Donnell Public Library

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of taking a trip into Manhattan and visiting the Donnell Public Library. It’s located at 20 West 53rd Street and it should be a required pilgrimage for anyone who is a Youth Services librarian. There’s too many treasures there to list in a brief blog entry, but I’ll try to abbreviate it for you.

There is a Harry Potter chess set as you alight from the elevator and directly behind it is a display of the winners of the N.C. Wyeth Bookmaking Competition. This is an annual contest where public school children build their own books and I must say, their craftsmanship rivals that of some adults (myself included!). One will be amazed by the multi-language collection which includes Spanish, Italian, Russian and Chinese. What a great way to make non-English speaking children feel part of the community!

Lastly, the rare books room is worth inquiring about. I had the privilege of speaking with one of the librarians about it. Sadly, it is open by appointment only but what a collection. It contains hundreds of uncatalogued items including an original copy of a book titled “The girl who beat her sister” as well as the actual Newbery Medal awarded to Eric P. Kelly.

If you have kids of your own or are a big kid yourself (like me), make an afternoon of the Donnell Library. I only regret I was on a tight time budget, otherwise I would’ve had security shooing me out at closing time. For information go to, although the website doesn’t do it justice!

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