Library Blog

Happy Birthday, Dear Library!

Friday, April 26, 2024

As of April 2024, the New York Society Library is "officially" 270 years old! I put the word "officially" in quotes here because the "official" founding depends on what date you count from - the first Board of Trustees meeting? The arrival of the first books for the collection? The first time someone checked out a book? Traditionally, we observe all those commemorations in April, around the time of our Annual Meeting of Shareholders - and of course we throw a party or two.

The Children's Library kicked off the celebrations with a delightful "Happy Birthday, Dear Library" event on April 10 that included kids enjoying mini cupcakes and playing pin-the-hands-on-the-grandfather-clock. They also made beautiful birthday cards for our beloved institution:

Grownups celebrated with a special Happy Hour on the evening of April 18. An especially elegant touch was added by a string quartet from The Juilliard School, whose services were generously supported by Alexander Sanger. They played Handel, J.C. Bach, and other favorites from the era of our founding. Petits-fours in spring colors and a delicious selection of wines and bubbly - graciously supplied by Muffy and Xavier Flouret - made for a splendid gathering.

If our 270th year has generated an interest in the Library's history, make sure to ask for your copy of our 250th anniversary softcover book at the circulation desk - we printed many of them for our celebrations back in 2004 and would love to have one in your personal collection, free of charge and available to members or nonmembers.

This anniversary spring included a poignant note, as we heard of the passing of former Head Librarian Mark Piel at the grand old age of 91. Mr. Piel was the heart and soul of this institution from 1978 to his retirement in 2005. You can read his initial notice in the New York Times here, as well as the Library's brief New York Times tribute to him here. If you knew Mr. Piel, add your memories to our archive - email with anything you'd like to include.











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