There appeared a wonderful story in the Buffalo News Christmas Day issue about a $56 million dollar gift to the University at Buffalo Medical School, donated by a private individual who attended the medical school during WWII. George Melvin Ellis, Jr, originally from Toledo, Ohio, but retired and living in Connersville, Indiana at the time of his death in 2011, left a $40 anonymous donation to the school, with the identitiy of the donor only to be revelaed after the death of his spouse. So, when Gladys Kelly Ellis died in 2018, the size of the gift had increased to $56 Million!
The fascinating part of the story for me is that the fortune was realized by Dr. Ellis through his use of the PUBLIC LIBRARY! According to the article, Ellis would make regular trips to the library to teach himself about how to invest a small inheritance he received from his father. Ellis would read financial publications at the library and then make his investment decisions. Hopefully he also used the library reference services to find those publications!
In any event, this is just another example of why we need our libraries!!! Back then it was access to print financial publications; while today it may be access to online publications or access to databases available through a library. Libraries change with the times, but their values never do! A library is important to all of us in one way or another and we need to let out local, state and federal government leaders know this so we can keep our libraries!
PLEASE take a moment to write a letter to your state legislator or, join us in one of the scheduled local visits with state legislators to tell them your “Dr. Ellis story” – here is where you can find out what t do to join the Library Advocacy Campaign of 2019: https://wnylrc.org/library-advocacy
Are you planning to attend the Computers In Libraries 2019 conference in March?
Registration for this conference is now open and we are able to provide a registration discount code through the Empire State Library Network!
This year, the GoldPass will be available for the group rate of $629 (regular rate is $819). The Full 3-Day Pass will be $359 (regular rate is $519). (No discount rates are available for the preconference workshops unless purchased as part of a Gold Pass.)
In addition, discounted prices of $599 (regularly $719) on the Library Leaders Summit (includes all three days of CIL), and $149 (regularly $219) on the Internet@Schools Track are also available.
Online registrations can be made until February 22 to receive these discounted rates. After this time, rates will go up.
The Western New York featured collection for December 2018 in New York Heritage is that of the Summit yearbooks from Daemen College in Amherst, New York.
Like several smaller, private colleges in the region and across the state, Daemen’s history, reflected in the pages of its yearbooks, has been shaped in some ways by various state and national events occurring throughout its existence. Daemen started out as an all-female institution, called Rosary Hill College, organized by the Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity – an order of religious Sisters dating back to 1835 in the Netherlands. The foundress of the Order was Mother Magdalen Damen (hence the origins of the later name change!). The Order came to America in 1874, at the request of the congregation of St. Michael’s Church in Buffalo, who saw a need for German speaking nuns to instruct the children of the growing population of German immigrants living predominantly on Buffalo’s east side. The Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Charity were responsible for the creation of many community elementary and high schools in the Western New York region and elsewhere in the country in those early years.
Daemen College was established by the Sisters in 1947, just after WWII. This was a time when many women who had joined the war workforce were being let go so GIs returning from the war could resume their old jobs. But many of these women wanted to continue to have careers after the war and so turned to higher education opportunities to be able to do so. The burst of industrial growth caused by a wartime economy did not slow down after the war, and so the US also required a larger, better educated workforce to sustain this growth. The result was the country (including this region) experiencing an increase in the establishment of public and private higher education institutions in the immediate aftermath of the war. Rosary Hill College graduated its first class in 1952 and issued its first yearbook at that time.
Early in 1959, the Roman Catholic Church announced Vatican II, an event focused on reviewing and revising Church doctrine. One significant change inspired a more “outward-looking” Catholic faith, willing to embrace secular and non-Catholic communities. So too, life at Daemen became more secular in both academic offerings and campus social life. In addition, the 1960s was a tumultuous time in American history and culture: the Vietnam War, civil rights and the women’s movement were all impacting life in small Catholic colleges, including Daemen. The College became co-educational in 1971 and nonsectarian in 1976, changing its name to Daemen College. In 1992, New York State amended the college’s charter, authorizing the award of graduate level degrees as well as baccalaureate degrees as more and more students were pursuing post-graduate studies in America.
College yearbooks are a great window on the past and New York Heritage currently offers viewers a look at about 45 yearbook collections from across New York State – with more to come!
The elections are over, which means it is time to start contacting our elected officials to let them know they need to increase library funding to meet demand! The Western New York Library Resources Council is kicking off 2019 library advocacy efforts in the region with a letter writing campaign in support of library funding!
Each year, library supporters in Western New York are asked to participate in local visits to State legislators as well as the trip to Albany for Library Advocacy Day (this year it will be Wednesday, February 27, 2019).
A library supporter writing from the hospital library at Sister’s Hospital in Buffalo!
But this year, we’ve added a new element to the “fight” for libraries – you are being asked to “write” for libraries!”
Yes, write a letter to your government representative, either local, county or state, asking them to support your library by ensuring that it receives the funding needed to serve your community!
In past years during the local home office visits state representatives often told us the handwritten letters from their constituents are sometimes greater motivators than anything else!
We are especially encouraging people to contact their State Assembly and State Senate members in support of library funding and in doing so, raise awareness across New York that our libraries are fundamental to every person! Write in support of your public, school, academic, hospital or special library – but make sure you write!
WNYLRC is making posters available to any interested library in the region promoting the letter writing campaign – just contact us to request yours! We are also offering to pay the postage for all the letters your library collects!
