"Beneath the surface" of the New York State Library are perhaps as many as 5,000 books for children. Dating from the mid-1700s to the early 1960s, most of them are stored in the basement of the Cultural Education Center. The Library has collected sporadically in this area in the years since then, and is currently adding contemporary children's titles with a focus on New York State.
We "dug into reading" for a representative sampling for a July 2013 exhibit. Many of these books have been read by children throughout the State in summers both past and present, and they continue to provide primary source material for researchers. While the majority of older books are allowed to circulate, certain rare and valuable editions, materials in Reference, and most of the more recent acquisitions may only be viewed on site.
In conjunction with the statewide Summer Reading Program, the display covered children's and young adult books from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries with a New York connection. Settings range from Albany to Buffalo, and Lake Tear of the Clouds to New York Harbor. The exhibit reflected the history of Native Americans like the Iroquois and the Mohawk, as well as the Dutch influence in New Netherland and New Amsterdam.
Also featured was a selection of works by well-known Albany authors and illustrators, such as Louis Slobodkin and Dorothy P. Lathrop.
See More about the Featured Books and Authors for transcriptions of the captions and lists of the books that were on display, including those in the smaller display cases not pictured here.
Even more books about New York can be found in the Explore New York reading lists provided by the Summer Reading Program.
Exhibit curated by Carol Reid