Back to the Fifties?

Article excerpt

The Brooklyn (NY) Public Library evidently has a very progressive and energetic marketing and communication department, judging from all the communications I get from them, including numerous faxes. (Which, come to think of it, is probably a cheaper as well as faster way to send out stuff than the mail.)

One item I did receive in the mail from Brooklyn recently was their 1999-2000 annual report, which only took six months to get out, pretty good for a major library. The report, which is, produced cleverly with two covers, one back and one front, can be read either way. One way is titled "Taking Stock," the other, "Taking Flight." In "Taking Stock," the library reports increases in circulation, contributions, library card holders and program attendance, as well as their city appropriation. Altogether, Brooklyn spends about $100 million a year. Their circulation per capita is about average for major cities, but well below that of Queens Borough, their neighbor, probably for demographic reasons.

In the "Taking Flight" portion of the report, the report notes proudly the opening of their new Youth Wing at the central library, and shows a picture of the interior. I had a real deja vu experience, since the view reminds me of nothing so much as the NYPL branch library I interned in for a week or two while I was a student at Simmons College library school in 1951. …