Friends of the New York State Library | New York State Library News

New York
State Library News

For the People, the Government and the Libraries of New York State
Summer 2004


You can now access the full text of over 13,000 publications issued by New York State agencies on your computer. Our State Publications Digital Collection enables you to choose from about one million images that look just like look in their printed versions of publications. For more information about this new service, go to or email


You don't need to leave your hometown to use the State Library's collection of historic New York State newspapers. You can access this microfilmed collection through Interlibrary Loan at your local Library. A bright new poster trumpeting this boon to researchers is being distributed to libraries throughout the State. The poster was made possible by Assemblyman John J. McEneny and the Friends of the New York State Newspaper Project.


Send comments and questions about the New York State Library and its newsletter to Mary Redmond


[The print version included a photo of Penny Adalian and Morris Stilson, State Library staff, admiring an exhibit at the entrance of the renovated reading room, on the 11th floor, of the Cultural Education Center.]

Researchers rejoice! Renovation of the 11th floor of the Cultural Education Center is just about complete. The official opening of this grand new space shared by the State Library's Manuscripts and Special Collections Unit and the State Archives will be Saturday, November 20. The enlarged public research room includes a separate place for use of original materials and an expanded microform area. Changes in non-public areas are even more impressive. The $7.5 million renovation includes a new laboratory for conservation of deteriorating State Library and State Archives materials. The heating ventilation and air conditioning system provides environmentally controlled storage space for approximately 85,000 cubic feet of records, mostly on compact moveable shelves. "I'm looking forward to using this state-of-the-art laboratory," says James Lane, Associate Librarian in Preservation. "With this great advance in our capabilities, State Library staff can increase their contribution to the preservation of our heritage."

"It will be wonderful to move from the temporary third floor space we have been using since 2001 while the work was being done on the 11th floor," says Kathi Stanley, Associate Librarian in Manuscripts and Special Collections. "The small size of the third floor facility was difficult for staff and researchers --- though one unanticipated benefit of the cramped third floor Research Room was increased integration of the Archives and Library reference services. This boon to our patrons will continue on the 11th floor, where archivists and librarians on duty will share the Reference Desk."

The public opening events on Saturday, November 20 from 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. will feature tours plus visits to stations describing the work of the Library and Archives (genealogy/local history, electronic resources, and collections).


In addition to the programs centered on the opening of Manuscripts and Special Collections new 11th floor space, the Library is featuring many other exciting events:

o History lives in newspapers. How to find what you want from the great fund of information in the State Library's newspaper collections will be featured in a class featuring the State Library's Librarians Room, 7th floor of the Cultural Education Center, November 22, 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. The collection of newspapers from communities throughout the State dates back to 1725, plus some from other State and even a few from other countries. To register, e-mail <> or call (518) 474-2274.

o Singing Sessions. People continue to gather on the third floor of the Cultural Education Center, 12 noon to 2 p.m. on the last Wednesday of each month, to sing songs from the State library's extraordinary sheet music collection. All are welcome.

o His Excellency: George Washington. Author Joseph Ellis reads from his new book on our "nearly crowned" first President at the Clark Auditorium, Cultural Education Center, December 2 at 8:00 p.m. Cosponsored by the New York State Writers Institute, the New York State Library, and the Friends of the New York State Library.


New York State Library News is produced by The Friends of the New York State Library and the New York State Library to inform New Yorkers about collections and services of their State Library.

Editor: Miriam S. Soffer

This newsletter is not published at State expense.

Visit the State Library's Web Site

Search Excelsior, the online catalog of our holdings and access national and regional databases. Use the State Library Web site to:

And Much More

Instructions for reaching these sites are available at:

If you don't have Web access from your computer, dial into our catalog at
(518) 474-9851. For more information, call
(518) 474-0719 or e-mail:


Recently retired State Library staff members Marilyn Douglas and James Farrell were honored at the 2004 New York Library Association (NYLA) Annual Conference. Farrell received the New York State Association of Library Boards Velma K. Moore Award, which honors library staff or volunteers who make things significantly better or more effective for libraries. Douglas was awarded the SMART (Section Management of Resources and Technology) Ellen C. Rappaport Award for Professional Achievement. The NYLA Council also passed a resolution commemorating her services to the library community of New York State.

Among her many achievements during her 40-year career, Marilyn Douglas led planning efforts for the multifaceted New York Online Virtual Electronic Library (NOVEL). James Farrell is an expert in library law and governance, and has worked tirelessly in trustee education, public library construction, and other areas.


We want to express our deep appreciation to those who gave $50 or more to the Friends of the New York State Library. Your contributions are of major significance in sustaining the vital activities of the State Library and the Friends.

