Photo Essay: Meet New York’s Loyal Public Library Patrons

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You know those places with all the books? Those storehouses of archived newspapers, art magazines, academic journals, and fiction written for young adults? Libraries? Well, they’re still here, and according to a new study New York’s public libraries are “serving more people in more ways than ever before.” To get a better sense of who these people are and why they’re still trudging to their local edifice of knowledge in a stay-at-home age of smartphones, Kindles, and the World Wide Web, we visited a few branches throughout the city. Meet the people we met inside.

Photo by Aaron Colussi.

Location: Grand Central Library, Manhattan Name: Luke Grant Age: 18 Occupation: Artist

How often do you visit this branch? “Whenever I get the chance. So, from once a day to once a month.”

Why are you here today? “I came to meet friends and socialize. To learn new things and meet people who might help me get further along. I live in Brooklyn, but I make the trip because this branch in particular sticks with me.”

Photo by Aaron Colussi.

Location: Jackson Heights Library, Queens Name: Nasheet Rumy Age: 34 Occupation: Freelance designer and part-time college student

How often do you visit this branch? “Once a month.”

Why are you here today? “I’m returning magazines and studying statistics. I also just like being around people.”

Photo by Aaron Colussi.

Location: Baychester Library, Bronx Name: Joël Depercin Age: 58 Occupation: Tutor

How often do you visit this branch? “Twice a week.”

Why are you here today? “I came to use the computer. I live in the community, and don’t have an Internet connection at home.”

Photo by Aaron Colussi.

Location: Grand Central Library, Manhattan Name: Eddie Scott Age: 61 Occupation: Union Worker

How often do you visit this branch? “Every other day.”

Why are you here today? “I’m returning and borrowing movies. Horror and action are my favorites.”

Photo by Aaron Colussi.

Location: Grand Central Library, Manhattan Name: Andrew Kjoller Age: 43 Occupation: Finance

How often do you visit this branch? “Infrequently. A couple times a year.”

Why are you here today? “I’m researching travel plans for the long weekend. I sometimes find books are easier to browse than the web.”

Photo by Aaron Colussi.

Location: Baychester Library, Bronx Name: Viola Humphrey Age: 67 Occupation: Retired

How often do you visit this branch? “Every other week.”

Why are you here today? “Signing out and returning books — mostly detective stories.”

Photo by Aaron Colussi.

Location: Jackson Heights Library, Queens Name: Al Gallego Age: 58 Occupation: Translator

How often do you visit this branch? “Three times a month.”

Why are you here today? “I came to read and get war movies on DVD.”

Photo by Aaron Colussi.

Location: Jackson Heights Library, Queens Name: Rafael Jines Age: 63 Occupation: Business Administrator

How often do you visit this branch? “Three or four days a week.”

Why are you here today? “I’m checking my email, reading the news on Yahoo, and looking for extra work online.”

Photo by Aaron Colussi.

Location: Baychester Library, Bronx Name: Sharan Porper Age: 53 Occupation: Semi-retired

How often do you visit this branch? “Every day it’s open.”

Why are you here today? “I came to surf the net and take out a DVD. My favorite shows to watch are old TV series, like Adventures of Superman.”

Photo by Aaron Colussi.

Location: Baychester Library, Bronx Name: Asia Smith Age: 24 Occupation: Social Worker

How often do you visit this branch? “It’s my first time here.”

Why are you here today? “To print out a pay stub. The branch I normally go to near my home is closed today. There was some problem with the boiler.”

Photo by Aaron Colussi.

Location: Grand Central Library, Manhattan Name: Marilyn Mitchell Age: [Not saying] Occupation: Legal Word Processor

How often do you visit this branch? “Almost every day.”

Why are you here today? “I’m here to use the computer and Internet. Sometimes I take out a book or magazine, but not as often anymore.”

Photo by Aaron Colussi.

Location: Grand Central Library, Manhattan Name: Xavier Pinkney Age: 47 Occupation: Unemployed

How often do you visit this branch? “Twice a week.”

What are you doing here today? “Checking email and shopping online.”

Photo by Aaron Colussi.

Location: Baychester Library, Bronx Name: Garey White Age: 50 Occupation: Retired

How often do you visit this branch? “Three times a week.”

Why are you here today? “I’m checking my email and signing out some books. I also have a Batman DVD on hold that I’m hoping will come in soon.”

Photo by Aaron Colussi.

Location: Grand Central Library, Manhattan Name: Jeffrey Ijaji Age: 29 Occupation: Freelance Writer

How often to you visit this branch? “Once a month.”

Why are you here today? “Renewing two books about freelance writing.”

Photo by Aaron Colussi.

Location: Jackson Heights Library, Queens Name: Tomas Alcantara Age: 57 Occupation: Cleaner

How often do you visit this branch? “Almost everyday.”

Why are you here today? “I’m doing some research for a book I’m writing.”

Photo by Aaron Colussi.

Location: Jackson Heights Library, Queens Name: Karen Wellington Age: 58 Occupation: Retired Teacher

How often do you visit this branch? “Two to three times per week.”

Why are you here today? “I volunteer with a children’s afterschool program.”