Good Reading : August 2011
www.goodreadingmagazine.com good reading august 2011 18 book city big city book trail Lots of people go to new York and just check out the usual sights, such as the guggenheim museum, the empire state Building and central Park. But, as candice guiLLaumier writes, there’s so much more to see, especially if you’re a book lover. Florence Dempsey, tour guide and librarian, stands stoutly framed by marble columns, her gold-rimmed glasses reflecting the light of expansive arched windows. She assumes a theatr ical air as she shares some histor y. ‘The New York Public Library [NYPL] began as the private collections of two genteel persons of leisure,’ she says, and adds with a laugh, ‘and a huge bucket of money.’ The funding scheme was hailed as an unprecedented example of private philanthropy for the public good. Sixty-thousand people attended the opening of the grand Beaux-Arts building on 23 May 1911, and soon it was fondly being referred to as ‘the people’s library’. Ms Dempsey proudly summarises their civic philosophy of access for all: ‘If you’re a human being then you can use this library for free. It has but one criterion for admission – curiosity.’ With its centenary exhibition PhotograPhY:danguiLLaumier the Periodicals room also collects self-published pop-culture zines and underground press. street sign pointing down Library way.