A number of bloggers have written today expressing concern for the fate of the Central Children's Room Collection in the Donnell Library Branch of the New York Public Library. Along with many wonderful books, this collection is the home of the original Winnie the Pooh (the bear, not just the book) and of Mary Poppins' umbrella. I've never been there, but by all accounts the Central Children's Room is a magical place, and a tremendous resource for residents of New York City.
The problem is that the Donnell Branch is being sold to a hotel. While the library will retain a small amount of space in the hotel that is to be constructed, the fate of the Central Children's Room Collection remains unspecified. Librarian Betsy Bird, who works at the Donnell Library and blogs at A Fuse #8 Production is seeking people's stories about their love of the Central Children's Collection. She wants to hear from people who "remember how important it has been in their lives". Other bloggers addressing this topic include Liz B. at A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy, Terry D. at The Reading Tub Blog, Megan G. at Read, Read, Read, and Cheryl Rainfield. Updated to add a heartfelt plea for the Children's Collection by author Robin Brande.
Cheryl pretty much summed up my thoughts, when she said:
"In a time when we need more literacy programs, not less, when we really need to help kids learn to read, the Central Children’s Room is a necessity. I truly hope, for that reason, that the Central Children’s Room will find a new space, a new home, that is just as good as its previous one was."
We can hope, anyway.