Construction Progress Report, 18 October 2015

Yes, we’re overdue to re-open!


Our move-in dates have been postponed until November, but with good reason—to accommodate a special project in the new space.

Volunteer Raimond Flynn of New Paltz, NY, gathered together a small group of donors who wanted to artistically enliven the space, and they are funding the project in entirety. More information and photos will follow in our next blog entry.

Note to local members: please do not come to get a preview of the space this week, as it is disruptive to those working on the project. Thank you.

Painters applying the final finish coat to the walls on October 12.

Facility fundraiser update: 91 members and friends have donated $11,625 toward rent and utility costs for the next two years. Thank you to all our donors who have helped to make our re-opening possible.

Our new Friends of the Rudolf Steiner Library in the Berkshire-Taconic region held their second meeting on October 15. Members will be helping to coordinate our open-house celebration scheduled for Saturday afternoon, November 28, 1-4 pm. This a drop-in event, so please come by if you’re in the area.

On the morning of Nov. 28, 10-12 noon, we will also hold a review conversation of library committee work over the past two years, based on our survey conducted this past summer.

Once we are moved into the space, there will be plenty of unpacking and re-shelving of materials to do. If you have time to volunteer, please contact Judith Kiely at

Artist Robert Logsdon at work on the special project.



Library Construction Update, 17 September 2015

Progress on our new space at the Greenport Town Plaza, 351 Fairview Avenue, Hudson, NY, continues apace, and we hope to re-open in October.


Once the new HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system is installed, the 14-foot dropped ceiling can be closed up, and what’s left to do is install the electrical outlets, clean and polish the tiled floor, and wire the space for internet. Then we move in, and you get to start borrowing books again!


[Photo: Library staff member Nadia Bedard in the doorway of our new office.]

Our immediate neighbors in the plaza include a chiropractic treatment center, with whom we will share an entryway and lavatories, and the studio of artist Robert The
who is known for his gun-books and other sculptures made from discarded books.

The Periodicals Service Company suppliers of back issues of out-of-print periodicals—another endeavor of our busy Premier Riverview landlord Robert Koskey— has offices in the front of the building and warehouse in the rear. Also in the rear is Premier Brands of America suppliers of foot care, health, and beauty products.

Additional tenants include the new Hudson Carpet One Floor & Home store next to the existing Brands Farm Thrift Store; and of course the Price Chopper supermarket at the far end of the plaza. You can combine a shopping trip with your library visits.

With the budget cuts recently announced by society treasurer Jack Michael, we need your financial support more than ever. Please donate online at

Thank you for all your contributions!

Library Construction Progress Report, 16 August 2015

On August 13 Raimond Flynn, Nathaniel Williams, and I visited 351 Fairview Avenue in Hudson to view the progress on our new library space. Nathaniel and Raimond have been instrumental in securing our new location in the Berkshire-Taconic region.

We were pleased to see the many developments:

  • all exterior walls, along with the meeting room and interior office have been framed, and most of the sheet-rocking completed
  • the shared entryway with lavatories has been framed, and the sewer line installed
  • the front windows and door have been cut out.

Here’s a view from just inside the space, by one of the new front windows. The emergency exit door you see will be filled in, and a new 6-foot doorway will be installed to the left of this existing door.


In the photo it looks positively leafy outside beyond the dumpster, but don’t be fooled. Beyond that one tree is an enormous asphalt parking lot whose future the property owners have not yet decided upon. Send us your ideas, and we’ll share them with our landlord.


Unlike at the carriage house in Harlemville and our temporary location in Philmont, parking will be ample as you can see; and we won’t have any hazardous hills to contend with in the winter—all the more reason to come visit when we re-open this fall!

Thank you again for your support.
Donations may be made online at:

Library update: Re-opening Fall 2015

Coming Fall 2015 — Our new location at 351 Fairview Ave, Hudson, NY


The library is still closed, but our staff is eagerly looking forward to re-opening in the fall
of 2015.

