“Serving more than 17 million patrons a year, and millions more online, the Library holds more than 55 million items, from books, e-books, and DVDs to renowned research collections used by scholars from around the world. Housed in the iconic 42nd Street library and three other research centers, NYPL’s historical collections hold such treasures as Columbus’s 1493 letter announcing his discovery of the New World, George Washington’s original Farewell Address, and John Coltrane’s handwritten score of ‘Lover Man.’” New York Public Library
I have never been to the New York Public Library but, just by viewing photographs, I feel the sense of wonder thinking of the marvelous stories that are held within these walls. Imagine all the people who have visited this library, studied at one of the tables, surrounded by a stack of books, note papers, and pens.
During this period of solitude, museums, art galleries and libraries have worked tirelessly to remain connected and vibrant. Their creative use of technology to bring messages via e-mail and all social media venues has been heartening and life-affirming. Today, we are heading into the New York Public Library, specifically into the archives.
Archives preserve our story and provide a space where previous generations are able to tell us what they experienced and valued. Keeping records increases our sense of belonging to a wider narrative, giving us a foundation upon which to document our time and place within history. Archives are letters from the past to us who live in the present. Our task it to keep that moving forward to future generations.
Join me as we meet up with Declan Kiely, Director of Exhibitions, New York Public Library as he takes us on a brief tour of what is in the NYPL archives. It is a confirmation that we must find a way to keep our stories alive. As Declan states, it is the creative spirit at work.