A Tour of New York Public Libraries: Background information when reading Murder at the 42nd Street Library

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Murder at the 42nd Street Library

A Mystery

by Con Lehane

Murder at the 42nd Street Library by Con Lehane X
Murder at the 42nd Street Library by Con Lehane
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  • Published:
    Apr 2016, 320 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Rory L. Aronsky
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About this Book

A Tour of New York Public Libraries

This article relates to Murder at the 42nd Street Library

Print Review

42nd Street LibraryAt the beginning of chapter 2 of Murder at the 42nd Street Library, Con Lehane describes the New York Public Library's famed 42nd Street branch thusly:

The 42nd Street Library stretches along the west side of Fifth Avenue from 42nd to 40th Street. The landmark beaux arts structure houses the humanities and social sciences collections of the New York Public Library, the largest research collection of any public library in the nation after the Library of Congress.

The collections are available to journalists, historians, and other scholars, graduate students writing dissertations, authors working on books, individuals tracing a family tree, anyone who wants [to] read a newspaper or magazine, and many others. But the books, journals, manuscripts, maps, photographs, newspapers, baseball cards, comic books, don't circulate. The 42nd Street Library is a research library, not a circulating library.

Here's a quick look at what other New York Public Library branches offer:

New York Public Library for the Performing ArtsAt 40 Lincoln Plaza, you'll find the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, appropriate for its location, which is part of Lincoln Center Plaza, renowned for all kinds of artistic, uplifting performances. Within its stately walls is the Billy Rose Theatre Division, one of the largest archives devoted to the theatrical arts; the Theatre and Film on Tape Archive, which has video recordings of Broadway, Off-Broadway and regional theater performances; and The Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, which contains approximately 700,000 recordings ranging from Motown to radio dramas to presidential speeches and a lot more. You could very well study an entire era from these recordings alone.

Chatham Square Library33 East Broadway in Manhattan is the address for the Chatham Square Library, which serves the Chinatown neighborhood, boasting a Chinese language collection that's been around since 1911, eight years after the branch opened in 1903. It's known to be one of the busiest branches in the entire New York Public Library system.

Aguilar LibraryThe Aguilar Library on 174 East 110th Street opened in February 1903, and bears the name of Grace Aguilar, a Sephardic Jewish author. In 1905, large Italian and Jewish immigrant populations made up its numbers, though after World War II a quickly burgeoning Hispanic population inspired a sizable Hispanic collection, which remains today.

Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book LibraryOne of the more unique branches in all of New York City is the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library, located at 40 W. 20th Street. It's a branch of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, administered by the Library of Congress, and serves New York and Long Island residents, providing braille and talking books and magazines for the blind, the visually impaired, and others who are physically unable to read print. The staff at the library also provides one-on-one computer classes with assistive technology.

While the 42nd Street Library is certainly photo-worthy for tourists, a bibliophile could make quite a circuit of the 91 branches of the New York Public Library, including the libraries mentioned above. Some vacations are worth taking just for the libraries.

42nd Street Library
New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
Chatham Square Library
Aguilar Library
Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library

Filed under Places, Cultures & Identities

Article by Rory L. Aronsky

This article relates to Murder at the 42nd Street Library. It first ran in the May 18, 2016 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

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