“I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.”—JK Rowling, author of the ridiculously popular Harry Potter series, who is celebrating a birthday today. Happy birthday, Jo. And happy birthday to Harry Potter, who is also celebrating his birthday today! Want to give them both a birthday gift? Head to NYPL and take out some Harry Potter stuff!
So let’s face reality - everyone forgets to bring back Library books sometimes. And when they do, they rack up fines. Sure, the fines aren’t that steep, but over time, they can add up. Here at NYPL, if you rack up $15 or more in fines, your card gets blocked and you can’t check out books anymore … and that’s sad. In this economy, even a small amount of money might be too much for some families, so one forgotten returned book becomes the end of the library for a while. So this summer, we are helping kids eliminate those fines (whether they be $1, $15 or more) with our new Read Down Your Fines program! Kids should sign up for our Summer Reading Program, then head down to their local library and explain that they want to read down their fines. For every 15 minutes they read, they get $1 off their fine. Great, right? We think so. Our priority is to get kids in the library, reading and learning all summer. So this is what we’re trying. This program goes until Sept. 9 - so hop to it! And in the meantime, enjoy the image above from the early 20th Century of “Heidi and Her Uncle Reading” from our Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection.
It’s absurdly hot in New York City today. Like, melt your skin hot (much like in this print from 1869 from our Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection entitled, “On The Docks After A Hot Day”). Want to cool off? All of NYPL’s libraries are considered “cooling centers,” so find the one closest to you and cool off! While you’re there, check out a book, use the computer, attend a class or watch a program. Hope to see you soon!
Now that same-sex marriage is legal here in New York City, NYPL wants to welcome any and all couples to celebrate their totally legit unions at our 42nd Street location (I mean, c’mon, what can be a better symbol for a same-sex wedding than a place built on freedom and access). And Lis Pearson, our Manager of Marketing for Special Events, has her fingers crossed that one particular wedding will take place here. “If I could pick one dream person who would have his wedding here and put NYPL on the map for same-sex marriages, it’s Neil Patrick Harris,” she said. “So Neil, call me. We can talk.” But everyone else is welcome, too - check out our online info and contact our Special Events Department at 212-930-0730 or at email@example.com.
1 - “The handle of this letter opener is the paw of Charles Dickens’s pet cat Bob.” (The New York Public Library exhibit “Celebrating 100 Years”). (Photo above by NYPL’s Jonathan Blanc)
2 - “My picture should be in the dictionary next to the definition of definition.” (Lil Wayne)
The results: “Lil Wayne refreshes a cliché by making it eat itself. Charles Dickens’s cat-paw letter opener is an instant classic among literary factoids — made infinitely better, somehow, by the fact that the cat’s name was Bob. It’s a tough call, but in the end I’m going with cleverness over reportage.”
The winner - Lil Wayne. Oh well. As they all say, it was an honor just to be nominated.
Did you know that The New York Public Library has a photo of the honey badger in its collections? While we’re quite sure “honey badger don’t care,” we figured you might, so we’re trying to lighten up a slow Monday by sharing it. The honey badger - made famous by a hilarious viral video that Huffington Post dubbed “the best nature video of all time” - is also known as the Ratel, and it is featured on this cigarette card in our George Arents Collection. The card was published sometime between 1922 and 1939, and as you can see from the details printed on the back (shown below), the Ratel likes to eat honey, has loose skin, feasts on poisonous snakes, and is basically immune to bee stings. So the video is totally right! The honey badgers are just CRA-zy!
You can’t always get what you want - but in this case, we did. You may recall the story of legendary Rolling Stones rocker Keith Richards accidentally killing an orchid belonging to Marie D’Origny, deputy director of our Cullman Center For Scholars and Writers, when he visited the Library last October. He had a cigarette in Marie’s office with the window open, and the combination of smoke and frigid air was deadly for the delicate flower. Keef was very nice about the whole thing, signing the plant’s pot (AKA - his makeshift ash tray), but Marie still lost her orchid. Fast forward a few months, and under Marie’s green thumb, the orchid has been reborn! Look how well it’s doing! So, all in all, it’s a happy ending! All are satisfied.
He’s not only our new NYPL President - he’s also a patron! Former Inwood Library user Anthony Marx starts today as President of The New York Public Library after a successful career as President of Amherst College in Massachusetts. Marx, a New York native who graduated from P.S. 98 and The Bronx High School of Science, is eager to lead the Library — “one of a very few institutions that unite the world of advanced scholarship and the world of universal education.” We welcome him!
Tito is bringing his music to Tito Puente Way! The famous musician’s orchestra will be performing at our Aguilar Library (located, appropriately, on Tito Puente Way) at 2 p.m. It’s totally free, so come on down and check it out! Dance the afternoon away! The program is part of the Music @ NYPL series, which aims to bring free music into NYC. The proposed $40 million city budget cut could hurt programs like this, so before you dance, sign a letter to the city protesting the cuts.
The New York Public Library has partnered with Toronto-based company Bibliocommons to re-invent our catalog page. The new version (which will be easier to use and will allow patrons to rate books, create their own “shelves” and form online groups) will officially debut in September, but we’re giving our loyal users a chance to preview the page starting today. We want your feedback! You can check out the whole story of the partnership, or just get right to testing it out. Enjoy!