- Snow Train Trip Down Memory Lane
- A Plan to Privatize SUNY?
- Fire at Adirondack Great Camp
- New Brooklyn Collection Teacher’s Guide
- Google Earth and Civil War Battlefields
- 9-11 Memorial Plaza Above, Museum Below
- Gloversville Historic Church Demolition
- Escaped Slave’s Story Offers Lesson
- ‘Half Moon’ Replica Ready for Voyage
- Burlington Free Press UVM Coverage
The New York State Library Association (NYLA) called on Governor David Paterson and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today to immediately end pushing tax form distribution and customer service duties onto local public libraries.
“Not only are you asking us to do more with less, but you are asking libraries to help collect the very tax dollars you are taking away from us,” said Michael Borges, NYLA’s executive director. “Our members are local community libraries, not state tax collection agencies.”
The NYS Department of Taxation and Finance has discontinued mailing out forms to NYS taxpayers, and a press release and postcard sent to New Yorkers informed citizens to either visit their public libraries to pick up tax forms or download them from the internet. The move was labeled a cost cutting move, saving the Department of Taxation and Finance roughly $1 million annually. However, the cost of handling tax form distribution has been largely dumped on New York’s libraries, which are now expected to print out tax forms and provide tax-related customer service.
“Libraries are responsible for not only providing the forms, but also for helping taxpayers fill out the forms and answering other tax related questions,” said Borges. “Library traffic is up, circulation is up, and the types of library services in high-demand continue to climb while our state funding is getting cut. Adding tax form services simply shifts the costs and administrative burdens from state agencies to local libraries, and we are in no position to accept these unfunded mandates.”
“In recent years we have had hundreds of state and Federal forms given to us by the state and picked up by local residents. There is absolutely no way that we could afford to absorb the printing costs if we are forced to provide these forms entirely on our own” said Kevin Gallagher of the Middletown Thrall Library. “Imagine the cost of hundreds of tax forms, considering our budget is already being cut. It’s just not feasible.”
”I don’t mind providing this service, as I consider anything which brings more people into the library, and which increases our value to the community, to be an asset. But, certainly, it is incongruous for the state to cut library funding while it is savings millions itself by shifting its responsibilities to the very libraries it is cutting”, said Ed Dunscombe, Director, George Johnson Memorial Library in Endicott.
“This year we have spent more staff time and effort on tax-related services than ever before, “said Barbara Nichols Randall, Director of the Guilderland Public Library, “We have a long standing partnership with AARP to help people in our community prepare their taxes but the mandate that local libraries replace the state in providing tax forms to the public is an added cost for the library itself. In January alone, our estimated staff cost for this service is almost $2,500, not to mention the overhead expense incurred by using our copiers and paper supplies to print the forms.”
“It’s a service we provide happily, but it takes staff away from serving patrons’ other reference needs and is having an impact on our supply budget,” added Mrs. Randall. “This year we estimated that we will save the community $42,000 with this service.”
The proposed 2009-10 Executive Budget reduces library aid by $18 million or 18% to $80.5 million, a level not seen since 1993. These cuts are on top of the two cuts already imposed on libraries in 2008, reducing Library Aid from $102 million in 2007 to $98.5 million at the end of 2008. The proposed cuts will also result in a corresponding loss of $2 million in federal funds for library services in New York, reducing federal aid from $9 million to $7 million by 2011.
About NYLA: The New York Library Association — America’s first state library association — was founded in 1890 to lead in the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship to enhance learning, quality of life, and equal opportunity for all New Yorkers. Today, NYLA is working stronger than ever to promote its mission of supporting libraries and information services.
Rich Strum, Director of Interpretation and Education at Fort Ticonderoga, will offer a program entitled “Conquest, Commerce, and Culture: 400 Years of History in the Champlain Valley” at Saranac Village at Will Rogers in Saranac Lake on Sunday, March 8, 2009.
