I just read on 7-Imp, where there’s a much more in depth and eloquent summary than I can attempt here, that the New York Public Libaries Donnell Branch will be closing in May. This branch houses the Central Children’s Room, home to, among other things, the original Winnie-the-Pooh toys (sans Roo who, being small, must have been lost along the way), Mary Poppin’s umbrella and, during the time of my visit, original N.C Wyeth Robin Hood illustrations. With the closure of the branch the future of the Children’s Room seems uncertain and many are worried it will disappear all together.
The photographs here are from our visit to New York in January of 2006. We were told about the Children’s Room by a New York aquaintence who we had hit up for tips on New York must-sees – especially those that involved art, books or food. We didn’t have a lot of time to spend at the library – it was more of a quick pilgrimage to see the toys so it was an extra bonus to see the Wyeth illustrations. I would have loved to had more time to explore more of the library and to have gone through the collection of reference books. I can only imagine how wonderful it would have been to have access to a library like this when I was little, not only for the books but for the chance to see original, classic illustrations. Here’s to hoping that the Children’s Room reopens in a brand spanking new location (with better lighting) and that for many years to come, kids will have access to literature in this way.
I love Winnie-the-Pooh – the proper A.A Milne original book versions with the lovely E. H. Shepard illustrations – not what’s become of it now, so it was kind of sad to see this – not a Milne in sight – completely obliterated (at least on Flickr) by the ‘D’ word: