The State University of New York at Plattsburgh will host the 2009 Conference on New York State History, an annual meeting of academic and public historians, librarians and archivists, educators, publishers and other interested individuals who come together to discuss topics and issues related to the people of New York State in historical perspective and to share information and ideas regarding historical research, programming, and the networking of resources and services. The conference will be held June 4-6, 2009. [Read more…] about SUNY Plattsburgh to Host Conference on NY History
The Northeast Region’s New York City office announces the receipt of over 1,400 volumes of Civil War records previously held in Washington, DC. These volumes document arrested deserters, men enrolled for the draft, enlisted volunteers, and compiled statistics on the physical condition of recruits and military casualties for New York and New Jersey.
Record Group 110: Records of the Provost Marshal General’s Bureau (Civil War) will provide significant insight into the Civil War era for historians and for genealogists alike. The records cover New York (1861-1868) and New Jersey (1861-1868) and are arranged by draft board. The New York volumes consist of records from 31 districts, records for several state mustering points, and records of the Park and Broome Barracks of lower Manhattan. The New Jersey volumes consist of records from 5 districts, staff offices, and the Draft Rendezvous Station at Trenton.
While the detail within the records varies from district to district, they can be simply described as lists, reports, ledgers, and correspondence. Specifically, these records may include Registers of Enlistments, Substitutes, and Deserters; Descriptive Lists of Men Ordered To Report for Duty; Registers of Exemptions; Letters Regarding Medical Examinations of Draftees; and Letters Regarding Service. These series will include both those that served and those that didn’t serve in the military. Information about the individuals may include names, ages, occupations, physical and mental characteristics, birthplaces, and family relationships. Additionally, essential information concerning freedmen and the New York Draft Riots are included in several series.
The National Archives welcomes the general public, historians, genealogists, Civil War enthusiasts, and students to research these essential documents of our past. While the microfilm and online resources are available at all times, researchers are requested to make an appointment to use the original documents of Record Group 110.
The National Archives is open to the public Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 4:30 pm, and the first Saturday of each month 8:30 to 4 pm (computer and microfilm research only). The National Archives and Records Administration – New York office is located at 201 Varick Street, 12th Floor, New York, NY, 10014.
Record Group 110: Records of the Provost Marshal General’s Bureau (Civil War) from The National Archives Guide to Federal Records
Civil War Draft Records: Exemptions and Enrollments by Michael T. Meier, from the National Archives magazine Prologue
Twenty volumes of papers and correspondence of Sir William Johnson have been released in a revised second edition digital CD format by the New York State Library, which holds the papers. Johnson was British Superintendent of Indian Affairs in New York from 1755 through 1774. He is best remembered for his diplomatic achievements among the various Native American tribes and as a military leader during the French and Indian War. This set of primary documents dating from 1738 to 1808 provides a fascinating glimpse into the pre-Revolutionary interactions among the British, French, and Iroquois empires.
The Sir William Johnson Papers were originally published in 14 volumes of print, including a general index, from 1921 to 1965. Valuable for colonial research, the earliest six volumes have been out-of-print for years. The newly released CD is a revised and expanded second edition of an earlier CD released in 2007. It includes the complete 14 volume set along with the “Calendar of the Sir William Johnson manuscripts in the New York State Library” compiled by Richard E. Day in 1909. The
CD also features several enhancements, including: more than 100 newly digitized illustrations from the New York State Library collections; dozens of new color digital photographs of locations and scenes from the Mohawk Valley and Lake George appropriate to Johnson’s legacy, including Johnson Hall and Fort Johnson; improved accuracy of scans to nearly 98%; electronic indexing allowing simultaneous searching of the entire collection; and bibliographic consistency in volume and page numbering with printed volumes.
The CD is available from the New York State Library for $20. To purchase a copy, contact Aimee Pelton in Documents and Digital Collections via phone at (518) 474-7492 or email apelton-AT-mail-DOT-nysed-DOT-gov.