Samuel de Champlain first saw the great expanse of Lake Champlain, the Green Mountains to the east, the Adirondacks on the west in 1609. New York State, Vermont, and the Province of Quebec are commemorating the 400th anniversary of Champlain’s explorations this year through a variety of programs and events.
Strum will provide an illustrated overview of four centuries of the Champlain region’s history. He will discuss military contests for control of the vital Champlain corridor, the role the lake has played in economic growth and expansion, the lasting impact of 150 years of French dominance in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The presentation will begin at 2:00 p.m. and is offered at no charge to member sof the Adirondack Museum and children of elementary school age or younger. Free admission will be extended to all residents of Saranac Village at Will Rogers. The fee for non-members is $5.00. For additional information, please call the Education Department at (518) 352-7311, ext. 128 or visit the museum’s web site at www.adirondackmuseum.org.
Rich Strum has been the Director of Interpretation and Education at Fort Ticonderoga since 1999. He serves as North Country Regional Coordinator for New York State History Day. He is the author of Ticonderoga: Lake Champlain Steamboat, as well as two books for young readers: Causes of the American Revolution and Henry Know: Washington’s Artilleryman. He lives in Ticonderoga, N.Y. with his wife and daughters.
The Smithsonian has announced online access to the E. F. Caldwell & Co. Collection which “contains more than 50,000 images consisting of approximately 37,000 black & white photographs and 13,000 original design drawings of lighting fixtures and other fine metal objects that they produced from the late 19th to the mid-20th centuries.”
According to the site: Edward F. Caldwell & Co., of New York City, was the premier designer and manufacturer of electric light fixtures and decorative metalwork from the late 19th to the mid-20th centuries. Founded in 1895 by Edward F. Caldwell (1851-1914) and Victor F. von Lossberg (1853-1942), the firm’s legacy of highly crafted creations includes custom made metal gates, lanterns, chandeliers, ceiling and wall fixtures, floor and table lamps, and other decorative objects that can be found today in many metropolitan area churches, public buildings, offices, clubs, and residences. A majority of these buildings were built in the early 20thcentury, a time of tremendous growth in construction and when many cities were being electrified for the first time.
The New York Public Library has additional materials [pdf].
The History Department of SUNY Fredonia requests proposals for a conference, “Reconsidering the City,” scheduled for April 2010. The conference will explore new directions in the field of Urban History. How do Urban Historians define “the city”? How do scholars today conceptualize the field of Urban History? We welcome proposals for individual papers or panels that address these conceptual issues as well as proposals that highlight new work being done in Urban History in both western and non-western contexts. Paper proposals should be no more than 500 words; panel proposals should also include a brief (250-word) summary of the panel and its theme. Please send proposals and a one-page cv electronically to Mary Beth Sievens, Associate Chair, Department of History, SUNY Fredonia: email@example.com.
The deadline for proposals is March 13, 2009.
The idea is a simple one: Take viewers to historical locations around New York City that are either off-limits to the general public, or are otherwise difficult or impossible to see. Then post them to the web.
Being an old city, New York has hundreds of overlooked locales to explore. The City Concealed produces about 2 videos a month. They’ve previously shot a boat tour of Newtown Creek, the tombs & catacombs of Green-Wood Cemetery, an eccentric rock sculptor on the furthest reaches of Staten Island, and the abandoned buildings of Brooklyn’s sprawling Navy Yard.
The latest episode is Up in the Fulton Ferry Hotel
You can submit a location idea here.
- Arts Spending Freeze Prompts Rally
- Threat of Violence Ends Battle Re-Enactment
- Last of Shea Stadium Comes Down
- A Sociologist’s Look at Graffiti
- UVM Layoffs, Budget Cuts Coming
- 1880 Topography of Manhattan
- More Effort to Restore Fire Tower
- Walker Evans & Postcards at The Met
- Ice Boating On The Hudson
- Coney Island Loses Another Landmark
The University at Albany’s Department of History has introduced a new 36-credit History and Media concentration to its Masters program, allowing students to learn and apply specialized media skills — digital history and hypermedia authoring, photography and photoanalysis, documentary filmmaking, oral/video history, and aural history and audio documentary production — to the study of the past. The History and Media concentration builds on the Department’s strengths in academic and public history and its reputation as an innovator in the realm of digital and multimedia history.
