Welcome to the Friends of the New York State Library website.

We are a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to supporting the New York State Library through public education and advocacy.

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.

We hope you’ll join us in our mission to strengthen library services for the people of New York State. Become a member today and help support our State Library. Also, show your support by liking us on Facebook.


The Friends will be launching a new website in the Fall of 2014.

Check back soon!

Past Events:

150 Years of Racing in Saratoga

Robert Allan Carter, former law librarian at the New York State Library for thirty years and current historian at the National Museum of Racing, will share stories from his 2013 book 150 Years of Racing in Saratoga: Little-Known Stories and Facts from America’s Most Historic Racing City in preparation for the upcoming Saratoga racing season.

From Amsterdam to Albany:  An Address by Russell Shorto

Russell Shorto, the 2013 New Netherland Research Center Senior Scholar and author of The Island at the Center of the World and Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City, as well as other acclaimed works, will talk about Dutch cultural heritage from Amsterdam and its influence on Albany, New York.

The talk will be followed by a signing of his most recent book Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City, named one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2013 and described as “an expertly told history of a city of new, shocking freedoms and the tough-minded people that developed them.” Copies of the book will be available for sale.

Russell Shorto’s research with the New Netherland Research center has focused on following several families from New Netherland though early American history and exploring their paths during the American Revolution. He is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and former Director of the John Adams Institute in Amsterdam. Mr. Shorto’s books have won several literary prizes including the New York City Book Award, the Washington Irving Prize, and the New York Public Library Award. In 2009 he received a knighthood from the Dutch government for advancing Dutch-American Relations.

Missed the program? View the lecture here:

View on Vimeo


Current News:

- Catch it while you can: 7th Floor Exhibits
The New York State Library presents rotating exhibits in the glass cases on the 7th floor of the Cultural Education Center. The exhibits include a variety of books, images, recordings and sheet music from the State Library’s diverse collections.

- Press Releases: The Capital Region’s popular and highly circulating newspaper, Times Union, published an article on the Friends program “Bobsledding: An Albany Invention.” Read it here to learn more about the history of bobsledding in Albany. And, if you’re still eager to learn even more about Albany’s claim to the popular winter sport, check out All Over Albany’s blog on this topic.

Couldn’t make it to the program? No problem at all, the Friends recorded it for all the members, friends, and interested parties who couldn’t make it. Enjoy!

Christopher Lindsay speaks at the Fort Orange Club on February 8th about his research on bobsledding in Albany:

Friends of the NY State Library on Vimeo.


New York State Library News:

EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it! The Friends have issued the latest New York State Library News newsletter! Get it online or at the New York State Library today.



From the NYSL Friends Blog:

Bennett Alfred Cerf

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons


Bennett Alfred Cerf was born to lithographer, Gustav Cerf and heiress, Frederika Wise on May 25, 1898 in New York, New York. He grew up in Washington Heights, alongside future business partner, Donald Klopfer and famous playwright, Howard Dietz. Cerf received his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Columbia University in 1920. Shortly after graduation, he worked as a reporter for the New York Tribune and for a Wall Street brokerage firm.

In 1925, Cerf and childhood friend, Donald Klopfer, formed a business partnership, purchasing the rights to the American publishing company, Modern Library. In 1927, they changed the name of the company to Random House and began selling general trade books. Popular artist and college classmate, Rockwell Kent, designed the logo that exhibits a little house. Read more at the NYSL Friends blog.


Visit the New York State Library Mon-Sat from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.




Just for you, here’s a throwback program from yesteryear at the New York State Library. Glenn Hankle Speaks at the New York State Library in April 2012:


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