The Military Academy at West Point has launched an ambitious Center for Oral History to serve as a living archive on the experiences of American soldiers in war and peace. The Center aims to be a powerful learning tool for West Point cadets and an important research center for historians, as well as a destination for the public to gain greater understanding of the essential and unique calling of the U.S. soldier. The Center for Oral History will exist largely online, with high definition video and digital audio files, easing access for everyone from campus cadets to scholars, journalists and interested students half a world away. The New York History blog recently reported on the demise of the New York State Veterans Oral History Project at the New York State Military History Museum and Veterans Research Center in Saratoga Springs.
One of the Center’s first projects has been to interview members of West Point’s Class of 1967, who, upon graduation, were sent almost immediately to the war in Vietnam. Another has been to interview soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of a comprehensive, anecdotal account of those current campaigns. Researchers are also gathering material from veterans of World War II, Vietnam and the so-called “forgotten war” in Korea. By definition, the Center will be a work in perpetual progress, continuously updated as history unfolds.
The objective is to assemble an unrivaled video, audio and text record of military life – in the field, as well as in the classroom and also the “war room,” since the Center hopes to include interviews with senior Pentagon strategists and former Secretaries of Defense and State who have helped shape military and foreign policy. But its core mission is to capture the personal narratives of those who have lived the military life.
The Center has the benefit of a Board of Advisers composed of military scholars, journalists, government officials and filmmakers to help set its agenda, develop new projects and content, and assist with fund-raising.
In addition to a number of military historians from around the country, board members include Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Brent Scowcroft, a 1947 West Point graduate whose long government career included serving as National Security Advisor to Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush; Rick Atkinson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the Washington Post and author of several major accounts of American wars, including The Long Gray Line and An Army at Dawn; Martha Raddatz, longtime correspondent for ABC News, who covered the Pentagon for National Public Radio and authored The Long Road Home (2007), the account of a surprise attack on the Army’s First Calvary Division in Iraq; and Ken Burns, whose opus The Civil War heralded a new standard for multi-part documentaries, which he followed with Baseball, Jazz and The War.
Much of the credit for creating the Center goes to Col. Lance Betros, who took over as head of West Point’s history department in 2005 and marshaled resources to secure initial funding and recruited senior faculty to help develop some of the early content.
The Center will develop projects devoted to different aspects of soldiers’ lives – as well as different eras in soldiering. One of the highlights is that compilation of interviews with members of the West Point Class of 1967, young officers who entered active duty at a pivotal time in the Vietnam War and later returned to steer the Army’s course on behalf of a nation reeling from social unrest and political scandal. Other subjects expected to be tackled through the Center’s oral histories:
Wartime decisions of former Secretaries of Defense, State, and
the Army, along with key members of Congress; The place of religious faith in soldiers’ lives; Case studies on insurgency, bioterrorism, the surge in Iraq and other topical subjects of warfare based on cross-section; interviews with returning troops, military leaders and policy makers; the historic role of athletics among West Point cadets, through interviews with soldier-athletes and former coaches of the legendary Army football team and other sports teams, many of whose players went on to illustrious professional sports careers; retrospective views on World War I, the Civil War and other major American conflicts offered by visiting historians and West Point’s faculty; contemporary social changes as experienced at West
Point itself, through oral histories with the Academy’s former superintendents, deans, commandants, cadets, and others.
Also in the works are publishing and broadcasting projects based on the rich lode of content the Center gathers. Discussions are underway with the renowned Fred Friendly
Seminars, whose charged situational debates have been broadcast on PBS. Mr. Brewster is working to develop a Fred Friendly program at West Point to take on the subject of fighting insurgencies, bringing together a hypothetical cast of players ranging from the President and Secretary of Defense to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a policy maven and even a White House press officer.
