Sunday, July 17, 2016

Life Behind the Stacks: Secret Apartments of New York Libraries

Loved this article... Life Behind the Stacks: The Secret Apartments of New York Libraries by Cait Etherington

For many book lovers, there is nothing more exciting than the idea of a home library. What most of the city’s book lovers don’t know is that until recently, there was an affordable way to fulfill the dream of a home library—at least for book lovers who also happened to be handy with tools.

In the early to mid twentieth century, the majority of the city’s libraries had live-in superintendents. Like the superintendents who still live in many of the city’s residential buildings, these caretakers both worked and lived in the buildings for which they were responsible. This meant that for decades, behind the stacks, meals were cooked, baths and showers were taken, and bedtime stories were read. And yes, families living in the city’s libraries typically did have access to the stacks at night—an added bonus if they happened to need a new bedtime book after hours.

Included in this detailed historical article:
The New York Society Library, 53 East 79th Street
NYPL's Schwarzman Building, 476 5th Ave


Susan Bernhardt said...

Such an interesting article and what beautiful homes. I've been in the 42nd Street Branch of the library in NYC. I'll look at it differently next time I am there.

Thank you, Janet.

annoxford said...

This is a tremendous find, Janet! Thank you.