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Searching the Bible Online

The Bible is the most widely read book in the Western world. And since the advent of public libraries in the United States, patrons have always asked every conceivable type of question about it. ASK NYPL, the ready reference division of The New York Public Library that takes patron queries by telephone, email, chat and text, is often asked about biblical quotations, what was said (and by whom), what was the language used, and where did the quotation, phrase, name or 

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How Did the Pigeon Get to NYC?

One can scarcely think of any park in NYC — or any city, really — without envisioning the ubiquitous pigeon there as well. Despite signs requesting you not feed the birds in adjacent Bryant Park, the library has more than its share of feathered patrons.

But how did this non-native species become the bird most associated with New York City? Pigeons are certainly not indigenous, but they have made themselves quite at home in the Big Apple. In

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Cycling in the City

via flickr, macz_outCycling is not only great for your health; it’s better for the environment and less expensive than other forms of travel. Currently the city is working toward making NYC more friendly to cyclists and as a library we're trying to make information regarding cycling a little easier to find.

So, here are some helpful resources regarding cycling programs, biking clubs, books, blogs, and other practical guides. At the end of this post you’ll also find a list of library locations equipped with bike racks!


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On the Trivial Pursuit of Useless Information

I don't have a very good memory of the fiction books I read and enjoyed as a child. What I do remember is an obsession with encyclopedias, almanacs, atlases, the

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Rose is a Rose is a Rose: How to Search the Meanings of Words and Phrase Origins

My hope is that this blog will serve as a useful starting point for anyone seeking or researching the origin of words and/or phrases, also called etymology. Both print-based and web-based sources are included.

Here are some web resources on word and phrase origins and a few print resources.

Oxford English Dictionary (OED) The online edition of the 20-volume dictionary, access with your library 

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Beyond 311: How to Direct Complaints to NYC, State or Federal Agencies

Landlord-Tenant Disputes: Heat and Hot Water, Eviction, Foreclosure Complaints with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTA) Consumer Fraud and "Rip Offs" Discrimination based on Race, Gender, Sexual Orientation Landlord-Tenant Disputes: Heat and Hot Water, Eviction, Foreclosure

Landlord-tenant disputes are a fact that a large percentage of New York City residents must confront at one time or another if they live in this 

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How to Find Your Next Favorite Book: Readers' Advisory Resources

You may not be aware, in this age of social media and auto-generated recommendations, but librarians are usually pretty good at suggesting books that match your reading tastes and habits. The technical term for this is "Reader's Advisory," and we try to spend time getting to know a wide variety of authors and genres of writing so that we are always ready to give you a tip when you ask for one.

Librarians are not 

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I Remember It Had a Blue Cover and... Finding Books by Their Plot Lines

Fictional works are usually cataloged by author and title, not by subject or plot line, which makes identifying books by their plot or story line difficult.

Before you start your search it would help if you can identify everything you remember about the book, plot, character names, time period in which the book may have been published, genre, etc. All these can help in identifying the title and author of the book.

There are some resources online that can help with a search for a fictional work if all you have is a plot line. Also sometimes the best way to 

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Fifth Avenue From Start to Finish: The 1911 Equivalent of Google Street View

One of the treasures of the New York Public Library is the photographic publication "Fifth Avenue, New York, From Start to Finish." Luckily for us, this rare and beautiful collection of photographs has been digitized for anyone to view at any time — with the added advantage of being able to zoom in and truly examine the world in 1911 all up 

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Hooray for Broadway: Tips for Getting Tickets

Drama, comedy, dance, music and romance! I found them all on 42nd Street and you can too!

If you love Broadway musicals old and new, along with drama, romance and some comedic repertoire, then the Great White Way is where you know you can enjoy a day or night out in New York City. It may become an adventure navigating and obtaining those coveted Broadway tickets. There are many websites that offer discount codes, but there are other ways to see a show at a reasonable price.

Broadway has implemented what is called Rush (General or Student), Lottery and 

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Navigating Health Care in New York: Researching Insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and Providers

Many New Yorkers no longer have much choice about who their health care provider is. Many times New Yorkers — if they are fortunate enough to have an employer sponsored or other health care plan — may be asked to choose from among those health care providers who belong to a particular heath care maintenance program or other health insurance program.

Other New Yorkers may be enrolled in the Medicare Program if they are

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Resources for Senior Care and Senior Activism

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive degenerative disease. Actually it can be viewed as a group of disorders that results in impaired memory, thinking and behavior and affects approximately 4 million Americans and as many as 15 million through out the world. Medical care, education and a support strategy can make the difference and help family and loved ones cope.

Alzheimer's Disease. (2004). In The New Harvard Guide to Women's Health.

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Get Moving NYC: Where’s Your Fitness Fun?

yourdon on Flickr

Every year, spring sparks my desire to get out of my stuffy apartment, stretch my legs, and enjoy what the city has to offer. I want to enjoy a little time outside or find an event that requires some movement.

Certainly getting out, exercising, and discovering a new activity has many great benefits to your general health, but finding the activity that puts a smile on your face can also give you 

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Hidden Chess Gems

Care for a game of chess? Here are some hidden gems you'll find in our collection.

Digital Gallery

J.R. Capablanca. (ca. 1921-1929) Considered by most experts to be one of the strongest players of all time. He was often referred as the Chess Machine.

Max Euwe (1901-1981) Max Euwe was the Fifth World Chess Champion, mathematician, author and former FIDE president.

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Face First: Resources on Cosmetics

In the film The Truth About Cats & Dogs there is a scene where Janeane Garafalo’s character Abby is at a cosmetics counter in a department store. Abby has been dragged there by her new friend and total opposite Noelle, played by Uma Thurman. The salesperson warns Abby of the dire condition her skin is in and how she can take action to counter her “huge pore” situation. Abby quips that it sounds more like the salesperson is planning to stage a military coup rather than 

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How to Research and Employ an Attorney

At some time in their life, most New York City residents will need to employ an attorney. This may reflect the need to make a will, a

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How to Find Free or Low Cost Legal Services in New York City

These services are generally available only to those of limited financial means. However, there are also certain legal services that are available for those of moderate means. If you are a person of limited financial means who faces a civil legal issue — one that is not a criminal offense — certainly the most comprehensive source of information about your legal rights is Its assistance is also 

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Direct Me NYC: NYPL Helps You Find New Yorkers in the 1940 Census

The genealogy world is buzzing with today’s release of the 1940 Federal Census, but some have been disappointed to discover that the newly released data cannot yet be searched by name. Never fear, NYPL to the rescue!

NYPL Labs has created a fantastic new online tool to help you locate New Yorkers in 1940. In conjunction with the Milstein Division, One-Step, and the

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Legal Resources at NYPL and Elsewhere in New York City

Without a doubt, the best location in the New York Public Library to conduct legal research about legal issues that arise in either the state or the city of New York is the Science Industry and Business Library. SIBL has a selective law library that contains such essential New York legal research tools as McKinney’s Consolidated Statutes of New York (annotated with New York and federal cases and state agencies that cite the 

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