Among the History and Media courses to be offered beginning in the fall of 2009 are: Introduction to Historical Documentary Media; Narrative in Historical Media; Readings and Practicum in Aural History and Audio Documentary Production; Readings and Practicum in Digital History and Hypermedia; Readings in the History and Theory of Documentary Filmmaking; Readings in Visual Media and Culture; Introduction to Oral and Video History; Research Seminar and Practicum in History and Media.
Instructors in the History and Media concentration will vary but will include a core faculty including: Gerald Zahavi, Professor; Amy Murrell Taylor, Associate Professor; Ray Sapirstein, Assistant Professor; Sheila Curran Bernard, Assistant Professor.
For more information, contact Gerald Zahavi, firstname.lastname@example.org; 518-442-5427.
Do you know what Jackie Robinson, Marcus Garvey and Booker T. Washington have in common? They are all famous African Americans who have New York City parks named after them. This month, the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation is celebrating Black History Month by paying tribute to these and many other influential African Americans with events across the city. From an exhibit on the work of George Washington Carver at the New York Botanical Garden, to a performance on the history of black dance at the Jackie Robinson Recreation Center, there is a free and fun way for everyone to get involved in this lesson on cultural history.
In addition, the Arsenal Gallery in Central Park is hosting “The African American Experience”, an exhibition of over thirty artworks including photographs, paintings, quilts, and ceramics created by artists, Parks & Recreation employees, retirees, and members of recreation centers and programs throughout the city. The exhibit will remain open through March 5, 2009.
For those who can’t make it out to enjoy the festivities, you can learn more about Parks’ relationship with African American History on the Parks website, www.nyc.gov/parks.
February 1-22: 1:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m.: The Life and Work of George Washington Carver, The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx. Explore the fascinating life and accomplishments of this plant scientist extraordinaire in this hands-on program and exhibition.
February 17, 18: 1:00 p.m.: Hooray for Martin Luther King, The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx. Celebrate the heart of the inspiring message of peace and brotherhood for all.
February 18, 21: 3:00 p.m.: A Man Named Pearl, The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx. Watch a documentary on the inspiring story of self-taught topiary artist Pearl Fryar.
February 19: 6:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m.: History of Black Dance, the Jackie Robinson Recreation Center, Manhattan. Enjoy a performance featuring variations of Egyptian, African, and Spanish dances. Audience participation is included. February 21: 1:00 p.m.: Rosa’s Ride, The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx. Come watch a musical dramatization of the life of Rosa Parks.
February 22: 1:00 p.m.: Seneca Village, Central Park, Manhattan. Learn about the history of Manhattan’s first known community of African-American property owners and what New York City was like at the time.
February 28: 12:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.: African Lives: From Wyckoff to Weeksville, Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum, Brooklyn. Come enjoy the Colonial Dutch and African celebration of Pentecost with music, food, children’s crafts, and more!
12:00 p.m.: African Drumming, Inwood Hill Park Nature Center, Manhattan. Celebrate vibrant African music and culture for black history month by learning traditional African drum rhythm on the djembe, talking drum and udu.
Shortly after the assassination of The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Arthur Mitchell was inspired to start a ballet school that would offer African American and Latino children — especially those in Harlem, the community in which he was born — the opportunity to study dance and the allied arts. In 1969, a year later, Mitchell and Karel Shook, founded the Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) which the New York Times called “one of ballet’s most exciting undertakings”. Now in its fourth decade, DTH has grown into a multi-cultural dance institution and national treasure. Armed with an extraordinary legacy of training exceptional artists, DTH continues to set the standard for artistic excellence in the performing arts.