We will be moving to 351 Fairview Ave, Suite 610, Hudson, NY, 12534, as soon as the construction of our 2500-square-foot suite is completed. Our new landlord, Premier Riverview LLC, has begun construction of the space, which will be part of a mixed-use plaza.

Our local Berkshire-Taconic community has so far donated nearly $10,000 to help fund the cost of rent and utilities at the new space for 2015-16. That’s $1800 more than we appealed for this year, so these additional donations will be set aside to fund facility expenses for 2016-17.

Thank you for all your support and your patience!

We will be posting updates on the construction as it progresses, and plan to have a re-opening celebration once we get settled in.

Check our online catalog for the new books that will be available when we re-open.

Although we’ve had to change the shelving layout, here’s the floor plan of our new space.
We hope you will visit us when we re-open in the fall.




Temporarily closed

The Rudolf Steiner Library is temporarily closed; we hope to resume lending and research services within a few months. All materials currently checked out have been renewed.
If you need to return your books now, our mailing address is:
Rudolf Steiner Library, PO Box 800, Philmont NY 12565-0800.
Our phone number will not be in service while we are closed; you may contact the librarian at
Thank you for your patience, and we look forward to being able to serve you again soon!

GERMINAL CELLS – reflections on our first work week

“Little thoughts will get us nowhere, so we must pluck up the courage to think big thoughts.”    ~ Rudolf Steiner

Germinal Cells are all that physically remain of a caterpillar in the midst of metamorphosis.  Small clusters of cells swim in a sea of liquid, enclosed in the cocoon.   The form of the butterfly will manifest upon this foundation.  Nature’s wisdom lies with the beings that stand behind her forms.  Contraction, dissolution, redistribution, flow, movement and unconditional surrender to the process are part of metamorphosis.  This is the image I hold when I consider the Library in this time of transition.  We know its present form quite well, but its future form is still a mystery.  The being(s) that stand behind the library guide a process to which we surrender our preconceived ideas, our beloved, and habituated forms, trusting that the ‘germinal cells’ of the library will remain to hold the center.   This became very clear to me during the library’s recent Youth Section work week.


Fresh from the inspiring InPower conference in Spring Valley, these young men and women spent a week at the library, repairing books, discussing non-violent transformation and the future of the library.   Accomplished in their own rights, as musicians, educators, scholars, social reformers and initiators, it was heartening and touching to experience their collective energy, the freshness of their perspectives, their enthusiasm and commitment to bring anthroposophy into practical life.   We accomplished a great deal in terms of book repair, but more importantly we conversed about the future of the library with a generation through whom that future will manifest.

“Sending many books off to the book sale and removing all but the most helpful of old markings felt like a controlled forest burn or deadheading of garden flowers. The library is poised for new growth, though the specific forms have not yet sprouted. What intangible deeds underlie this transformation? With what forces are we working when we care for these old books and the space that now houses them? There is an amazing archive of writings in the library, the documented heritage of our movement, and it must be living.”  ~Elizabeth Roosevelt

Wonderful social events filled the week: community dinners, conversations amidst beautiful waterfalls and natural beauty, shared meals among participants and library staff, and more.   The week’s theme engaged a global perspective; and one could see  how it related to regional, local and even personal matters.  Non-violent transformation.  How are forms and relationships changed while holding to the sacred integrity of the other?  To the necessity of the relationship?  How has humanity made the large transitions from violent overthrows and resistance to non-violent, socially dynamic, life-affirming processes of change?   How will we change ourselves and our own relationships through processes that value and recognize the inherent integrity of individual destiny and freedom?  It is a fitting theme within which to also explore the library’s transition.

