If you have an interest in books and especially their role in libraries, as we do here because of their educational and cultural contributions to communities, you could not have ignored the stories of this man‘s shift from leading Amherst College to his present role at the New York Public Library. Looking at NYPL’s history, from the 19th Century to more recent times it seems on occasion more like a tool for the aggrandizement of wealth and privilege than a public institution. But not so, or not entirely so. Speaking to research librarians in an hour-long gentle provocation, NYPL’s President and CEO frames its role in a manner any modern library lover must be willing to speculate on:
Research libraries have long been considered the intellectual hub of a community, whether it’s a university or a city. With the shift to digital content, network-based services, and globalization, research libraries have been challenged to adapt in unprecedented ways. Some even question their ongoing importance.