Wednesday, November 2, 2011
The New York Public Library's Bertha Franklin Feder Award Program
Speaking Up to Honor the Quiet Work of Librarians. (The New York Times, 11/2/2011)
Excerpt: The idea for the gift came from Vartan Gregorian in 1988, when he was president of the library. At that time Ruth and Arthur Feder wanted to honor Mr. Feder’s mother. He was a retired lawyer and his wife had been volunteering at the library.
Mr. Feder said his mother “loved libraries and started one for the retirement complex where she lived in Florida.” He recalled: “We asked Vartan what we could do and he said, ‘Would you consider doing something for the librarians? They manage libraries and shape the collections. They are very dedicated, but they are underpaid.’ ”
The Feders liked the idea. Mr. Feder, a former tax lawyer, brought a bit of his expertise to the gift, by seeking to have it structured so it would include enough money to cover the taxes, which would enable the recipient to keep the full amount.
From that concept came a program to honor librarianship, according to Anne Coriston, vice president for public service at the New York Public Library. Since then, the awards have been celebrated annually at a tea with the president of the library, the Feders and other guests.