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On View

Rule No. 5

February 27, 2023 - Ongoing
Atrium, Bobst Library, 1st Floor

“A library is a growing organism,” reads the fifth “rule” of library science as penned in 1931 by S.R. Ranganathan, widely considered to be the father of library science. In a world where “library” and “book” have taken on vast new meanings it’s the last of Ranganathan’s five guiding principles that prompts us to continuously respond to our environment and deeply interrogate the ways we curate, collect, organize, and preserve information for generations to come.

Created by Amanda Belantara & A.M. Alpin, Rule No. 5 is a collaboratively-created work that centers the voices of library workers as they reveal to listeners the magical, mysterious, complicated, and controversial world of libraries. Through six interactive sculptures, Rule No. 5 examines practices and objects that shape how we can search, who we will find, and what we remember. This interactive audio experience invites participants to open doors and drawers, plug in, and push buttons to explore and contemplate what it means to collect the world’s knowledge, preserve the past, and shape the future.


Dates: Ongoing
Bobst Library, Atrium

This site-specific, sound-art installation debuted in late 2019 and has been re-launched in the Bobst Library. Composed by Elizabeth Hoffman, the installation drew upon entry data from Bobst turnstiles—anonymized records of the number of persons who entered Bobst each hour on selected dates coinciding with the four lunar quarters of each month.

Learn more about the RETU(R)NINGS sound-art installation.

No Turning Back: Ten Years After Occupy

Dates: Ongoing
Online Exhibition

This exhibition is organized around Occupy Wall Street’s Declaration of the Occupation of New York City and thirteen exhibition themes, both of which point to central issues within the movement. While the Declaration was drafted by the Call to Action Working Group and ratified by the New York City General Assembly (NYCGA) on September 29, 2011, the themes were identified, authored, and presented by the curators of this exhibit.

Recent Exhibition History

Sylvia & Sylvia: Black Women Behind the Music

September 8 – January 11, 2023
Avery Fisher Center for Music & Media, Bobst Library, 7th Floor

The Sylvia & Sylvia exhibition in our Avery Fisher Center for Music and Media pays homage to Sylvia Robinson and Sylvia Rhone—two women whose names are far less known than those of the artists they championed.

Learn more about the Sylvia & Sylvia: Black Women Behind the Music exhibition.

*This Is Not A Drill*

September 28, 2022 - December 4, 2022
Mamdouha Bobst Gallery, Bobst Library, 1st Floor

At the dawn of the new 20’s, we are seeing a major shift in public perception around issues of equity and the climate emergency, paired with the reckoning that traditional ways of approaching these kinds of issues have led to failure. There is vast potential to shape not just policy interventions, but to help birth new and more equitable ways of knowing what the issues are, where they come from, and how they can be addressed. Artistic imagination and creative ways of learning and knowing are crucial for avoiding the binary traps of techno-optimism or -skepticism which so often lead to paralysis. This is the focus of *This Is Not A Drill*.

Learn more about the *This Is Not A Drill* exhibition.

Portable Devices, 1574–1998: Notebooks from the NYU Special Collections

April 12 – June 21, 2022
Special Collections Gallery, Bobst Library, 2nd Floor

This exhibition explores ways in which people stored and managed information prior to the computer age. From the vellum-bound recipe book of a seventeenth-century English housewife to the pink notebook of a twentieth-century American diplomat, the examples display a variety of material forms and organizational schemes. Then as now, notebooks were a powerful device for learning, planning, negotiating, managing, cooking, and remembering.

Learn more about Portable Devices.

Ceremonial Techne

October 19, 2021 – May 31, 2022
Mamdouha Bobst Gallery, Bobst Library, 1st Floor

Ceremonial practice and rituals play a vital role in our lives: compulsive hand washing during the pandemic, a hushed prayer, vows of matrimony. All involve a participatory element that both consumes the mind and frees it. Ceremonial Techne is NYU Libraries’ inaugural artist-in-residence exhibition, created by xtine burrough and Sabrina Starnaman in collaboration with burrough’s media arts studio, LabSynthE. The exhibition asks the viewer for complete immersion in a world of ceremony and invites participation in the ritual of art.

Learn more about the Ceremonial Techne exhibition.