On June 16, 2012 a cadre of curious and skeptical librarians visited the Livingston Masonic Library in NYC and were wonderstruck by the location, design, artifacts, and print collections. Interested in the masons? In order to visit the library, one must be a mason or have a legitimate research need. However, daily tours of the Grand Lodge make a stop in the library’s gorgeous reading room. Library Director and Mason, Tom Savini, led us on a comprehensive tour of the library, gallery, and archives, answering in-depth all of our questions about masonic history and traditions, informed by his 30+ years with the organization. The Desk Setters describe it best themselves:
“Touring the Livingston Masonic Library was like being led into a secret series of rooms. It’s incredible to think that it’s actually open to the public!”
“Visiting this Library/Archive was truly an exceptional adventure! One of my fascinations with the world of Information Science is the exceedingly varied types of collections collected. A collection such as this one takes a simple spark of an idea- a confident idea that these items, no matter how obtuse (or in this case secret-sensitive), are important to our cultural history and therefore would be an asset to the public. The Director we spoke with was extremely knowledgeable and explained the history/mystery of the Masons in a way that both educated the audience and maintained the traditional brotherhood of the Masons intact.”
“I thought the tour of the Livingston Masonic Library was one of the most rewarding experiences in my 25 years as a librarian. I felt the Director was extremely generous by providing a detailed one and half hour tour, which included reviewing unique reference sources and artifacts as well as discussing types of questions, the collection scope, and incorporating the history of the masons throughout. I also think that the Director’s perspective as a mason himself made the tour even more fascinating and a richer experience overall. I was very excited when I found out that I was one of the lucky 15 librarians to attend this tour and I don’t think I had any set expectations, but if I had, they would have been far exceeded.”
“I really loved the tour. I have a fascination with hidden places and old libraries, so this was about perfect. The head librarian seemed like a very sharp guy. He knew his collection very well, spoke confidently and yes, did much to persuade me that Freemasonry was not an evil cult. [Joke! Some of my best friends are Freemasons!] I will probably return for the full building tour.”
Thanks Char, Gina, Kevin, and Janine!