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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fun Finds

As some of you may know, the Central Children’s Room of the Donnell Library (of the New York Public Library system) is slated to leave the Donnell soon due to the fact that the building was sold.  As such, we’ve been doing a bit of housekeeping around here.  Think you can accumulate an odd amount of stuff in a short amount of time?  Try being a library where accumulation is considered a virtue rather than a vice.  My boss John Peters recently unearthed a veritable plethora of delights.  Here is what he has said in a recent email that he had found:

—-A page schedule from the early 1940s. Today’s pages might be grateful to learn that they no longer have to clean the inkwells.

—-  Pogo Primer For Parents (TV Division),  a 1961 pamphlet with art by Walt Kelly, filled with reassuring advice for parents worried about their children’s TV watching habits.

—-Memos indicating that the old Central Children’s Room also closed at the end of May in 1971  , and reopened (with Angeline Moscatt at the helm, Despina C. as First Assistant, a Reference Librarian and one and a half children’s librarians for professional staff) on December 8th. One hopes that we won’t take that long this time around.

—-  Picture postcards of the old Room.

—-A press photograph of Ed Koch doing a picture book storytime.

—-At least a dozen librarian examination booklets. Evidently in days of yore any specialty assignment or promotion hinged on a written exam. The questions aren’t no-brainers, either.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Monica Edinger says:

    Tell them about the smells chart!

  2. janeyolen says:

    Whose book is Ed Koch reading? It shoulda been one of mine! (Say with a NY accent.) My husband was his first campaign photographer. And though that campaign was unsuccessful in its attempt to unseat congressman Carmine deSapio, David did get a shot of Ed with Mrs. Roosevelt.


  3. I’ll check on the book. And yes, the Odor Tracking Chart! I’d forgotten to mention that. The 21 Club behind us tends to release the odors of its kitchen into our Reading Room from time to time. It’s always very random. In the past, employees of the library kept an Odor Tracking Chart to monitor the instances. Entries are sometimes very rote (“2:15 p.m. – Something burning) and other times oddly complex (“7:03 p.m. – Coq au vin with a side of fries and just a hint of joie de vivre”). We shall have to figure out what to do with it. A little bit of history, that.

  4. SLJ CHARNIZON says:

    It may be worth noting here that it was the owners of that same 21 Club who bought this building—so despite keeping track of the smells and filing legal complaints and all that, You Win Some And You Lose Some. —-John Peters

  5. your neighborhood librarian says:

    I used to give a Smells Tour of the natural history museum when I was Special Collections Mgr there. I’d take “something burning” over “mildew-plagued skins storage” any day.