In hoping to draw maximum traffic and general interest users in addition to scholars, the Center will utilize universal search technology so that anyone searching the web for primary source interviews with veterans and soldiers will see links to the West Point content. Like a true archive, the site will have virtual rooms and chapters dedicated to certain subjects and periods in military history, from the Civil War to Vietnam and Iraq. Links to other web sites offering veterans’ interviews will also be provided. The oral histories will be integrated into West Point’s own curriculum, so that professors can easily draw from interviews as part of their own course materials.
New York Heritage Digital Collections has added fourteen new digital collections to its cooperative site at newyorkheritage.org , including three from Queens College; two each from the Brooklyn Public Library, CUNY Graduate Center, Yeshiva University, and Brooklyn College; and one each from SUNY Maritime College, Lehman College, and Metropolitan New York Library Council. These collections total 3016 items, and represent a broad range of research interests, including Brooklyn Democratic Party Scrapbooks, Fulton Street Trade Cards, Murray Hill Collection, Sailors’ Snug Harbor Archives, Waterways of New York, Breslau Memorial and Prayer Book, and Bronx Business for Everybody collections.
NewYorkHeritage.org is a project of the NY3Rs Association, which uses OCLC’s CONTENTdm Multisite Server to bring previously digitized collections together, allowing researchers to search across all items simultaneously. This project provides free, online access to images of cultural and historical significance in New York State.
Participants in New York Heritage Digital Collections are committed to enhancing the site by adding both content and contributing institutions on a regular basis. The goal of the project is to eventually connect one thousand collections and one million items from throughout New York State. All institutions interested in participating in the project are encouraged to contact the 3Rs organization that serves their region.
The New York 3Rs Association is a partnership among New York’s nine reference and research resource systems. The New York 3Rs was incorporated in 2003 to further the ability of those systems to provide statewide services. The members of the New York 3Rs Association are: the Capital District Library Council, Central New York Library Resources Council, Long Island Library Resources Council, Metropolitan New York Library Council, Northern New York Library Network, Rochester Regional Library Council, Southeastern New York Library Resources Council, South Central Regional Library Council, and Western New York Library Resources Council.
There was an interesting story in USA Today recently by writer Anne Godlasky outlining some of the NYPL’s new media / live web / social marketing initiatives. Here’s a sample:
The New York Public Library quietly rolled out a new video series last month. Titled “Treasures,” it showcases 11 gems of the library’s vast collection of more than 50 million items.
And since then it has joined Facebook, broadening an online reach that already included YouTube and iTunes pages to gain more of an audience — which, for one of the world’s largest public libraries, includes “everybody from preschool toddlers to the greatest writers in the world,” says president Paul LeClerc.
Curators and administrators whittled a list of hundreds of ideas to record videos of the most “visually grabbing,” says director David Ferriero.
The library has made the videos available on its site, nypl.org, as well as on YouTube— where its photography piece is by far its most popular with more than 13,000 views. The video, “Knowing What to See” is the only one featuring current events: the drug trade in Afghanistan as photographed by Stephen Dupont.
Here is the complete text of testimony given November 19th by NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash at the New York State Assembly Public Hearing for the $132 million capital improvement spending plan for our parks and historic sites. A pdf of the Capital Plan presentation is located here. This page includes the initial announcement of the plan along with a Report to the Legislature and the Capital Projects List.
Thank you for inviting me here today to discuss our real success story of the past year — our capital initiative — “The Revitalization of New York State’s Parks and Historic Sites”.
I truly appreciate this opportunity to fully discuss our capital program, its economic significance, and the importance of our state parks in communities throughout the state.
The New York State Park system is made up of 178 parks and 35 historic sites encompassing 325,000 acres of lands and waters. The system is widely recognized as one of the best in the nation. Our parks and historic sites host more than 55 million visitors annually.
