Anthony Marx *86 *90 (Jonathan Blanc/NYPL)
As a child, Anthony Marx *86 *90 spent after-school hours studying and reading at a neighborhood library in Inwood, near the northern end of Manhattan. His educational path took him from the New York City public schools to an undergraduate career at Yale, on to South Africa in his 20s, where he helped found a secondary school, and eventually to Princeton, where he earned a master’s degree from the Woodrow Wilson School and a Ph.D. in politics. Now Marx, the president of Amherst College, is returning to his hometown -- and its libraries -- to take on a new challenge as president and CEO of the New York Public Library (NYPL). The move, announced Oct. 6, will become effective in July 2011.
In an introductory news release, Marx spoke glowingly about New York's libraries and the ways in which they help "millions of people learn, explore, and become more active participants in our democracy." As NYPL president, he will play an important role in providing access to library resources at 86 local branches.
“Libraries are at the core of our values as a civilization and as a city," Marx told WNYC last week
. "We need to make sure the library not only continues to exist, but that it continues to be a center of educational life, and informed life, and of citizenship and enlightenment, at a time when all that seems to be much more threatened than I would have guessed.”
Marx taught politics at Columbia University for 13 years before leaving to lead Amherst in 2003. He takes over the NYPL post from another past college president, Paul LeClerc, formerly head of Hunter College, who led the library system for 17 years.
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