Talk:New York Public Library

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RFC: Should the further reading section of this article be trimmed?[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
From WP:ANRFC; the proponents of the list imply that the list is encyclopedic. However, detractors of the list have policy (WP:NOT is cited) and guideline (WP:FURTHER) to support them, while the proponents offer no conflicting policy and guideline to support their case. There being a small number of people either way commenting, the list should be trimmed. (Note: the list was trimmed prior to closing at this page by another uninvolved editor.) --Izno (talk) 18:18, 17 December 2015 (UTC)

Should the "Further reading" section of this article contain 63 citations to other websites and sources? If not, should it be reduced in size? Epic Genius (talk) 19:30, 16 October 2015 (UTC)

Oppose. This article is about one of the world's major research libraries--which is famous for its guides. Having a good selection of them will help serious users and annoy no one interested in libraries. People not at all interested in research libraries will ignore this article in any case. Rjensen (talk) 19:40, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
Keep. It's one of the most important public institutions in the country and the world. - kosboot (talk) 19:47, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
Wait, so you both oppose the "Further reading" section of this article containing 63 citations? Epic Genius (talk) 20:17, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
@Kosboot: That is irrelevant to the number of citations.... Epic Genius (talk) 20:18, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
The RfC could have been worded to promote clarity. - kosboot (talk) 20:27, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for changing your vote appropriately. And yes, it is worded to be promoted clarity. "Should the 'Further reading' section of this article contain 63 citations to other websites and sources?" is a yes/no question, not a support/oppose ballot. Epic Genius (talk) 20:34, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
  • No, it should not include all 63 entries. The section should be reduced in size. The number of further reading should be reasonable (WP:FURTHER) and it is my opinion that 63 is not reasonable. Wikipedia is not a directory (see also documentation at Template:Further reading cleanup). Finnusertop (talk | guestbook | contribs) 11:12, 21 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Keep it It should be kept. Don't forget, Wikipedia is supposed to be encyclopedic, as editors we want to provide useful, legitimate, vetted information which researchers can use as a jumping-off place. Rule of thumb: More information is better than less. Also it should never be forgotten that Wikipedia guidelines are guidelines, they are not laws or rules that are set in stone. So guidelines that might otherwise suggest that fewer see-alsos or fewer external links can be set aside for good cause, and certainly the NY Public Library in all its glory rates as being a good cause. Damotclese (talk) 15:50, 21 October 2015 (UTC)
Not satisfied with a mere guideline? Here's a policy: WP:NOTREPOSITORY. Finnusertop (talk | guestbook | contribs) 04:53, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
Policies are "standards that all users should normally follow" (WP:POLICY); if we don't want to follow it here, we need to establish a strong case from some non-normal situation. I don't see it. Also, please bear in mind that Wikipedia is not a venue for supporting "good causes". Particularly, this applies to article space where WP:NPOV is one of the most fundamental policies; as far as article contents are concerned, Wikipedia does not acknowledge "good causes". Finnusertop (talk | guestbook | contribs) 13:36, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
  • It should be reduced tremendously. We are not, after all, a bibliography, which is what this section makes us. 63 is not reasonable. Cutting should start with the "Miscellaneous" section, which seems to be little more than just a collection of documents by the library and not even about the library; in other words, they could conceivably be listed as External links, but for that section they are also excessive and inappropriate, making us a repository of documents published by the topic of the article. The newspaper reports should be used to cite information in the article; that will serve the reader. And what purpose does the 1913 Catalogue of Books for the Blind in the Circulation Department serve? One assumes those documents and a host of others would be easily available from the library website itself, or from Google Books--at any rate, I don't see what a link to that document adds to this article. Likewise, there's a host of links (actually spread out over a few sections) to the library's Bulletin--those also are not appropriate, and if any editor thinks this is an important matter, they should simply write up Bulletin of the New York Public Library, and place a single (!) appropriate link to the archives there. Let me ping my two go-to librarians, DGG and LadyofShalott, to see what they think.

    But in general, no, we should not have such a "Further reading" list. Wikipedia:Further reading is an essay, but it's a valuable one, and its first sentence is clear enough: "The further reading section of an article contains a bulleted list, usually alphabetized, of a reasonable number of works which a reader may consult for additional and more detailed coverage of the subject of the article." Many of the works/sections do not add coverage of the the subject of the article--and the advice in WP:Further reading is perfectly in keeping with what WP:FURTHER, part of the MOS, suggests as well. Drmies (talk) 17:46, 11 December 2015 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

The New York Library has just released 187,000 images to the public domain[edit]

New York Public Library just released 187,000 images as public domain. see the collection page here. I think it should be linked in the article, but am not sure where ... Thanks. Golan's mom 15:28, 14 January 2016 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by אמא של גולן (talkcontribs)

Many of those images had already been available; they added the option of downloading them in hi-resolution. Since they indicate that this is part of a long-term strategy, I think it's worthwhile to place this announcement in context of their digital strategy and not as a single act. - kosboot (talk) 16:37, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Here's a nice consolidation of some of the photos from the dump, put together by Digg. Would it be worth adding this in somewhere? Maybe as an external link or a reference somewhere more specifically? Comatmebro User talk:Comatmebro 21:06, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
And if they do this every year (and they pretty much have been), should there be mention of every release each time they offer something like this? Later tonight I'll find an article that puts this release in perspective showing that the strategy is more important/significant than any individual release. - kosboot (talk) 22:55, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
if it's a yearly event, than definitely it should be mentioned that they are releasing images to public domain as an overall strategy. I am just not sure where in the article ... Golan's mom 15:03, 17 January 2016 (UTC)אמא של גולן
I've found the article which points to an aspect of the WP article which is seriously lacking: A paragraph devoted to NYPL Labs and how they direct all of NYPL's digital strategy. Here's the article (which also tries to put the current release in context),2817,2497905,00.asp and here's NYPL Lab's blog: and their minimal website: -- kosboot (talk) 18:18, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

A sentence that bothers me[edit]

Disclosure: I'm an NYPL employee (as it says on my profile page). I'm bothered by this sentence:

Several veteran librarians have retired, and the number of age-level specialists in the boroughs have been cut back.