Bernadette M. Ambrose
Joan and Roberet Barron
Senator Hugh T. Farley
Constance R. Alesse
Jeffrey W. Cannell
James Corsaro
William De Alleaume
Beth Eisman
Mary Elizabeth Jones
Mildred M. Ledden
Maxine and Wendel Lorang
Rgan McDonnell
Sara Harris
Liz Lane
George Martin
Robert McDonnell
James R. Miller
Pearse Murray
JoAnn and Zeb Robbins, Jr.
Steven Schreiber
Jack G. Shufelt
Lee Stanton
Robert P. Stewart
Peter Paulson
Mary Redmond
Joseph F. Shubert
David B. Smingler
Julie S. Steitz
Janet Wood
Laura-Eve Moss
Ellen McHale, Ph.D.
Anne K. Goodwill
Diana Waite
John and Elinor Paris
Jean G. Burns
Raymond Blanchard
Arthur L. Stienstra
Jean Sheviak
Kathleen Condon
Jerome Yavarkovsky
Clesson and Jean Bush
Joseph F. Shubert
Norman S. Rice
Nancy Johnsen Curran


The Governor recently signed a bill that continues funding for State Library and other Cultural Education programs through surcharges on fees collected (for filing deeds, etc.) by county government. Until legislation passed in 2002, State taxes financed State Library programs. The current system will now continue indefinitely.

The State Legislature did not override the Governor's 5 percent cut in statewide library aid in the fiscal year 2004-2005. This translates into a loss to New York's libraries of $4.4 million during the current fiscal year.


Join the Friends of the New York State Library. In addition to the deep satisfactions of preserving your heritage and sustaining a world-renowned public research library, you can obtain special discounts at local bookstores. Select:

0 Sustaining Membership. $25. Receive discounts at three book shops: 20% at Borders Books & Music in Colonie, a one-time 20% discount at the Book House in Stuyvesant Plaza, and 25% off one purchase at the Open Door Bookstore in Schenectady.

O Contributing Membership. $50 or more. Receive all of the above plus recognition in New York State Library News.

Every Friend also receives:

O Free admission to the Friends Annual Meeting featuring a talk by an author of a recently published book.

O Invitations to other stimulating programs at the State Library.

O A subscription to the New York State Library News, an illustrated quarterly newsletter.

O Remote access to Health Reference Center-Academic, a database for health and medicine.

To join Friends of the New York State Library, complete the form below and mail it with your check.

New York State Library News

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Make checks payable to Friends of the New York State Library and mail to Treasurer, Friends of the New York State Library, PO Box 2247 Empire Plaza Station, Albany, NY 12220


photo of Dr. Charles Gehring
Dr. Charles Gehring

"I was astonished," said Charles Gehring, the one and only Director of the New Netherland Project at the State Library. "We had just finished dinner at a 1996 Friends of New Netherland meeting on the Terrace Gallery of the Cultural Education Center. Tjaco van den Hout, Consul General of the Netherlands, presented an award to me - the order of Orange Nassau - on behalf of Queen Beatrix, Queen of the Netherlands and the Commander of the Order of Orange Nassau." Gehring was cited because of "his two-decade effort to make the public aware of its unique Dutch heritage through translations and public outreach programs." The award, which must be returned when the recipient dies, is rarely given to anyone who is not Dutch. But then, Charles Gehring, who has directed the Project with total dedication and good humor, is a rare individual.

"The Project was established in September of 1974 to translate the Archives of New Netherland," explained Gehring. "It started with discretionary money under Governor Malcom Wilson, who was contacted by Vice President Nelson Rockefeller at t he behest of Ralph DeGroff, Sr., a trustee of the Holland Society in New York City." Housed in the State Archives, the Archives of New Netherland include 12,000 pages of documents dating from 1638 to 1664 when the English took over, plus additions from the Dutch Restoration in 1673-1674. "Peter Christoph, head of the Library's Manuscripts and History Section, knew I was using the documents for my dissertation about the Dutch influence on the Mohawk Valley and guessed right when he thought I would be interested in directing the Project."

Through Gehring's imaginative administration, the Project continues to flourish. Under his leadership, the New Netherland Institute was established in 2003 to administer all of the Program's programs excepting the translation. The concept of an Institute connotes permanence much more than the Project does. We want to indicate to the public that our mission to disseminate knowledge about he Dutch experience in the New World will continue long after the translation project is completed. Major Programs the Institute administers include: the annual Rensselaerswijck Seminar, first held in 1979; the Hendriks Awards Program, which gives $2,000 to the author of the best published or unpublished book length manuscript relating to Dutch colonial experience in North America. The Friends of New Netherland, a support group which helps in fundraising and sponsoring special events was found in 1986.

Papers delivered at the seminars, along with books such as Russell Shorto's The Island at the Center of the World and Janny Venema's Beverwyck: A Dutch Village on the American Frontier 1652-1664, and the many Doctoral and Master's dissertations drawing upon the Project's translations, illuminate dark corners of our nation's early years and offer previously unexplored perspectives.


Mary Redmond and author Ron Chernow in front of the New York booth.
State Library Interim Director Mary Redmond and author Ron Chernow celebrate reading.

The New York State Library table was bustling with visitors at the 2004 National Book Festival held October 9 in Washington, D.C. Along with participation from libraries throughout the nation, this fourth annual celebration of books and the joy of reading featured over 70 authors who spoke about their works and what inspired them to write.

New York State Library News
New York State Library
N.Y.S. Education Department
Albany, NY 12230

State Library Hours
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9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, call
(518) 474-5355 or e-mail

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