Our huge inventory of public recreational facilities includes 5,000 buildings, 29 golf courses, 53 swimming pools, 76 beaches, 27 marinas, 40 boat launching sites, 18 nature centers, 817 cabins, 8,355 campsites, more than 1,350 miles of trails, 106 dams, 640 bridges, hundreds of miles of roads, and dozens of historic structures listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.
Niagara Falls State Park, established in 1885, is the oldest state park in the nation, and Washington’s Headquarters, established in 1850, is the first publicly-owned state historic site. The Bethpage Black was the first publicly-owned golf course to host the U.S. Open Golf Championship in 2002. The 109th United States Open Championship will return to this world-class facility in June of next year.
In traveling to more than 150 of our state parks and historic sites across the state, I have seen first-hand some of the significant challenges facing our parks. In many parts of the state, I was able to share these experiences with members of the Assembly and to those legislators who were able to join me on these park visits, I offer a special thank you.
As a result of a thorough assessment of our system, we identified a backlog of critical capital project needs approaching $650 million.
How did a $650 million capital backlog come to be? Over the fifteen year period from 1992 through 2007, the state park system grew. Twenty-six new parks and 70,000 acres were acquired, representing a 25 percent increase in the system. But over this same period, the state parks’ capital budget was cut by 50 percent, adjusting for inflation. Cutting the capital budget by 50 percent, while expanding the system by 26 new parks, led to a predictable outcome – we are now faced with the challenge of addressing a large backlog of health and safety and park rehabilitation needs.
Fortunately, this year Governor Paterson and the Legislature, with the support of Speaker Silver and Chairmen Englebright and Sweeney, responded to this challenge. The current year FY2008-09 state budget created a new State Parks Capital Initiative. This initiative, coupled with other funds OPRHP secured from federal, state, and private sources, enabled the agency to launch a program to revitalize the state park system totaling more than $100 million.
OPRHP’s $100 million capital investment is delivering tangible, on-the-ground benefits to the residents of New York State. Last week, I submitted a six-month update report to the Legislature on the status of State Park’s Capital Program. The agency has initiated more than 150 capital construction projects to remedy the health and safety issues and rehabilitate deteriorated facilities in State Parks and Historic Sites across the state—addressing health and safety concerns, and providing safe and affordable recreational and educational experiences for millions of New Yorkers.
Of the total $95 million State Parks Capital Initiative appropriation, $75.5 million was allocated to OPRHP. As charged by the Governor and the Legislature, we aggressively set out to efficiently spend these dollars. As of today –seven months later – OPRHP has spent or encumbered 96 percent of the $75.5 million.
Let me repeat, in just seven months through the fiscal year, we have spent or have under contract $72.5 million of the $75.5 million provided to the agency this year – and we have initiated bidding and contract awards for the remaining $3 million.
The agency is on track to encumber the entire $75.5 million by March 31, 2009, and the visiting public will see some noticeable improvements to our state parks during next year’s summer operating season. And, we are ready to begin construction on the next installment of new projects for the next fiscal year, spurring even more economic activity in communities throughout the state.
These capital investments will not only improve the parks and protect the state’s investments in irreplaceable public assets, but they also support the equivalent of 1,000 full-time private sector construction and engineering jobs which bolster the state’s economy in these very difficult times. Due to the nature of construction jobs, this equivalent reflects thousands of actual, on-site workers for various periods of time. The nature and scope of agency’s capital work also makes the projects ideal for small to medium-sized construction firms, businesses that will be most impacted by the economic downturn.
Here are some examples of revitalization projects made possible by this year’s State Parks Capital Initiative.
Four Mile Creek State Park Comfort Station Renovations.
At Four Mile Creek in Niagara County, we are providing park patrons with a new, updated comfort station. The new building features several “green” components including water saving fixtures and skylights, and is fully accessible.
Letchworth State Park.
