The New York Law Institute is pleased to share the many heartwarming library memories shared with us by our colleagues. And we were more than a little surprised that this year’s celebrities were able to time travel from Victorian England to present day New York City for the drawing of the winner….

But before we get to discussing the celebrities and announcing the winner, here are the entries…

One of my favorite library memories fell on a Thursday afternoon of a warm Summer day at the office.  I could never forget.   My Firm was moving to another location, and so I was busy packing books in boxes. Extra help had been hired  the moving process, and we were all working side by side in the same area.  At one point, I walked back to my office to check my e-mails that needed my attention.  While in my office, I heard someone persistently coughing.  So, I peep out and what I saw startled me!  I was actually witnessing one of the helpers gasping for air, choking!!  He was slumped over and turning grey.  I flew into action and began hitting him on his back and between his shoulder blades.  After what seemed like an eternity, whatever was stuck in his throat came flying out of his mouth and blew across the library floor.  By this time, a crowd formed around us…all in dismay!  They were quiet except for the few gasps.  I could silently feel and hear everyone’s prayers.  When it was all done, the crowd cheered!  The gentleman composed himself and thanked me immensely.  He was so grateful that I was in the right place at the right time.  I had the best feeling in the whole-wide world that day just knowing I literally saved someone’s life!”

—-Florette Clarke; Librarian @ Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP

One of my favorite library memories was when I was allowed to cross all of the streets on the way to the neighborhood library in Brooklyn.  It meant I could go there whenever I wanted to borrow books .”

===Lisa Fricker, Research Analyst @ Harbor

I don’t have one specific library memory that stands out.  For me, the library was a place of acceptance.  As a youth, I was not very athletically inclined and when you are in grammar school, being different is not a very easy thing to navigate.  In the library, I did not have to worry about being the “odd person out” because I did not watch last weekend’s football games.  I was able browse the shelves without worrying about being judged or though of as odd.  It is my hope that the libraries of today continue to be that refuge for those who might be though of as a little different..”

Eugene M. Giudice, Senior Research Services Training Specialist @ Dentons LLP

“When I was a child, the library was my safe space. I used to lie on the floor for hours reading in the children’s library stacks. The librarians took pity on me and would bring me books they thought I might like. Fantasy & Science Fiction were my favorite genres (still are), and the librarians slowly raised my reading level until I was able to discover the worlds of Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Roald Dahl, etc. To this day Dune is my absolute favorite book, having first read it when I was about 9 (I re-read it every 10 years or so). It is no wonder I ended up building a career in the library.”

Christine Kohler, Research & Knowledge Service Analyst @ Eversheds Sutherland

When I was in elementary school, I used to love going to the children’s section of my local library and looking for books by the author John Bellairs. He wrote spooky supernatural mystery stories, with illustrations by Edward Gorey. There were several series featuring different groups of characters that grew and matured over the course of the stories. Every time I visited the library, I went straight to the “B” section under Fiction to find a book by Mr. Bellairs, in addition to whatever else I was looking for. I read every book he wrote multiple times. I explored works by many different authors when I was a kid, but John Bellairs sticks out in my mind.”

Joshua F. Levine, Librarian-Law @ Cardozo L.S.

One of my fondest memories is playing The Oregon Trail game at the Mattituck-Laurel Library with my sister. My siblings and I went to our small public library weekly, like a ritual, to check out loads of books and participate in any children’s programming. But what I remember most was waiting in line for my turn at the public computers, anticipating the digital frontier of the Oregon Trail. I must have been around seven because I can picture the scenes from the 1992-1993 version vividly. It was a time when technology was simpler, not so pervasive, and something to treasure!”

Mary MacLeod, Associate Manager – Taxonomy @ PLI

My best library memory was when I was a kid, not sure of the exact age, maybe 10-12.  I remember that there was a kid’s library card. It meant that I could only check books out of the children’s section of the library.

I remember that when I got older, I wanted to be able to take books out from anywhere in the library. The librarian took out a form that my mother signed.

A special sticker was put on my card that meant I could take books out from the rest of the library. I remember feeling very grownup and proud that I wasn’t limited to the children’s section anymore.

Stacey Pilson, Librarian- Electronic Sources @ Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP


I grew up in a vibrant working class immigrant community in Queens, NY where the library was at the center of the community. My parents immigrated from Panama, so growing up we spoke mostly Spanish at home.

The local library was not just a place for fun for us  (although there was tons of it: summer reading program competitions, a trip to the amazing New York Public Library, martial arts classes, and much more): it was a tool that helped our family assimilate to American culture and access the English language.

My mother took my brother and I on trips the library several times a week, where she often checked out English language learning materials and reading workbooks to ensure my brother and I had equal access to learning. We loved exploring the encyclopedia section, to learn more about the various states within the U.S., which is so immense in comparison to the tiny isthmus my family is from. My passion for reading, writing and research stems from these early memories of our local library and the resources it provided to the community, and am thankful to the librarians that supported my family.

Katherine Simms, Research & Knowledge Analyst @ Eversheds Sutherland

Let’s hear it for the Queens! Is it the Queens Borough Bridge… or is that the 59th St. Bridge.. or the Ed Koch Queensborough Bridge, lol! NYPL image

My Library Chair

It was Saturday afternoon. I went to my usual spot in the middle of the 1907 Carnegie Library located in my hometown of Georgetown, Guyana. I wanted to sit in the corner of the small Reference Room of about 25 chairs and 10 tables. I got to the library and my accustomed seat was occupied. This chair was near the regular collection, but in the Reference Room. It was in a space where it was easy to access both collections.

I was not going to leave. I waited in the back of the Reference Room, close to the open window, and sat on the polished wooden floor. There, I grabbed an Encyclopaedia Britannica on the topic of interest and read while I waited. The books were old, and their musty smell blended with the wood, and the floral smell that came in through the windows. Reading while keeping watch for the occupant to leave my library chair.

He left. I quickly got up and walked over to my particular chair. There I stayed all the remainder of the afternoon. At closing time, 6:00 pm, I left satisfied. So much fun with so many books to enjoy.

—Pauline C. Webster; Technical Services Librarian @ Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

“A favorite library memory?   That’s a hard question as I have so many in my long career.   Perhaps I should start with the earliest one – receiving a certificate for being a library helper when I graduated from grammar school.  It was a truly significant event in my life, the beginning of a long, fulfilling career that has given me many more great memories as a librarian in government, academia, and a law firm. ”

===Mark Zaleck; Senior Legal Reference Librarian @ Davis Polk

Emily (“off with their Head”) Moog aka The Red Queen.... Brooke (“Alice”) Raymond & Lucy “Mad Hatter” Curci- Gonzalez draw the winning name

And the winner is .. as picked by Wonderland characters…. is Marshall Voizard! & here’s his favorite library memory….

My favorite library memory may be a book club meeting we had at the NY Law Institute back in 2019. We discussed White Shoe, a book near to my heart because it documents the history and rise of the corporate law firm, and by proxy, the private firm law librarian. We were joined the book’s author, John Oller, and had a great discussion.

Marshall Voizard; Senior Research Analyst @ Holland & Knight

Many thanks to all those who participated by sharing memories. ! Libraries… and Librarians! .. have a special place in our heart… worthy of remembering & celebrating.