Shall the city of Albany accept the offer of Mr. Andrew Carnegie of $150,000 for public library purposes?
It had totally slipped my mind that I have lived for forty years in Albany, NY. I moved to an apartment on the corner of Morris and Ontario Streets in August 1979 My intention was to attend graduate school at SUNY Albany in Public Administration.
I spent one year in grad school, pretty much hating it for a variety of reasons. Working at FantaCo, the comic book store, was meant to be a summer job; it turned out to be 8.5 years. After a little over a year at a not-great insurance job, I went back to UAlbany, this time to library school.
I worked for the NY Small Business Development Center for 26.7 years, in five different spaces. This included two in the same building, and one in Corporate (frickin’) Woods, also the general locale of the insurance job.
Since I lived in close to a dozen places in my first two decades here, my friends told me they put my information in their address books in pencil. I resided on both Morris Street in the Pine Hills section, and on Lancaster Street, off of Lark, two different times. The nice two-family house where I lived in the West Hill section of town now has a red X on it.
Before I moved to Albany, I resided in Schenectady, in the same metropolitan area. Though less than 20 miles apart, they’re quite different places. Schenectady has had Democratic mayors and Republican mayors.
Forty years in Albany means that Erastus Corning 2nd, “the longest-serving mayor of a major American city,” was still running the show. The Democrats have been in control for nearly a century, and the Republicans for the previous 30 years before that. I blame the patroons.
In 2007, the city voted to create a much more robust library system. This was in stark contrast to a century earlier. From the Library Journal, volume 27, Nov 1902, under NEW YORK STATE LIBRARY SCHOOL, CALENDAR, 17TH SCHOOL YEAR, 19O2-3, NOTES AND NEWS:
“The students have been interested in watching the Carnegie library campaign, which culminated on election day, Nov. 4. The following question was submitted to the people on a separate ballot: Shall the city of Albany accept the offer of Mr. Andrew Carnegie of $150,000 for public library purposes?
“The offer was rejected by a majority of 5056. There were 7152 votes for and 12,208 votes against the proposition, 23,334 being the total city vote cast for Governor. Only four out of 19 wards gave a majority for the library.”
Albany was one of the relatively few cities in the US that rejected a Carnegie library because they didn’t want the comparatively small cost of maintenance. So Albany has evolved somewhat.
Sometimes, my wife asks where we might move to if ever that was our choice. I dunno. Right now, I’m within three blocks of a pharmacy, a grocery store, a library branch, a police station, a half dozen restaurants, and at least four bus lines. Whatever its flaws – and there are still a few – Albany is still home.
Public is or Public are: “British English tends to see either a plural or singular verb, pronoun or noun as acceptable, depending on the context in which the collective noun is used. American English, however, is considerably more rigid in sticking with the singular. Though they too may reconsider occasionally, based on context.”
After January 1, any record label can issue a dubstep version of the 1923 hit ‘Yes! We Have No Bananas.’
One of my blog followers suggested this: The Room of Requirement from This American Life. The title reference is to Harry Potter.
Act 1 is In Praise of Limbo by Zoe Chace. “There is a library that’s on the border of Canada and the United States — literally on the border, with part of the library in each country.”
Act 2 is Book Fishing In America by Sean Cole. Imagine “a library where regular people can come and drop off their own unpublished books. Nothing is turned away. The books live there forever. It’s the kind of place that would never work in real life. But someone decided to try it.”
“Libraries aren’t just for books. They’re often spaces that transform into what you need them to be: a classroom, a cyber café, a place to find answers, a quiet spot to be alone. It’s actually kind of magical. This week, we have stories of people who roam the stacks and find unexpected things that just happen to be exactly what they required.”
Are you a librarian, or do you work in a library? Do you now or have you ever owned a “Secret Librarians of Fandom” button?
You NEED to listen to this week’s This American Life, “Room of Requirement,” or AT LEAST Act Three, “Growing Shelf Awareness” by Stephanie Foo. “Lydia Sigwarth spent a lot of time in her public library growing up – all day, almost every day, for six months straight.”
Seriously, if you work in a library and have 15 minutes spare right now, just click through and listen to Act Three.
“That deluge of works includes not just ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,’ by Robert Frost, which appeared first in the New Republic in 1923, but hundreds of thousands of books, musical compositions, paintings, poems, photographs, and films.
After January 1, any record label can issue a dubstep version of the 1923 hit ‘Yes! We Have No Bananas,’ any middle school can produce Theodore Pratt’s stage adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray, and any historian can publish Winston Churchill’s The World Crisis with her own extensive annotations. Any artist can create and sell a feminist response to Marcel Duchamp’s seminal Dadaist piece, The Large Glass (The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even) and any filmmaker can remake Cecil B. DeMille’s original The Ten Commandments and post it on YouTube.
Duke Law has a full list of works released in the public domain this year.