Roads throughout Letchworth were repaired and repaved, and several public parking areas were resurfaced – addressing critical but long-deferred park infrastructure needs. Other projects initiated at the park this year include waterline improvements and construction of a new washhouse to serve campers. Camping at the park was booked to capacity for most of the summer. About an hour’s drive south of Rochester, Letchworth is a popular and significant tourist attraction in the Genesee region of the state, hosting about 750,000 visitors each year.
The large Peerless Pool complex, including the fully accessible main pool, slide pool, and toddler pool, were rehabilitated. A new pool liner was installed to improve durability and eliminate water leakage. In addition, a number of the park’s roads, parking areas, bike paths, and walking trails were resurfaced. The spa park attracts 1.7 million visitors annually.
Last year, we showed you pictures of severely deteriorating cabins at this park. This past summer, we initiated phase one of the cabin loop restoration project that will rehabilitate deteriorated public rental cabins throughout the park, which has 424 campsites and 375 cabins spread throughout its 65,000 acres. Allegany is a top destination for campers, hikers, and nature lovers.
This bathhouse provided another of last year’s memorable “uglies”. Capital projects completed using this year’s funding include the rehabilitation of bathhouse and pool fencing. FDR State Park, located in Westchester County, draws 570,000 visitors annually. (Here we are viewing some of the ongoing work with members of the local Assembly delegation)
Following a news conference attended by local Assembly members and Senators this summer, State Parks broke ground on a new $2.3 million bathhouse at the swimming beach in this popular park, located near Syracuse. The new bathhouse will incorporate green technologies, as well as current building code and accessibility standards, and will be open to the public for next summer. The park hosts 850,000 visitors annually.
This past summer, we celebrated the 15th anniversary of Riverbank state park community supporters and local state representatives. As part of our capital initiative, we are replacing the traffic circle roadway which provides the park’s main entrance for vehicles, including public buses. In addition to the traffic circle, the agency is in the process of letting contracts to rehabilitate failing roofs and HVAC systems, and has initiated other upgrades including rehabilitation of irrigation lines and the replacement of more than 100 trees donated by the
Brentwood State Park-Park Development.
Construction has begun at Brentwood State Park in Suffolk County, a major athletic complex that will provide greatly needed playing fields in this underserved area. This first phase of construction, which includes sixteen soccer fields and four baseball fields, is slated to open in the summer of 2009. The park will serve thousands of children in a community that has been very much in need of recreational facilities.
By any measure, the State Parks Revitalization Initiative is off to a solid start. However, contrasted against a capital backlog of $650 million, much more work remains to be done. As I outlined last year, the bulk of OPRHP’s capital needs fall into two categories:
Health and Safety Projects.
The state parks continue to face a number of health and safety issues. We have outdated drinking water systems that need to be replaced. We have aging sewage treatment systems that have exceeded their useful life; dams on the state’s “high hazard” list that do not meet modern dam safety standards, and bridges that have been flagged as potential hazards. We have failing electrical systems and landfills that, although inactive for many years, were never closed to DEC standards.
This category is by far the largest, comprising approximately two-thirds of OPHRP’s total identified capital needs. It encompasses capital rehabilitation of existing infrastructure in the parks and historic sites – replacing facilities that have long exceeded their practical and operational effectiveness and are in various stages of disrepair, including roofs, heating and plumbing systems, visitor centers, bathrooms, campgrounds, shower buildings, picnic shelters, recreation fields, pools, swimming pools, bathhouses, nature centers, roads, parking areas, hiking trails, and maintenance centers.
We understand that decisions about next year’s investment in our state parks need to be made in the context of the unprecedented fiscal picture facing New York State. Like all state agencies, we are reducing operating expenses and focusing on the agency’s core mission and priorities. Nonetheless, I believe that, even in this time of fiscal difficulty, continued funding for New York’s State Parks’ capital program is a smart financial investment. The State Parks Capital Program has and can continue to deliver:
Safe and Affordable Parks
Visitation at parks was very strong this summer and, given the challenging financial outlook facing millions of New Yorkers, we expect continued heavy public demand next year for our campgrounds, cabins, picnic and swimming areas, lakes and ocean beaches, and other recreational facilities.
