Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Hayden, Marx in Conversation at NYPL

Public Libraries


By on November 8, 2016

Carla Hayden and Tony Marx in conversation at NYPL
Photo credit: Chasi Annexy/The New York Public Library


On Halloween night, Friends and trustees of New York Public Library (NYPL) got a treat that didn’t require a costume: Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and NYPL President Tony Marx sat down together for a lively hour-long discussion of research, preservation, digitization, Hayden’s plans for the Library of Congress (LC), and the influence of Hamilton. The conversation was the first in a series of public programs over the next year highlighting the importance of archival research.

The event was held as part of the celebration of the reopening of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building’s Rose Main Reading Room and Bill Blass Public Catalog Room. These had been closed since May 2014, when a plaster rosette fell from the Reading Room’s 52-foot ceiling in the middle of the night. After an inspection, the ceiling was deemed structurally sound, but NYPL decided to err on the side of caution and reinforce all of the decorative rosettes bordering the ceiling with steel cables, and at the same time to restore the mural on the ceiling of the Bill Blass room. The spaces reopened in October 2016 with a celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Sitting at the front of the Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Trustees Room—hung with what Marx called “incredibly politically incorrect 400-year-old tapestries”—the two bantered briefly and then got down to business. “Why libraries?” asked Marx.

Hayden described her experiences with public libraries as a young patron and then a librarian, and her dawning realization of what sanctuaries they were for their constituents. Plus, she told Marx, “In the ’70s, when I was a baby librarian, what attracted me was the idea of information as power.”  Read more...

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