The grammatical case of this sentence to me implies something ongoing--that veteran librarians are continuously retiring and that the cutting is going on continuously. This is wrong; this happened as result of the Financial crisis of 2007–08. In fact the number of staff have increased to over 3,000 as of March 2016. I'm not sure what "age-level specialists" means (young adult librarians?), but the wording I suggest is:

As a result of burdens brought on by the Financial crisis of 2007–08, the library offered buyouts to staff, resulting in decline in the numbers of staff throughout the system including a number of veteran librarians.

Of course, to find proper citations for this one has to look carefully, probably in Library Journal or Robin Pogrebin's articles in the NY Times. -kosboot (talk) 17:27, 1 April 2016 (UTC)


I should note that because the NYPL is going out of its way to publishing every single insignificant publication known to man, instead of publishing New York's fundamental laws for free on the Internet, as they are not copyrightable and of extreme importance, not only does the organization appear to me to be corrupt and untrustworthy, but it's also making it hard for most people to understand the basic governmental structure of NYPL. I would assume this is their goal, although I cannot discount extreme incompetence on their part. Plan accordingly.

It would think this subject of NYPL's origin has caught the intrigue of a number of people, especially in this context. I've noted the NYPL's complicated origin in the talk page section Ask the NYPL: What is the one book series everyone is expected to read (and know), but most no one is allowed to check out from the NYPL?

Note that, if you can actually read these laws, you would find that the New York Legislature granted the NYPL its charters, and regardless of any other charters by the Education Department, these charters created and govern the NYPL. You will also find that unlike the Brooklyn Public Library, nowhere does the Legislature consider the NYPL to be a "body politic and corporate" (Chapter 606, Laws of 1902), which is the way you say "government agency" in legalese. An easy way to understand this is that while a few members are selected by the NYC government, most board of trustees have been selected by the existing board of trustees all the way back to the beginning; it is not a government entity, but a self-perpetuating aristocracy. Please edit accordingly. int21h (talk · contribs · email) 06:27, 26 December 2016 (UTC)

You posted this argument last year and no one responded. So you're posting it this year and will probably get the same non-response. Did you ever think of approaching the appropriate staff and asking them to post that information? If NYPL was a public corporation (like the majority of public libraries) they would be under an obligation to post such information. But despite its name, NYPL is a private corporation. As with any private corporation, it is under no obligation to reveal information like this. All you can do is ask. - kosboot (talk) 16:10, 26 December 2016 (UTC)
Actually, I think someone has responded, but I think it best to have the discussion here. The point of this, again, is to elucidate on the origin and governance of NYPL. Now, I have spent the time to find the "reveal[ed] information" on Google Books (my "argument last year"), but I argue that NYPL, both in action and inaction, will stymie untold numbers of people from doing further fundamental research on anything politics, government or law, including the issue at hand, and that needs to be said.
The statutes that created the NYPL are only the beginning, they must be corroborated and synthesized and elucidated. I am a major editor on NY and NYC and other government articles, so I cannot spend so much time laying the groundwork on NYPL governance, which this article's major contributors have ignored (it's understandable), so I will speak my mind should the current major editors here be unable or unwilling. This isn't up to NYPL, this is up to us.
My involvement is because of edits to Government of New York City claiming NYPL to be a government agency--we have not established whether NYPL is a government agency or not, nor whether it is even a public library (it's been claimed that it's uniquely public and private in at least one source). While I think we intrinsically know that NYPL's government is a self-perpetuating aristocracy, that's not the standard for inclusion on Wikipedia. int21h (talk · contribs · email) 08:54, 27 December 2016 (UTC) Modified int21h (talk · contribs · email) 02:39, 14 January 2017 (UTC)
"self-perpetuating aristocracy" That is the current board picks the new members-- well that's the American system in philanthropy: it applies to the Rockefeller Foundation, to the Ford foundation, to Harvard University to Yale University and to your local private college. It's been the American intention to develop a very large powerful private philanthropic sector, of the sort that does not exist in other major countries. Rjensen (talk) 09:01, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
Well, that was more of a jibe, in the context that we need a source saying NYPL is a non-governmental (private) public library, or private trust, or just what the heck it is, and we don't have one. int21h (talk · contribs · email) 09:14, 27 December 2016 (UTC) int21h (talk · contribs · email) 09:16, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
Look, I am an employee of the place, and I know NYPL is a private corporation. (The "public-private" is articulated because NYPL receives about 50% of its operating funds for the branch libraries only from NYC.) Did you ever look at their tax returns? As with all non-profits they're freely available from Guidestar or similar websites. If NYPL was a government organization the documents you seek would have to be made available. But it's a private corporation so it's under no obligation to reveal such documents. - kosboot (talk) 03:00, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
Look at their auditor's report for Fiscal year 2016: I quote from page 8:

The Library is a private, not-for-profit educational corporation that provides certain free services to users on its facilities. Although the Library is not a govermental institution, ..." - kosboot (talk) 03:10, 28 December 2016 (UTC)

I look forward to your edits. int21h (talk · contribs · email) 04:46, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
Although I have done minor edits to this article, I try to stay away from it because, for me, editing this article would be a COI. - kosboot (talk) 13:28, 28 December 2016 (UTC)