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Posts by Beth Hays

The Library is Her Favorite Place in the World

Beatrix Alevras and Sarah McDonald at Hamilton Fish Park Library.Beatrix Alevras carries only one item in her wallet: her library card. But for the 6-year-old from the Lower East Side, it might as well have super powers.

“You just show it and you get to take home so many books,” exclaims Beatrix, who has been visiting the Hamilton Fish Park Library with her family since she was an infant.

“I keep it in my Wonder Woman wallet because I don’t want to lose it,” adds the first-grader. “The 

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Rediscovering Her Voice at the Library

Jyna Scheeren and Leironica Hawkins at Grand Central Library.Leironica Hawkins discovered the Grand Central Library by chance last year when she was living in a homeless shelter.

Now the neighborhood library has helped her rediscover herself and her voice by providing her with refuge, inspiration, and free computer access.   Hawkins, who was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome as an adult, spent countless hours at the branch researching and creating a graphic novel about living with the condition. With the help of Managing Librarian Jyna Scheeren, Hawkins then ... Read More ›

Finding Her Confidence at NYPL

Growing up, Leticia Cruz never thought she was smart enough for school and dropped out in the 10th grade.

Thanks to The New York Public Library, the 18-year-old from the Bronx discovered that she liked reading, and is now working on getting her GED so she can go to college to become a physical therapist.   Working with literacy specialist Shawanda Williams Scott of NYPL’s Literacy Connection program, Leticia improved her reading by four grade levels in six months. The program’s small class size and highly interactive teaching style helped her to thrive ... Read More ›

Staying Out of Trouble at the Library

Wanda Luzon and Jacques Jones at Clason's Point Library.For Bronx teen Jacques Jones, the Clason’s Point Library has long been a safe haven that has kept him off the street.

Now the branch and its staff have helped him finish his high school education. The 18-year-old from the Soundview section of the borough is proud to be getting his diploma this spring thanks to NYPL’s Wanda Luzon, who runs the Teen Zone at Clason’s Point. 

“Wanda really encouraged me,” says Jones. “The Library is my 

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The Library Is His Toolbox

Geniene Monterrosa and Tommy Foday at St. George Library Center.

After everything he has been through, Tommy Foday wasn’t going to let a snowstorm keep him from finally learning to read and write.

Nearly 10 years ago, Foday, a torture survivor and refugee from Sierra Leone, was set to have his first adult literacy class at the St. George Library Center on Staten Island on the day of a major snowfall. Though the Library was nearly empty and all the other students stayed home, Foday still made it in — and has remained a dedicated student ever 

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Finding Computer Help and More at the Library

Festus Udeugwu. Photo: Beowulf SheehanSome people take the Library for granted. Not Festus Udeugwu, a Nigerian immigrant from the Bronx.

Udeugwu, 68, who has been taking free computer classes at Morrisania Library, still can’t believe the wealth of free resources at his neighborhood library.   “The Library has been such a help. I never thought I’d learn to use a computer,” said Udeugwu, a grandfather who immigrated to New York City three years ago to be near his daughter and 

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Finding Adventure in Every Page of a Library Book

Isabella Rosario. Photo: Beowulf SheehanIsabella Rosario, a 6-year-old from Staten Island, went to the St. George Library Center nearly every day last summer.

It more than paid off.

Isabella read almost 250 books in three months — making her among the city’s top readers in last year’s Summer Reading program, which encourages kids to keep reading during their vacation.

Now, though she is only in kindergarten, Isabella is already reading at a second-grade 

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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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Off the Breadline and Onto a Bank Line with Help from NYPL!

Anthony Suarez. Photo: Beowulf SheehanAnthony Suarez has always had a calling to help others.   So a few years ago, when he found himself out of work and in a shelter because he had no way to pay rent, it wasn’t easy for Suarez to admit he needed help himself.

  But after turning to the job-search resources at the Bronx Library Center, Suarez was able to get back on his feet and land a stable job as a caseworker with the city — and return to helping others 

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Learning English for the Sake of Her Children

Lucy Liu and her two children. Photo: Beowulf SheehanLucy Liu, who emigrated from China to New York City nine years ago, is proud that her two young children speak perfect English.   Now she wants to learn too.

  In order to keep up with her kids, Liu is learning to read and write in English for the first time thanks to the free classes at an NYPL Center for Reading and Writing at Seward Park Library in Chinatown.   “I wanted to 

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The New York Public Library Saved His Life

Pedro Munoz. Photo: Beowulf SheehanPedro Munoz, a junior-high dropout and recovering addict, had never set foot in a Library until two years ago.

Now, Tompkins Square Library is his favorite spot in the city — the place that gave him the strength to turn his life around.

“The Library has saved my life. Without it, I would still be out there on the street,” says Munoz, who has been learning to read and write at free adult-literacy center at Tompkins Square 

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The NYPL English Class That Changed Her Life

Rose Covington and her daughter. Photo: Beowulf SheehanWhen Rose Covington moved to Harlem from Brazil in 2005, she felt lost and alone because she couldn’t speak or understand any English.

But now, after nearly one year of free English classes in one of The New York Public Library’s English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs, she has found her voice and confidence again.

"I was so unhappy when I first came to this country because I could not express myself," said Mrs. 

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Behind the Scenes at Three Faiths: A Conversation with Senior Exhibitions Conservator Myriam de Arteni

Myriam de Arteni has been painstakingly repairing the library’s vast collections for more than three decades. But for de Arteni, conserving works in the “Three Faiths” exhibit--which include some of the library’s oldest and most precious documents--has been one of her most ambitious projects yet.

How does this exhibit compare to other exhibits you’ve worked on? Was it among the most ambitious?

Yes, it was very challenging because it features such rare and fragile 

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