or cannot conceive of why I would choose those images, please read on.

Though it is a comedy, Candide is also about what 

... Read More ›

Noting Candide at 250

Frontispiece of the 2006 Project Gutenberg copy of 'Candide,' taken from 1918 Modern Library editionType "Candide Gutenberg" into Google and you will swiftly find your way to a delightful English translation of Voltaire's wonderful work. It would cost you a whole $1.50 to get the same text on paper, in the remarkably inexpensive Dover Thrift Editions series. Spend $500 on a new iPad and you can get the Gutenberg version practically for free! Why bother going anywhere else?

Well, first, compare 

... Read More ›

Novelist as Contrarian: James Morrow Reads Voltaire

Note: for those of you just joining us, the following is a digest of the latest round of comments on Candide 2.0, an interactive edition of Voltaire's book mounted in conjunction with the Library's exhibition Candide at 250: Scandal and Success.

James Morrow names his 10th-grade World Literature teacher, James Giordano, as his literary hero. In the reader’s guide notes to his novel, The Last 

... Read More ›

Voltaire's 'Candide' as Media Event

The title page of the [Geneva] 1759 true first edition (NYPL Digital Gallery)To say that Candide enjoyed an immediate success is an understatement. Candide was a phenomenon. The novel was published through the medium of print, a fact which we too easily take for granted. The print world of the eighteenth century was unlike our own and posed two particular challenges.

The first was censorship. England enjoyed a fairly free press, but most European countries had various systems for controlling the 

... Read More ›

The Pony Express: History and Myth

Nearly everything you thought you knew about the Pony Express is wrong. Well, perhaps not wrong, but exaggerated or romanticized. If you’re like me, you’re probably imagining men dressed in fringed leather uniform on horses, riding at break-neck speeds to carry important business and love letters hundreds of miles, perhaps while simultaneously shooting their Wincester rifles in the air. When not dashing across the prairie, the riders would be found roping cattle, drinking and playing cards in saloons, hunting buffalo, and dodging Black-Hatted Bandits and 

... Read More ›

Life at the library: New York Public Library’s live-in superintendents

In the 1930 census, John H. Fedeler was living at 476 Fifth Avenue in midtown. Believe it or not midtown was once lined with brownstones. However, Fedeler's home address was not for a residential building, but for a library. Mr. Fedeler lived and worked in New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street from 1910 to 1940 as the library's live-in superintendent and engineer.

Fedeler's passport photograph from 1922

... Read More ›

Paris and Provence at Hudson Park

Hudson Park is hosting "Paris and Provence," art by West Village painter Elliott Gilbert, in its Reference Room Gallery through the end of February.

Abbaye de Sénanque

The work includes 15 canvases of Provence and some lesser-known areas of Paris, including Parc Monceau, a favorite place of Monet. One more view after the break.

Come by the library to see the full exhibit. For more information about Elliott Gilbert, go to http://elliottgilbert.com/   Arches of Montfort... Read More ›

In 2010, Follow the Reader's Den!

It's year two of the Reader's Den and we have an exciting, diverse selection of books to discuss! For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Reader's Den, "RD" is The New York Public Library's online book discussion group available 24/7.  Each month a different title is selected by one of The New York Public Library's librarians and then discussed on the Reader's Den blog. Posts will feature reviews, summaries, author information, as well as discussion questions.

It's year two of the

... Read More ›

Desperately Seeking Alice

The plot of Linda Fairstein’s Lethal Legacy, set in the New York Public Library‘s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, pivots on a copy of a rare 1866 edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. 1866 marks the year of the earliest approved edition of Lewis Carroll’s Alice, illustrated by Punch cartoonist John Tenniel. Copies of the 1866 edition in the New York Public Library are in the double digits. The Henry 

... Read More ›

Marianne Moore and the short commute

I suppose April is National Poetry Month because it's the cruellest month. I don't know if that's true but I've planted some seeds and hope to have flowers for summer. Am I deluded by this into believing in a spring resurrection? Perhaps, but what's the alternative? I'll take my morning glories and moon flowers and if they smell sweet I'll try not to think of funerals.

April is a great time to drop by the Hudson Park Library and take out some 

Read More ›

Port Richmond Branch Library, The First 50 Years: 1905-1955

This post is a revised and updated version of an article that originally appeared in The Staten Island Historian, Winter-Spring 2002, Volume 19, New Series 2 published by the Staten Island Historical Society.

* * * * *

The Port Richmond Branch of The New York Public Library is rich with stories. It stands at 75 Bennett Street on the North Shore of Staten Island, N.Y., two blocks from the Kill Van Kull. A gift from the steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, the historic red brick building faces Veterans’ Park and P.S. 20 in the Port Richmond 

Read More ›
Previous Page 4 of 5 Next

Chat with a librarian now