Friday, February 6, 2015

New Book About New York City's Early Libraries

I've just completed reading Tom Glynn's new book Reading Publics: New York City's Public Libraries, 1754-1911 (Empire State Editions, Fordham University Press, 2015). I highly recommend it to library history buffs everywhere. The term "public libraries" used in the sub-title of the book refers to all types of libraries other than private/personal libraries not just free public libraries as we know them today. Indeed the New York Public Library was not legally established until 1895. As the sub-title indicates the time period for the book begins in 1754 with the founding of the New York Society Library and concludes with the construction of the flagship New York Public Library building at 5th Ave. and 42nd Street. As Wayne Wiegand indicates in a cover blurb the book is: "A deeply researched, well-written, and solid contribution to library history literature that will interest not only members of the library profession but also scholars and students of intellectual, cultural, social, urban, and print culture history whose own research has been heavily influenced by the rich collections Glynn discusses." I found the book to also be a good read. The complicated development of libraries in the nation's major urban city is a fascinating story, and Tom Glynn has done an excellent job of telling it.  Purchase from Amazon.

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