Living in Hidden in Libraries

Another fascinating post from Kristen. Have you ever wanted to be a library keeper?

Kristen Twardowski

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Book lovers sometimes joke about wanting to live in bookstore or libraries, but in the past officially living in libraries was a reality for many people. Though they are no longer in use as residencies, many of the New York Public Libraries have apartments hidden within them.

When New York City’s Carnegie libraries were built in the early 1900’s, they were similar to a lighthouse; they had to have keepers to watch over them, to guard them, and, most importantly, to make sure that the coal burning fires that heated them never ran out. The keeper or custodian who held these duties often lived in the library with his family. Sharon Washington who lived in one such library apartment with her father, a library custodian for the St. Agnes branch, told the New York Times that “The family mantra was: Don’t let that furnace go out.” Prometheus many have brought fire and…

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