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Our site provides you with information on The Friends’ projects, news and events, and the ”New York State Library News” newsletter. If you are curious about The Friends organization, be sure to check out the About Us and What We Do sections.
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-Catch it while you can: 7th Floor Exhibits
The New York State Library presents ”Dallas, 11/22/63: 50 Years Later” the latest exhibit in the glass cases on the 7th floor. The exhibit commemorates the 50th annivesary of the death of John F. Kennedy.
-New State Library Hours: Now in effect, the New York State Library opens Mon – Sat from 9:30 – 5; closed Sundays.
- New York State Library News:
EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it! The Friends have issued the latest New York State Library News newsletter for Summer 2013. Get it online or at the New York State Library today. Take a peek inside the latest issue:
-Legislators: $14 Million Goes to Libraries:Construction grants totaling $14 million were recently awarded to 79 public libraries in New York State.
-Letters From The Front: The New York State Library commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettyburg and the Battle of Vicksburg.
-Teacher Alert: Pros And Cons:Teachers have the opportunity to research the pros and cons of a host of hot button issues with the resources at the New York State Library.
-Exhibit Features Children’s Literature:The New York State Library presents the exhibit “New York Children Literature” on the 7th floor of the CEC.
-State Library Hours Change: The Library is now open from 9:30 to 5:30 everyday of the week but Sunday.
-State Library Staff Honored: NYLA/GIRT announces Cynthia Conway, federal documents librarian at the NYSL, as the rescipient of the 2013 Mildred Award.
-Be a Friend: Support the Library by becoming a member of the Friends of the New York State Library today!
-Seminar: The Dutch Revolt And New Netherland: The New Netherland Institute holds a seminar, ”The Dutch Revolt and New Netherland” at the New-York Historical Society in NYC.
Melvil Dewey and the Origins of the Dewey Decimal System
Melvil Dewey was an American librarian, who is best known for his invention of the Dewey Decimal System in library classification. Melville Louis Kossuth Dewey was born on December 10, 1851 in Adams Center, New York to Joel and Eliza Green Dewey. At the time of Dewey’s birth, his father was a supporter of the Hungarian patriot and statesman, Louis Kossuth, and so named his youngest son after him.
From a very young age, Dewey demonstrated precocious behaviors such as arranging the food items in his mother’s pantry by order of class and inducing his father to stop selling alcohol and tobacco in his general store, arguing that it wouldn’t make a significant difference in the total revenue, but his actual intent derived from his vehement detestation of the drugs. Young and apt Dewey was passionate about systematic learning which motivated him so much so that he trekked on an eleven mile hike to nearby Watertown to purchase his very own copy of Webster’s Dictionary. Growing up in a house with modest means, Dewey’s understanding of thrift and waste would make a lasting impression on his mindset and future in libraries.
In 1870, Dewey briefly attended AlfredUniversity before switching over to AmherstCollege, the school in which he would receive his Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degrees by 1877. While he was a student at Amherst, he became an ardent supporter of the European metric system, favoring the simple logic behind the decimal system and soon advocated for simplification in other areas, such as spelling reform. After undertaking the secretarial position of the Spelling Reform Association, he changed the spelling of his name to “Melvil,” and began writing letters in his version of the English language, arguing in one letter that the “English spelling is the wurst there is.” During his time with the Board of Regents, he went so far with spelling reform that he tried changing the spelling of his surname from “Dewey” to “Dui,” but the Board was reluctant to accept it. Still, Dewey left his mark on spelling reform in other ways, such as in the word “through” also spelled as ”thru.” An example of his influence in modern times can be seen in the name of the popular highway, the New York State Thruway.
As an undergraduate student he began working part-time at Amherst’s library, where he first developed an interest in systematizing the arrangement of their collections. The library lacked a classification system, causing the collections to be in random order and the pursuit of locating materials to be time consuming. Later, his visit to the New York State Library seemed only to reinforce his advocacy for a more efficient method of organizing library materials. He observed that the Library’s practices consisted of alphabetizing their collections without regard to subject differences. Although this method demonstrated more effort toward better organization practices for collections than Amherst’s library, Dewey would remain unimpressed by both libraries.
After visiting other libraries around New England and New York, he returned to work at Amherst’s library, where the library would undergo a drastic change in collection organization. One day during church, Dewey developed a system for subject classification in libraries. His system was called the Dewey Decimal System which consisted of nine main classes of subjects represented by a digit between 0 and 9. Each main class would then be divided into subclasses which would further be divided into more specific subject classes and so forth and etcetera. The decimal represented the division point of main classes and subclasses from the very specific subject classes. Since its inception, the Dewey Decimal System has played an integral role in organization management because it has enabled indefinite classification of any growing collection of library materials.
And so was born, Melvil Dewey’s famous and commonly used Dewey Decimal System. Learn more about the life and history of Melvil Dewey at the New York State Library.
Remembering John F. Kennedy
November 22, 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, (also known as JFK), the 35th president of the United States. At age 43, Kennedy was the youngest man and first Roman Catholic sworn into the presidential office, defeating Republican candidate and Vice President at the time, Richard Nixon in 1960.
Kennedy was born into a large Irish-American family on May 29, 1917. His parents, Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald, were from two of the wealthiest and most political families in the U.S. Kennedy followed in the footsteps of his family, studying political philosophy and graduating from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Science cum laude in International Affairs in 1940.
During World War II, Kennedy enlisted in the Army, but was not accepted due to a life-long medical condition he had with chronic lower back pains. In 1941, he joined the Navy instead and eventually earned himself the rank of lieutenant, commanding a patrol torpedo boat and the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his acts of heroism during his assigned duty in Panama and the Pacific theater. In 1945, he was honorably discharged and left the military decorated with several awards including the Purple Heart.
The American public soon acquainted themselves with the well-educated and military hero from Boston during his successful run for Congress in 1946 and for Senate in 1952. When Kennedy began work campaigning for the presidential office in 1960, he had well over a decade of experience in the political arena. In September and October of that election year, Kennedy appeared young and confident next to a rather nervous Richard Nixon during the first televised presidential debates in U.S. history. Still, the televised debates worked in his favor of helping his campaign and moving him ahead in the polls. On November 8, Kennedy would succeed President Eisenhower in the closet presidential election of the 20th century. Kennedy defeated Nixon by two-tenths of a percent (49.7% to 49.5%) in the popular vote and by 303 to 219 votes in the Electoral College, surpassing well-over the amount of 269 votes needed to win.
As president, Kennedy was hard at work toward a more prosperous nation by initiating domestic programs to fund education, medical care for the elderly and economic aid to rural regions through federal support. He assisted Martin Luther King, Jr. in his fight for civil equality, by signing Executive Order 11063 to prohibit racial discrimination in federally supported facilities and laid the groundwork for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He signed into law HR5173 (PL87-423) to abolish the federal death penalty and promoted the Apollo program that would land men on the moon for the first time in world history. In the wake of the Cold War, he confronted foreign tensions with many nations, including Cuba and the Soviet Union and staunched the growth of communism in South America and Vietnam.
John F. Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, TX was a tragedy heard around the world but his legacy remains an integral part of U.S. history for his accomplishments in social, civil, and foreign affairs.
In honor of John F. Kennedy’s memory, the New York State Library is showcasing “Dallas, 11/22/63: 50 Years Later,” an exhibit of that tragic day with newspapers, magazines, books, government documents, and political cartoons taken from the collections. See it November through December on the 7th floor of the Cultural Education Center.
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