In March this year, the New York Public Library received a generous donation of $20 million from Library Trustee, James S. Tisch and his wife Dr. Merryl Tisch.
In receiving this donation, the library must find a suitable figure to act as the Director of Education. In the future, this director will be responsible for implementing and supervising major changes within the educational department across every branch of the NYPL system, albeit in Manhattan, the Bronx, or Staten Island.
During her childhood years spent in Manhattan, Dr. Tisch often enjoyed scholastic excursions to the Seward Park Library on the Lower East Side either with her friends or with her grandmother. Now as one of the nation’s leading figures in educational reform and a former Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents, she wants the younger generation of readers to be able to access affordable learning facilities in their local libraries. This transformation will be a long-term process and one of the first steps is to generate more learning opportunities that can reinforce English-Language skills, especially among young readers.
Since Tony Marx became President in 2011, NYPL has been expanding their educational outreach and has established itself as the primary provider of free adult literacy in the city.
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“This remarkable gift offers the Library a rare and pivotal opportunity to reimagine and expand its impressive educational programming, which serves and strengthens all New Yorkers,” Marx said in a press release. “The generosity and vision of Merryl and Jim Tisch will allow us to do more to meet the needs of our communities. This contribution will make New York City and its people stronger, and we are so grateful.”
According to The New York Times, the English language classes have quintupled in the number of seats, serving 12,000 people at 42 locations. However, the potential outreach could be much greater. In response to these ever-rising demands, the NYPL can use Dr. Tisch’s monetary support to provide longer opening hours and to improve their courses on digital literacy.
“[T]his is the first educational gift to public libraries of this scale in the country.” Chief branch library officer Christopher Platt said.
Furthermore, Dr. Tisch also expressed a possible proposal for New York City mayor Bill de Blasio that includes increased funding for the library system so that more locations can open on Sundays. Currently, only eight out of ninety-two branches offer library services every day of the week.
Feature Image Courtesy of the New York Times