Revitalized State Parks and Historic Sites directly support recreational tourism, which is one of New York’s largest industries. To grow our tourism industry, we need to make sure that these visitors have high-quality experiences, so that they will return in the future and tell others to do the same.
Parks provide a place for New Yorkers of all ages to and exercise and play. By investing is safe and attractive facilities, the initiative is part of a comprehensive state strategy to promote public health and wellness, particularly among children and underserved communities.
This year, OPRHP has proven our ability to quickly and efficiently put the State Parks Capital Initiative Funds to work – creating jobs and investing in tangible, lasting improvements to our public facilities. I hope that we are able to continue our momentum on this initiative, within the confines of what is affordable in the overall state budget.
In closing, I would like to thank you for your support of New York’s State Park System. As I have traveled the state over the past two years – from Long Island’s magnificent ocean beach parks, to our urban parks in New York City, to our hundreds of facilities across upstate New York – I have received universal support for the parks from our state’s elected officials. Supporting our parks is a sound investment in the future of our state, and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is committed to continuing to make wise use of this investment in the future.
Thank you. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.
The Hudson Valley Press Online is reporting on plans to mark the 225th anniversary of the evacuation of British troops on November 25, 2008 by lighting a series of five local beacons that “replicate the original signal locations used by the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.” The plan is a project of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, Scenic Hudson, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Palisades Parks Conservancy, and the Palisades Interstate Park Commission:
These vital systems summoned the militia in both New York and in neighboring New Jersey and warned residents of the approaching British Redcoats. The types of beacons varied from tar barrels on top of poles, to pyramids, to wooden towers filled with dried grass or hay that could be ignited. The beacons enabled quick and effective communication with troops throughout the lower Hudson River Valley.
Instead of lighting fires, Palisades, the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, and Scenic Hudson will create a symbolic Xenon light display that will light up Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area from Bear Mountain State Park to Beacon. This project is also part of the larger interstate effort with national heritage area partners in New Jersey, the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area. Six additional Beacons will be lit in New Jersey. The total project area will stretch from Princeton, NJ to Beacon, NY.
The five locations will include:
Bear Mountain State Park, Bear Mountain, NY
Storm King Mountain State Park, Cornwall, NY
Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site, Newburgh, NY
Scenic Hudson’s Mount Beacon, Beacon, NY
Scenic Hudson’s Spy Rock (Snake Hill), New Windsor, NY
While we’re at it, here is a story about Saturday’s relighting of the lamp on top of the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument in Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn. It has been for 87 years and commemorates those who died in the British Prison ships in New York Harbor during the American Revolution.
The New York State Library has announced the availability of grants for research in New York State history. The Cunningham Research Residency Program was established to benefit scholars using the unique collections of the New York State Library to study the history and culture of New York. The New Netherland Institute and the Library will also make a Quinn-Library grant for specialized research in Dutch-related documents and printed materials at the New York State Library. Four Cunningham residencies ($1,000) and at least one Quinn fellowship ($2,500) will be awarded in 2009.
The Anna K. and Mary E. Cunningham Trust Fund
Funds for the research residencies are provided by a trust fund endowment created by a bequest from the estate of Anna K. Cunningham on behalf of her sister, Mary, and herself. It is a fitting celebration of the sisters’ lifelong interest in the study of New York State history. Anna Cunningham (1906-1996) was Supervisor of Historic Sites of New York State, as well as serving on the boards and councils of many state and national historic preservation organizations. Mary Cunningham (1917-1986), whose personal papers are among the collections of the State Library, held various executive positions in the New York State Historical Association, was a founder and the first editor of American Heritage magazine, and was a founder of the Yorkers program for teaching and involving young New Yorkers in the State’s history.
