New York Public Library’s Central Children’s Room

h1 February 6th, 2008 by Eisha and Jules

If you are a big reader of the kidlitosphere, you have likely seen posts like this passionate one from Robin Brande or this post from Elizabeth Burns at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy about the fate of the New York Public Library’s Donnell Branch. This November ’07 article from The New York Times explains, in case you’ve not heard about this, that the library signed an agreement to sell the property and the building housing its Donnell branch to a hotel (thanks to Liz at Tea Cozy for that link). The Donnell branch will close in May, leaving people to wonder if the resources in the Central Children’s Room (home of the original Winnie-the-Pooh, for one thing) and Teen Central will still be available.

For the latest, you can read this “Talkback” piece at School Library Journal, posted yesterday. Here’s an excerpt:

News that Donnell could lose its Central Children’s Room greatly disturbs award-winning author Jon Scieszka, who was recently named the new National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. “I think it would be a loss for everybody in children’s books if there wasn’t a real dedicated Children’s Room,” says Scieszka, who says he edited The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (Scholastic, 1993), conducted research, and even wrote some of his early works in the room. “It would really be a loss for kids and send a message that kids’ books aren’t really that important.”

Yeah, what he said. So, if you’re keeping up with this issue, that’s the latest, as we understand it, and we’re stickin’ to that. As Robin wrote in the aforementioned post,

So what can we, ordinary citizens, do? Be big-mouthed complainers, that’s what. Whether it’s on our blogs or in letters or e-mails, we can be big pains-in-the-butts. When we read articles like the ones I linked to above, we can take the time to comment and make a record–treat it like an on-line petition. Or if you really want to be radical, you can actually write to the people in charge over at the NYPL and say that even you, a resident of (not NYC), care about keeping a resource like that alive.

Who knows if we can do anything at this point, but I think it pays to stay awake.

Yeah, what she said, too (this issue’s been covered so well elsewhere). But we at 7-Imp are doing our little part to make the issue known for anyone who perhaps hasn’t read about it yet. I (Jules, that is) may be way down near Nashville (and, indeed, was not swept up by a tornado last night), but I still care about that legendary Central Children’s Room and . . . well, any and all public libraries losing funding, losing valuable space, losing face. And I can safely speak on behalf of Eisha when I say that, too. Here’s hoping it will work out well in the end. It’s probably safe to say that School Library Journal will continue to keep us all updated.

One comment to “New York Public Library’s Central Children’s Room”

  1. […] just read on 7-Imp, where there’s a much more in depth and eloquent summary than I can attempt here, that the New York Public Libaries Donnell Branch will be closing in May. […]

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