Through a rich and colorful mix of spectacular costumes, stage props, posters, programs, intimate photographs and video recordings, Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts traces the history of the company, its community outreach, renowned productions and cast of legendary dancers, fans and supporters. The free exhibition is on display in the Vincent Astor Gallery of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at 40 Lincoln Center Plaza, February 11 through May 9, 2009. The Library is also presenting related free public programs at the Library for the Performing Arts and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
In a time when black dancers were all but invisible in mainstream ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook, brought ballet to the neighborhood and black dancers to the main stage. Since its inception the company has continued to cross social and geographic barriers by introducing the ballet world to a Creole Giselle, inviting audiences to a Caribbean wedding in Dougla, bringing black dancers to the international stage through programs such as Dancing Through Barriers® and bringing ballet to Harlem with education and community outreach.
Many of the stories behind the achievements of the company were artfully documented in photographs by Martha Swope, Marbeth and others. Those on display include photos of guests such as Hillary Clinton and Congressman Charles Rangel attending the company’s monthly open houses where performers of all arts and from other organizations showcase their talents to captivated audiences seated on folding chairs and sometimes on the floor.
One of the centerpieces of the show is an eight-foot-long three-dimensional puzzle that took artist Frank Bara two years to create. Completed in 1989, it was commissioned by Arthur Mitchell to celebrate the company’s 20th anniversary. Each layer of the puzzle, crafted entirely from wood, depicts a different aspect of the company’s first two decades in intricate detail, from ballet casts and music to floor plans and blueprints.
From the ceiling of the gallery hang original character costumes such as Firebird’s firebird and monster created by Geoffrey Holder and the wedding canopy from Dougla. Also on display are examples of tights and pointe shoes illustrating Mr. Mitchell’s ground-breaking insistence that they be dyed to match each dancer’s skin tones. Pictures from Footprints in Red document the stunning costumes designed by Salvatore Ferragamo, which needed to be such a specific blue that craftsmen were flown from Italy to Harlem to dye them just the right shade.
There are also many photographs that show rehearsals in churches and other borrowed spaces that were used before Dance Theatre of Harlem had a home of its own. Other pictures document the world-wide appeal of the company’s talent and show its famous fans like Nelson Mandela after a performance in South Africa and Princess Diana back stage in London.
Dance Theatre of Harlem’s dedication to dance and community has inspired support from a wide range of renowned figures from the world of dance. On view are pictures of candid moments in master classes being taught by such prominent dancers as Rosella Hightower and Carmen de Lavallade; William Dollar, who is coaching young ballerinas for Combat; Alexandra Danilova and Joseph Wyatt who are shown rehearsing Paquita; and Gregory Hines who is pictured tapping with children from the DTH school.
Throughout the gallery, cases exhibit show programs and tour materials including the Australian tour scrapbook that contains newspaper clips from the local press punctuated by negative stereotypes less commonly found in press coverage from the United States.
Also on view are a series of film clips including performances of Giselle and Streetcar Named Desire and a compilation of interviews with those close to the Dance Theatre of Harlem and press coverage the company has received over the years.
Free Public Programs Related to the Exhibition at the Library for the Performing Arts:
Thursday, February 12, 2009, 5:30 p.m.
Inspired by a Dream: The Dance Theatre of Harlem Story
Panel moderated by Anna Kisselgoff. With Robert Garland, Virginia Johnson and others.
Thursday, March 12, 2009, 3:00 p.m.
Dance Theatre of Harlem: Classically American
Panel moderated by Alastair Macaulay. With Frederic Franklin, Lorraine Graves, Suzanne Farrell, and others.
Thursday, March 12, 2009, 5:30 p.m.
The Stories I Could Tell: Arthur Mitchell at 75
The Founding Artistic Director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem in Conversation
with Robert Greskovic.
Thursday, May 7, 5:30 p.m.
African American Choreographers
Panel discussion on making work for Dance Theatre of Harlem
Free Public Programs Related to the Exhibition at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Thursday, April 16, 2009, 7:00 p.m.
Where are the Black Swans?
A panel discussion.