Join us and create a letter writing mailbox area in your library! We are asking everyone to post their mailboxes for the letters on their own social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) using the hashtag #NYSLetterWriting When you do, send us photos as well and we’ll post these to WNYLRC’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10156012212968129&type=1&l=aa9e02fcb0 and Twitter: https://twitter.com/WNYLRC/status/1060200551105859585
As an incentive, we are awarding FIVE $100 gift certificates to the five mailboxes with the greatest number of “likes!” But most importantly, get your patrons to write for their libraries!! For more information on the letter writing campaign, go to: https://wnylrc.org/library-advocacy
Preservation, the magazine of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, spotlights sites that have shaped the American identity, and the people working tirelessly to protect them. This summer the editors reached out with their plans to feature the National Register-listed tug “Urger” in their Fall issue.
On September 18, League staff and other advocates met with representatives from the New York State Canal Corporation (NYSCC) and the New York Power Authority (NYPA). Among the items discussed was a vessel assessment of tug Urger. Advocates asked for a scope of work for this new study, as well as an understanding of what its goals are. Currently the Urger is in Waterford and will go into dry dock for the winter and the vessel assessment noted above.
Readers all over the country – and world – will learn that the beloved “teaching tug” and flagship of the Erie Canal is considered THREATENED when they read Preservation magazine. Tug Urger still needs your help! If you haven’t already done so, consider signing the petition #SaveTheUrger and #KeepCanalBoatsAfloat! If you’ve already added your name, we thank you, and we ask you to send this link (www.preservenys.org/save-the-urger) to anyone who may be interested in keeping the teaching tug Urger on the canal, where she belongs.
As part of a bicentennial celebration of the Erie Canal, Albion students in 6th grade Citizenship classes and 7th grade Service Learning classes have been learning about the canal and its important role in New York State history. The Preservation League of NYS is spearheading a campaign to #SaveTheUrger. The students read about the campaign. They signed and sent petitions to the New York State Canal Corporation and New York Power Authority. This is a way for students to explore the many roles, rights, and responsibilities of citizenship, including avenues of participation.
WNYLRC offers members an opportunity to learn more about the Erie Canal as well, with the online exhibition: https://dp.la/exhibitions/erie-canal and the traveling exhibit banners: https://www.wnylrc.org/new-york-heritage
The Museum of disABILITY History is a member of WNYLRC. Check out their latest news:
Grand Opening for “The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic” Exhibit
Saturday, October 20, at 11 a.m.
Museum of disABILITY History
3826 Main Street, Buffalo, NY
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/2131575370492463/
When Willard Psychiatric Center in New York’s Finger Lakes closed in 1995, workers discovered hundreds of suitcases in the attic of an abandoned building. Since their discovery, an incredible exhibit was created that showcases the moving stories behind these suitcases. “The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic” exhibit has found a home at the Museum of disABILITY History, a project of People Inc. A grand opening will unveil one of the suitcases. The suitcase and its contents, once belonging to a man named Mr. Lawrence Mocha, will be displayed as part of the exhibit, thanks to support from his family and the New York State Museum.
During the grand opening event, Max Donatelli of the Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition will speak about the stigma surrounding mental health. Attendees are encouraged to join the conversation with a question and answer session.
The event is a fundraiser for the Museum of disABILITY History. Admission is: Adults $10, Seniors (60+) $6, students and human service employees with identification $6, children under 6 free and members of the Museum of disABILITY History are free. For more information or to register, contact David Mack-Hardiman at email@example.com or call 716.629.3606. Refreshments provided. Reservations for the event are required.
“The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic” was curated by Darby Penney and Peter Stastny for the Community Consortium. Copies of their compelling book, by the same name, will be available for purchase. The goal of the exhibit is to bring the stories of the suitcase owners and a patient-centered view of the history of psychiatry to a wider audience. For almost ten years, the exhibit traveled the country from coast to coast, hosted by 30 venues in 11 different states and seen by thousands of people.
On September 21, 2018, members of the Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) visited the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. Director of Libraries, Beth Lathrop, began the day by giving the committee an overview of the research library which hold 199,000 volumes of journals, research papers, books, trade catalogs and other archival ephemera. It is the only research repository dedicated to the intellectual, social, and cultural history of play. Researchers on play and the gaming industry travel from around the world to visit the library and archives which accepts visitors by appointment only. The site also offers a Fellowship to researchers in the growing fields of gaming and play studies.
Next, Cataloger Tara Winner-Swete gave the committee a behind the scenes look at the closed stacks and cataloging areas. Much of the cataloging performed in original based on the rarity of some of the items in the collections. Items on display for the visit included a 1973 Fisher Price trade toy catalog and the 1978 Star Wars toy preview.
Archivist Julia Novakovic finished up the tour with a presentation on the archives of the library. The archives holds many of the papers of play and gaming leaders as well as the product details of the early video game industry. She also discussed the founding of the museum by Margaret Woodbury Strong whose personal papers reside in the archives. Items on display from the archives included the pieces from the Atari archives involving the creation of Asteroids; Harrison Erickson designs for Muppets, puppets, and mascots; and documents related to Hasbro’s adoption for the British game Cluedo known to American audiences as Clue.
The visit ended with RAC taking some time in the museum’s inviting environs before heading to meetings and lunch.
– Keri Thomas-Whiteside