“This crucial institution is being neglected just when we need it the most. Libraries are an example of what I call ‘social infrastructure’: the physical spaces and organizations that shape the way people interact . . . . places where people with different backgrounds, passions and interests can take part in a living democratic culture. They are the kinds of places where the public, private and philanthropic sectors can work together to reach for something higher than the bottom line.”
—Eric Klinenberg, professor of sociology and the director of the
Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University,
as published in the Opinion page of The New York Times
The New Rochelle Public Library Foundation is turning 25! As we look back at what the Library was like 25 year ago, it was a vastly different place. There were just a handful of computers, perched atop the Dewey decimal system card catalogs and library patrons mostly came to our doors in search of books. The Library budget was stripped to barebones, making it difficult to purchase even books and periodicals, no less to update the facility and its resources.
How times have changed! And the Foundation is gratified to have played a substantial role in meeting the ongoing challenges that societal change and innovation bring.
We couldn’t have imagined then, the explosion of technology nor the expanded roles the Library would play in our community. There was no Business Opportunity Center providing help with résumé building and online job searches. No e-books, audio books or online learning resources that could be accessed straight from the comfort of home. No Ossie Davis Theater nor Bliss Music Center, equipped with state-of-the-arts AV technology. Nor were computers helping children learn to read or enjoy any number of educational games in our Children’s Room. Smart Boards, that we now rely on for teaching ESL and other skills in our Educational Classroom, were not yet invented … and no one had any concept of Digital Media Education or what that even means.
As the NRPL Foundation celebrates its 25th Anniversary Year, we thank you for believing in our mission and helping us to meet these ever-changing challenges. Our mission — keeping the Library vibrant and up-to-date and fully equipped to meet the constantly changing needs of our diverse community — has not and will not change. But what the future holds is anyone’s guess.
We do know that Libraries will continue to play a vital role as highly-utilized community centers in communities. And we can be sure that there will be trends and innovation that are beyond the scope of what we can now imagine.
Please come along on this adventure with us, and help us ensure we are prepared for the future: The future needs of our community… the future services that patrons will expect … the future physical resources that will be required.
Help us to REIMAGINE the future as it unfolds; to stay vibrant, vital and equipped. Help us be the best possible Library we can be.
On this milestone occasion, we sincerely hope you will join the Foundation Board in celebrating our achievements as we forge into the future.