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David Smith: Librarian to the Stars

Some New Yorkers are famous for being rich. Others are famous for being stupid. But David Smith, librarian to the stars at the  The New York Public Library, is famous for being helpful. And he’s getting more and more attention — including a lovely feature in Gothamist today.

David Smith at NYPL, with my book second from the left at the front of this photo...

David Smith at NYPL, with my book second from the left at the front of this photo...

I met David Smith nearly 10 years ago when I was a wee little graduate student. With his help, every research question seemed possible.

At the time, David had the beginnings of New York network going: Authors, poets and celebrities would come into the library asking for his help. He was quickly becoming a New York “connector,” and often as I toiled away on my research, David would come over to my desk and whisper excitedly about the latest big-name author he’d helped — and introduced to another big-name author he’d met the week before. He calls it “reference work through networking.”

So for 50th birthday (we won’t say when that was, but a few years back), I made him businsess cards that read: David Smith, Librarian to the Stars. And it caught on. And then he got famous himself. What’s even nicer is that each time he’s interviewed, he mentions my business card gift to him way back when. Ah, social networks.

In 2007 The New York Times profiled him and my guess is that the publicity will keep on coming. Perhaps Malcolm Gladwell might be interested in profiling him for a future book…

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March 6, 2009 - Posted by | A Day in the Life, Academic Musings

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