NYS Library Celebrates 200th Anniversary in 2018

New York State Library Bicentennial: 1818 - 2018

200 Years of Knowledge, Heritage and History

The New York State Library was created 200 years ago, on April 21, 1818, when a bill to "establish a public library at the seat of government" was passed in the New York State Senate and signed into law by Governor DeWitt Clinton.

Throughout 2018, we will be celebrating our bicentennial in a variety of ways.

April Events

Open House

Stop by the Library during the afternoon on Saturday, April 21 (the anniversary of the date the bill creating the New York State Library was passed) and join us for some special exhibits and activities:

  • exhibits about the Library's history (seventh floor lobby, all day) and of some unusual items from our Special Collections (Librarians Room, 12-4:30 p.m.);
  • information about Library services (12-4:30 p.m.);
  • welcome and birthday cake (about 1 p.m.); and
  • a special showing of the classic movie Desk Set with Spencer tracy and Katharine Hepburn, who plays a corporate librarian (Huxley Theater, 2 p.m.)

Speakers Forum: Libraries in the 21st Century

As the New York State Library celebrates its bicentennial this year, we are looking not just back at our history, but forward to what the future will look like -- both for our institution and for libraries in general -- as the 21st century progresses.

Please join us for discussions of the future of libraries from two library leaders uniquely positioned to speculate on how the future of libraries might unfold.

Dr. Kathryn Matthew

Monday, April 9, 2018, 6:30 p.m.
Cultural Education Center, Huxley Theater

Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew
Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

Dr. Matthew is the fifth Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Confirmed by the U.S. Senate in September 2015, she is serving a four-year term as the Director of the Institute. With career experience that spans private and nonprofit sectors, Dr. Matthew brings to the agency a deep knowledge of the educational and public service roles of museums, libraries, and related nonprofits.

James G. Neal

Wednesday, April 25, 2018, 6:30 p.m.
Cultural Education Center, Huxley Theater

James G. Neal
President of the American Library Association

Jim Neal is University Librarian Emeritus at Columbia University. Previously, he served as the Dean of University Libraries at Indiana University and Johns Hopkins University, and held administrative positions in the libraries at Penn State, Notre Dame, and the City University of New York. Jim is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences, as well as a consultant and published author, with focuses in the areas of scholarly communication, intellectual property, digital library programs, and library cooperation.

Both events are free and open to the public, but registration is recommended. Call 518-474-2274, e-mail nysltrn@nysed.gov or sign up online.


Special Exhibits in 2018

Mary Shelley's Monster Turns 200 (March 29 - April 2)

This short-term "pop-up" exhibit will look at Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus, which was published in 1818 and so is also celebrating its bicentennial this year.

Comic Books at the Library (June)

Comic books are not something most people would associate with a government and research library, but our Manuscripts and Special Collections unit's holdings are varied and interesting, and do indeed include a collection of comic books and graphic novels.

Read All About It (August)

The NYS Library has a significant collection of newspapers, particularly those from New York State. In commemoration of our bicentennial, this exhibit will invite visitors to peruse headlines from newspapers published in 1818, 1918 and 2018.

As It Was In the Beginning (October)

This exhibit will focus on the titles that were acquired for the Library when it was first created two centuries ago.

Last Updated: April 20, 2018