Library is saving bits of Village and all of The Villager archives

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Everyone always says that the Village as we’ve known it is vanishing, a little bit more day by day. Well, The Jefferson Market Library will be helping to hold on to a bit — make that bits — of the historic Village through its new Greenwich Village Ephemera Project.

As Corrine Neary, the library’s senior librarian, explained the concept, “We’re collecting personal objects and mementos that tell a story, along with a short written narrative, from Village residents.”

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Corrine Neary, senior librarian at the Jefferson Market Library.


She already put out notice of the project and has been receiving submissions, which so far have included things like postcards, photos and pins from Gay Pride and political events. The display cases are small — around 13 inches by 13 inches by 2 inches deep. The opening will feature 15 objects.

“The items will be displayed all together at the opening, then on a rotating, ongoing basis in a display case in our lobby,” Neary said. “I will be returning them to their owners once the item has had its month in the display, but we are going to photograph the items, and hopefully compile a book with each object and story.”

Right now, the project will run for at least 15 months, but it could be extended if there’s interest.

“We could keep it going in perpetuity, if there’s interest,” Neary said.

The Ephemera Project will kick off with an opening reception Fri., April 1, at 6 p.m. at the library, at 425 Sixth Ave., between W. 10th and Christopher Sts. The 15 objects’ owners will be there to meet people and share the items’ stories. There will be light refreshments.

In other library news — literally — Neary reported some encouraging developments in the Jefferson Market branch’s ongoing digital archiving of The Villager’s back issues dating back to April 1933. First, it looks like the library will be able to complete the scanning of all the microfilm of The Villager’s back issues for digitizing within this year.

In addition, the New York State Historic Newspapers database is going to host The Villager’s archives on its own Web site, which is free, and the New York Public Library is working to put them on the library’s site, as well, according to Neary.