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New York State Library Statement on Harmful Language

New York State Library (NYSL) aims to describe its collections in a manner respectful to those who created the collections, those depicted in the collections, and those who may use the collections.

However, you may encounter outdated and/or harmful language in our collections, finding aids, and catalog records for a number of reasons, including but not limited to:

  • The NYSL was created in 1818. Items in the collection may reflect language that was commonly used at the time they were created, acquired, and/or described.
  • We use Library of Congress Subject Headings controlled vocabulary to describe our collections, and some terms may be outdated.
  • In Manuscripts and Special Collections, we sometimes preserve language used by collectors or in collections in the interest of context.

If you encounter language in our finding aids, catalog records, digital collections or elsewhere that you find harmful or offensive or have questions about the statement above, we ask that you contact us at

Last Updated: March 3, 2022