Quinn-Library Research Residency For 2009
Through generous support from the Doris Quinn Foundation, the New Netherland Institute (www.nnp.org) and the New York State Library will make a special Cunningham grant of $2500 in 2009 for specialized research in Dutch-related documents and printed materials at the New York State Library. Researchers interested in the history of New Netherland and the Dutch Colonial Atlantic world are encouraged to apply for these funds.
Eligibility requirements and application information are available online here.
State Education Commissioner Richard Mills said, “We live in an age of information, and libraries play a critical role in providing us with access to that information. They are vital to our economy and our communities. They promote literacy and lifelong learning. And in these trying economic times, they are vital to people seeking information about jobs. I am thrilled that the Regents have appointed a dynamic and innovative person like Mr. Margolis to serve in the critically important position of State Librarian.”
The New York State Library provides information and library services through its Research Library and the Division of Library Development. Mr. Margolis will have oversight responsibility for a $13.4 million operating budget, 180 employees, over 20 million collection items and nearly $100 million in State and federal aid to libraries.
One of the largest research libraries in North America, the New York State Research Library is the only state library which is a member of the Association of Research Libraries. The Library’s holdings include a significant manuscript and rare book collection, as well as holdings in a wide variety of formats, including paper, microform, digital and electronic records. It is also a Federal Depository and Patent Library; has the responsibility for the acquisition, distribution and maintenance of New York State documents; and is a regional library for the blind and visually impaired in New York’s 55 upstate counties.
The Division of Library Development provides leadership and technical assistance to New York’s 73 library systems through a comprehensive program of State aid for public, school, academic and special library services. Staff experts work with librarians, trustees, school administrators, public officials and local leaders to solve problems and find new ways of making library services and resources available to their community. Library Development administers more than $100 million in State and federal aid to New York’s libraries and helps them to take full advantage of federal and private funding programs like E-rate telecommunications discounts and Gates Library Foundation grants.
Mr. Margolis served as the President of Boston Public Library (BPL), Boston, Massachusetts, from 1997 to 2008. BPL is the oldest municipal public library in the country, with 27 neighborhood branches. The Library’s collections of over 34 million items include the library of President John Adams, Shakespeare’s first folio, Gutenberg’s Catholicon, and many other unique and rare materials. BPL is a member of the Association of Research Libraries.
Mr. Margolis’s achievements as BPL president include expansion of branch library hours; appointment of a children’s librarian in every branch; creation of a nationally recognized Homework Assistance Program and online tutoring program; implementation of Reading Readiness to prepare preschoolers for school success; creation of local history centers in eight branch libraries; creation of the award-winning Norman B. Leventhal Map Center; development of a collection conservation program; and growth of the BPL’s trust funds from $37 million to $55 million. Under Mr. Margolis’s leadership, BPL secured $7 million of direct grants and $18 million in federal funds for technology improvements and many foundation grants, designated gift funds, and major bequests.
Mr. Margolis led the effort to restore and renovate the historic central library building, securing funding from a number of sources. He worked with the City of Boston to establish a critical repair fund, allowing BPL to address building and equipment repairs in a timely manner. BPL collaborated with other cultural institutions and more than 4,500 different community groups and organizations.
Mr. Margolis holds a BA in Political Science and an MA in Librarianship, both from the University of Denver. His library experience includes management and executive positions in libraries and library systems in Colorado and Michigan. Prior to moving to Boston, he served as Director/CEO of the Pikes Peak Library District in Colorado Springs (from 1988 to 1997).
Mr. Margolis’s service includes a number of elected positions within the American Library Association, leadership in the Association of Research Libraries, service as a professional delegate to the White House Conference on Libraries, and service on the boards of library organizations in Massachusetts, Colorado, and Michigan. He has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Library Administration and Bottom Line: The Magazine of Library Financial Management. He has contributed to several books and has published articles in American Libraries, Public Libraries, and Library Journal.