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home : blogs_old : tone's book zone September 15, 2014

Tone's Book Zone
By Sue Tone
A blog for readers and book lovers. Postings will include information on book festivals, library activities, local authors, classroom visits, book groups, writing and publishing tips, reviews, bookmakers and bookmaking, and how volunteers can help children and adults acquire a love of reading.
Thursday, May 30, 2013

De Library! De Library!

 by Sue Tone

Top photo: A plethora of 2.5 ft.-by-1.5 ft. bronze plaques are embedded along the sidewalk of Library Way in New York City. This one bears a quote by Thomas Jefferson.
Middle photo: There it is! The New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue and Library Way.
Bottom photo: From right: Cousin Nina Aaron, me and sisters Gini and Tami.

What a kick to watch the New York Public Library appear in front of me on Fifth Avenue and Library Way. And what a surprise to see a plethora of 2.5 ft.-by-1.5 ft. bronze plaques by urban sculptural artist Gregg LeFevre embedded in the sidewalks of Library Way, each with different artwork and a meaningful quotation.

I stopped pedestrian traffic to read and take photos of as many of them as I could without losing sight of my group up ahead. One of my favorites is a quote by Thomas Jefferson, "Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe."

I must return to NYC and its main public library because we were all on a mission to view original photographs of Lewis Hine, a relative of mine, second cousin, four generations removed. (But who keeps track of such things.) Unfortunately, that's about all the time we had in the magnificent building guarded by two lions: Patience and Fortitude.

As mentioned in my April post, Elizabeth set up the viewing, but she wasn't there the day we visited. We had a wonderful time with a very knowledgeable photo librarian, Zulay Chang, who pulled out archival boxes from a back room for us.

We saw Hine's photos of child labor, his Men at Work series, and photographs of immigrant families in homes and on the street.

I wish we also had requested the photos of the construction of the Empire State Building. I mean, we were there on the street later that evening, looking up at it. Hine was hired to record the progress, and he was right up on top the girders with his camera taking photos alongside the workmen. Or hanging in an open metal box that swung out to get a dizzying perspective of what the ironworkers faced in their daily work.

In September, a Lewis Hine exhibit is planned at the International Center of Photography near the NYCPL. Alison Nordstrom, senior curator of photographs at George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, which holds the largest and most comprehensive archive of Hine's work, is curating the show, and she would love to have Hine's second cousins (four generations removed) come see the display.

We ran out of time in the Library and hastily made our way downstairs and off to see the Tenement Museum. Alas, I did not go into the reading room - 77 ft. wide by 295 ft. long, with 50 ft. ceilings - nor see the smaller rooms where famous authors come to do their research.

I must go back to the City. I wonder if I could get some sort of honorary NYC Public Library card while I'm there...

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