Historical Timeline for the New York State Library

1818 The New York State Library (NYSL) is established, making it only the third state library in the country at the time. (The Ohio and Pennsylvania State Libraries were created in 1817 and 1816, respectively.) Originally located in the State Capitol, NYSL served mainly as a law and reference library for the use of legislators, judges, and state employees.
1844 NYSL comes under the direction of the New York State Board of Regents, which has broad oversight of education in New York.
1858 NYSL becomes a Federal Depository.
1871 NYSL becomes a Federal Patent Depository
1896 The New York State Legislature appropriates money to create a Library for the Blind, which provides embossed books to blind adults.
1888 Melvil Dewey (creator of the Dewey Decimal System for classifying books) is appointed Director of the State Library, a position he holds through 1906.
1904 NYSL becomes part of the newly-formed NYS Education Department.
1911 A fire in the Capitol destroys a large part of the State Library's collections on March 29, just weeks before the Library was to move from the Capitol to the newly-constructed Education Building.
1913 The Library reopens in the Education Building.
1931 The Library for the Blind becomes one of the original Regional Libraries in the Library of Congress' national program. "Talking" books on long-playing record are introduced. (1934?)
1974 The Library for the Blind is renamed the Library for the Blind and Visually Handicapped.
1978 In April, the Library completes its move into the new Cultural Education Center (part of the Empire State Plaza), which also houses the State Museum and the State Archives.

NYSL converts to an automated catalog.
1987 The New York State Newspaper Project is established.
1994 NYSL launches its first web site
The NYS Government Information Locator System (GILS) is established.
1995 The Library for the Blind and Visually Handicapped is renamed the Talking Book and Braille Library.


Last Updated: January 17, 2014