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  • Originally published 07/09/2013

    David Levering Lewis: The New York Public Library Must Be Saved From Itself

    David Levering Lewis, a university professor and professor of history at New York University, is the author of two Pulitzer Prize-winning biographies of W.E.B. Du Bois. Both books were researched at the New York Public Library. Guarded by two beloved lions familiar to generations of readers since it opened, the New York Public Library, at 5th Avenue at 42nd Street, is the second-largest public library in America, after the Library of Congress. Ever since the doors first opened, 102 years ago, the grand marble palace of learning has served all who come, rich and poor, immigrant and native, without charge. The venerable institution would have seemed in need of no more than upgraded maintenance, paired with prudent planning, to maintain its leading place in 21st-century research service.

  • Originally published 06/13/2013

    Jonathan Zimmerman: What Happened to Plain Old Summer Camp?

    Jonathan Zimmerman teaches education and history at New York University. He is the author of "Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory."I went to three different summer camps when I was a kid, in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I swam, hiked and played sports (badly). And sometimes, I did nothing at all. That’s what summer — and camp — were all about.But times have changed. About 20 years ago, so-called “specialty camps” began to replace the general-interest kind that I attended. So today you can go to camps that stress particular activities, from cooking and computers to robotics and rocketry.Even at general-interest camps, meanwhile, kids are much more likely to receive professional athletic coaching, top-of-the-line art and music instruction, or even SAT-prep classes. Camp isn’t just for fun anymore. It’s about building a resume, a skill-set, a profile, a future. Like school, camp now prepares young people to win the great Race of Life.Why?...