A Letter from the President

Friends of the Newberry:

We’ve learned many lessons at the Newberry since last March, including the extraordinary potential for virtual engagement. Our staff worked hard to bring our collection and our expertise to readers, students, and scholars through a variety of online platforms during the pandemic, and we’ve been rewarded with a dramatic spike in audience engagement.

  • We hosted 33 free public programs online, welcoming a combined audience of more than 5,000, including viewers from as far away as Portugal, Uruguay, and Australia.
  • Usage of our digital resources, including those for teachers and students, increased by more than 240%.
  • Librarians assisted readers on the phone, over email, and even on Zoom, answering 2,260 research inquiries remotely.
  • Our Adult Education Seminars went virtual and hosted 1,800 students from 37 states and six countries.

We have been able to not only endure, but thrive this past year thanks to your generosity. Your belief in our mission and support of our work enabled us to meet the challenges of the pandemic and find new opportunities to engage and broaden our audience.

As we explore ways to make virtual programming a core part of our activities moving forward, I’m so pleased to see more and more people returning to the building every day. As vaccination rates increase in the city and among our own staff, we look forward to seeing many more of you at the Newberry in the coming months.

Whether you are ready to return to the building or prefer to engage with us from home or afar, there is much for you at the Newberry. Our latest exhibition, ¡Viva la Libertad!: The Age of Revolutions in Latin America, is open now through July 24. Our reading rooms are once more open by appointment, and the bookshop doors are open for business. Public programs and Adult Education Seminars will continue to take place online, and the upcoming slate of classes and talks promises to be engaging and insightful.

On Monday, May 24, we will host the Newberry Library Award Celebration, honoring Lonnie G. Bunch III, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, for his outstanding contributions to the humanities. The evening, which will be presented virtually, will celebrate Dr. Bunch’s many accomplishments as well as highlight Newberry collections and the people who use them. I hope you will be able to join us for this very special event.

Thank you for being a valued member of the Newberry community and for supporting our work. Your contributions ensure that we can meet the needs of all who wish to connect to our collection and programs, whether on a computer screen or in our building on Walton Street.

I look forward to seeing you soon.


Daniel Greene
President and Librarian

This story is part of the Newberry’s Donor Digest, Spring 2021. In this newsletter the Newberry shares with its donors exciting stories of the success and innovation made possible by their generosity. Learn more about supporting the library and its programs.