Steve Potash, the bearded and bespectacled president and C.E.O. of OverDrive, spent the second week of March, 2020, on a business trip to New York City.
OverDrive distributes e-books and audiobooks—i.e., “digital content.” In New York, Potash met with two clients: the New York Public Library and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
By then, Potash had already heard what he described to me recently as “heart-wrenching stories” from colleagues in China, about neighborhoods that were shut down owing to the coronavirus. He had an inkling that his business might be in for big changes when, toward the end of the week, on March 13th, the N.Y.P.L. closed down and issued a statement: “The responsible thing to do—and the best way to serve our patrons right now—is to help minimize the spread of COVID-19.”
The library added, “We will continue to offer access to e-books.”
Over the years we have dipped into the unending well of treasures stored away at the New York Public Library time and again — in doing so, we’ve gotten an extremely rare look at Sylvia Plath’s childhood manuscripts; listened to Shirley Chisholm’s victory speech upon becoming the first Black congresswoman in U.S. history; dug through 1970s photos of Brooklyn homes; discovered that Charles Dickens’s cat’s paw is tucked away in the Berg Collection and still shedding; and even found the answer to the age-old question: is the 1960s World’s Fair Underground Home still buried in Queens?
The NYPL’s 5th Avenue building itself is even a historical treasure, with remnants of the old Croton Reservoir hiding in plain sight.
Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item…
New York City bookworms can rejoice as Gotham’s three public library systems will return to almost full service this month, starting with a bunch of branches reopening Tuesday.
The New York Public Library will open nearly all its outposts on July 6, including the iconic Rose Main Reading Room at its Main Branch on 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, lending honchos announced.
“We know how important public libraries are to New Yorkers and to the reawakening and recovery of our great city,” said NYPL President Anthony Marx in a statement Monday. “We, like all New Yorkers, have been eagerly moving toward the moment we can more fully restore a familiar, near pre-pandemic service model throughout the system, and are so excited that —thanks to the vaccination progress — that moment is now.”
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is thrilled to announce that the Lou Reed Archive has been processed and is now available to users. The Lou Reed Archive documents the history of Reed’s life as a musician, composer, poet, writer, photographer, and tai-chi student through his own extensive papers, photographs, recordings and other materials. The archive spans Reed’s creative life—from his 1958 Freeport High School band, the Shades, to his final performances in 2013.