Friday, September 25, 2009

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts’ Student Reception

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center is home to one of the world’s most extensive combination of circulating and non-circulating reference and research materials on music, dance, theatre, recorded sound, and other performing arts.1 It is an essential resource of information for a myriad of professionals and aspiring students in virtually all aspects of the performing arts: dancers, singers, actors, composers, choreographers, conductors, directors, set and costume designers, critics, and historians. Hence, whether you are a professional, an amateur or a member of the general public, the Library for the Performing Arts is an invaluable resource for everyone with an interest in the performing arts. 2

At present, the Library for the Performing Arts contains over 350,000 published items, which includes books, periodicals, sheet music, audio cassettes, compact discs, videotapes and DVDs.3 All together, the Library’s collections come to a staggering nine million items. However, only 30 percent of the research holdings are actually books. The remaining 70 percent is comprised of historic recordings, videotapes, manuscripts, correspondence, sheet music, set, light, mechanical and costume designs, press clippings, programs, posters, and photographs-- and all these materials are freely available for borrowing.4

In addition to being a lending and research library, the Library for the Performing Arts functions, as a creative laboratory for performing artists; “artists draw inspiration and direction from the materials to create their work, and the documentation of their process becomes part of the collections.”5 It also serves “as a museum, a video production center, a valued consultant to the artistic community, and a performance venue, regularly presenting concerts and theatrical events as well as lectures and seminars. Through its collections the public programs, the Library attracts some 425,000 visitors a year.” 6

Kevin Winkler is the Library for the Performing Arts’ Assistant for Access Services. He leads the creation of community-driven, customer focused facilities and service plans and is responsible for the development and implementation of uniform public service policies in all LPA divisions. Winkler reports to the Executive Director regarding the management of fiscal operations such as budget preparation and control and is responsible for all aspects of public service including research and circulating collections. His day-to-day tasks include coordination of administrative support for all library units, and overseeing facility operations and security. Winkler is also responsible for content development of the Library’s website and long range planning of technology based service programs for on-site and remote users. Additionally, he oversees collaborations with Lincoln Center on facility and marketing projects.

Curator for the Library for the Performing Arts’ Music Division, Robert Kosovsky is responsible for the division’s collection of rare books and manuscripts. The Library for the Performing Arts’ Music Division is “one of the world's preeminent music collections”7 and serves the needs of an extensive professional constituency, “including singers and instrumentalists in search of unusual music, writers preparing program notes for concerts and recordings, lawyers searching copyrights, television producers and book publishers in need of illustrative material, and sociologists studying popular culture.”8 The Division contains many scores and manuscripts that are centuries old and documents the art of music in all its diversity: opera, spirituals, ragtime, jazz, musical theater, film, world, orchestral, rock, and pop music. The Division’s “curatorial mandate is one of activist, placing major emphasis on capturing the creative output of contemporary composers.” 9 Its acquisitions program spans the globe to bring the Division the latest published music from many nations. The Library for the Performing Arts’ Music Division provides a vital information center for music scholars and students alike. 10

On Tuesday, September 15, 2009, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts hosted its 2nd annual student reception. The evening invites students and faculty from the New York area to meet and reconnect over drinks, hors d’oeuvres and entertainment. The event also gives students and faculty the opportunity to learn about the unique collections, scholarly opportunities, programs, and services at New York’s world class performing arts library. In preparation for this year’s student reception, I interviewed the Library for the Performing Arts’ Kevin Winkler and Robert Kosovosky, to find out what to expect.

Q: How did the idea for the student reception at the Library for the Performing Arts come about?

Kevin Winkler: Despite our having been in this location since 1965, I am always amazed when students tell me they didn’t know we existed. [The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is] a prime resource for performing arts students throughout the city, and we wanted to create an event specifically for students that would introduce our services and collections to them.

Robert Kosovsky: The idea of the reception had been brewing for a year; in part we were prevented because a similar [event] was held at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building… . Also, we noted a decline in the number of researchers and realized that many students, especially those new to New York, may be unfamiliar with the Library.

Q: How long has the Library for the Performing Arts been hosting this event?

KW: We started the reception just last year, so this will be our second [year hosting the event].

Q: What is the purpose of this event?

RK: The purpose of the event is to introduce people to the Library and establish what we hope will be a life-long relationship.

Q: Who attends this event?

KW: Students from high school, college, performing arts programs (i.e., music, theatre, dance, film), as well as library school students and students in museum studies—we have an active museum exhibition program.

RK: Undergraduate, graduate and post graduate students are invited as well as interested faculty.

Q: Is there typically a large turnout?

KW: Last year we welcomed 125 students. This year we’re expecting to top that number of attendees.

Q: What can participants expect at this year’s event?

RK: Participants can expect socialization. We hope that students from different schools and disciplines meet one another. There will also be some short presentations that include a guest speaker and glimpses of a few of the interesting items to be found at the Library for the Performing Arts.

KW: First, they’ll be welcomed by Jackie Davis, Library for the Performing Arts’ Executive Director. They will also hear remarks from Tituss Burgess (pictured left), about how important the Library for the Performing Arts is to his professional work. Burgess is a Broadway actor and singer who has appeared in “Guys and Dolls” and “The Little Mermaid”. Students will be handed packets of information regarding the Library’s various collections and services. We’ll also hold a drawing where some great library publications will be given away. There will be time for food and drink as well as the opportunity to talk with LPA librarians and curators. Finally, students will explore the building, where they can visit the reading rooms; wander through the stacks and see samples of our original video documentation of theatre and dance performances. Hopefully, they’ll leave with a better understanding of how the Library for Performing Arts can support their educational curriculum.

Works Cited:
1. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. (2009). About the library. Retrieved September 22, 2009, from http://www.nypl.org/research/lpa/general/

2. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. (2009). History of Performing Arts Library. In Collections. Retrieved September 22, 2009, from http://www.nypl.org/press/2001/lpareopenhistory.cfm

3. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. (2009). History of Performing Arts Library. In Divisions of the Library for the Performing Arts: The circulating collections. Retrieved September 22, 2009, from http://www.nypl.org/press/2001/lpareopenhistory.cfm

4. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. (2009). History of Performing Arts Library. In Collections. Retrieved September 22, 2009, from http://www.nypl.org/press/2001/lpareopenhistory.cfm

5. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. (2009). History of Performing Arts Library. In Divisions of the Library for the Performing Arts: The circulating collections. Retrieved September 22, 2009, from http://www.nypl.org/press/2001/lpareopenhistory.cfm

6. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. (2009). History of Performing Arts Library. In Collections. Retrieved September 22, 2009, from http://www.nypl.org/press/2001/lpareopenhistory.cfm

7. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. (2009). About the music division. In Collections. Retrieved September 22, 2009, from http://www.nypl.org/research/lpa/mus/musabout.html

8. Ibid.

9. Ibid.

10. Ibid.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Book Sale for Charity on Upper West Side

This year's Goddard Riverside New York Book Sale takes place on Nov. 21 and Nov. 22 on Columbus Avenue at W. 88 Street. They may still need volunteers to sort or sell; see
Goddard Riverside Community Center for more information on this.

- LT