“We gathered to brainstorm and prototype possible future forms and processes for the library. We wondered how this library could be renewed, revitalized, transformed. It is currently funded by the Anthroposophical Society in America and membership fees.  We wondered how the library could connect the books to the people who need them, who will use them, regardless of cost. How can we get the books to the people who will take the information in them and transform it into living knowledge within themselves? How can Anthroposophy become living knowledge within human beings, rather than stagnate and calcify…What form is needed? What processes would bring life and vitality to this organism? Many beautiful and creative ideas were put forward.”  ~Olivia Hanna

“We searched for certain common qualities that nonviolent actions and resisters seem to share. I noticed how leaders seem willing to commit to giving everything, even their lives, for the sake of gaining equality for their brothers and sisters….I wonder how I can connect with this truth forceand place of fearlessness within myself and apply it to what comes towards me out of the future in my own life?” ~Olivia Hanna

 YS work week gorge jump

The shared work of repairing books created an atmosphere imbued with intentionality, focus, rhythm and peace.   It invited dialogue, inspired questions, drew forth ideas and reflections, and brought diverse perspectives into relationship.  The ghosts of former readers resurfaced, through notes in the margins and underlined sections of text, offering questions and questings from past generations to the present.  It became clear that group engagement with the collection was an important aspect of keeping the dialogues alive and relevant, of bringing new life into concepts once delivered and codified many years ago.

“As we erased anonymous underlining in old books, striking phrases jumped off the page and echoed around the table. Through whose hands had these pages passed?Encountering each book, we wondered about its history and its previous readers”.  ~Elizabeth Roosevelt

In the picking up and sifting through of books and manuscripts, there was a space made open for questions to sprout and ideas to blossom.”  ~James Kuhn

Many participants expressed how wonderful it was to work together like a buzzing beehive, how enjoyable it was to work with their hands and craft something with care and attention to detail. I found this way of working together very nourishing and I wonder how this type of work can be expanded and applied to other project areas to create healthier communities where we can freely give our work to create something beautiful together.” ~Olivia Hanna


Relationship, community, conversation, connection, these are perhaps the “germinal cells” around which the new form of the library will manifest.   Can one unite inwardly with the process?  Can one offer outer support?   It can be as small as a donation, a “share” on social media, or a letter outlining your thoughts for relevancy in a quickly changing world.   You can come for a few hours when visiting the area, or join us for a work week and spend 20+  hours repairing books while participating actively in the processes forming the future.

One question that still burns in me is: WHO? Who is going to take these ideas and transform them into reality? Who is actually going to commit and do the work? I sensed that those of us sitting in the circle were inspired in some way to hold the library in our consciousness and to participate in small and large ways towards renewing it. Working on the books helped me to feel connected to the specific collection there. I am now curious to see what will happen with it, to stay in touch. I wonder how my generation….will be able to work with and renew the Anthroposophical organizations that exist, many of which were guided and guarded by individuals in the past who gave decades of their lives to caring for these social organisms.”    ~Olivia Hanna

The August and September work weeks hold the same promise as the Youth Section work week.  Participants will have opportunities to interact more deeply with the collection, meet and discuss significant matters related to the role books play in our biographies and the dissemination of ideas in the world, and support and participate in the transition with human will, intention, and openness to what is streaming toward us from the future.  It is an exciting time at the library.   We certainly hope you join us in the process.

I am grateful for having been able to participate in the library week. It seemed that, as participants, we were fed by the same forces of renewal that we strove to bring to this place.”  ~Elizabeth Roosevelt


  DSCN0514 library open doors

Lisa Damian

For more information on how you can participate in the RS Library transition, check out the August Work Week, the September work week, Book Repair Workshop, or fill out the Volunteer Form.

Our History

This notice was in the Anthroposophical Movement in America journal, Vol 1 #4. Easter 1928. (Click on it to see a larger version)

The Library’s opening announcement 86 years ago. In that time the library has grown from 60 books to 36,000 books, pamphlets, audio and video recordings, and various other treasures. A pretty incredible history.


Gearing up!

Spine repair

Well, things are underway at the library. We’re getting all the journals ready for digitization and getting all our systems in place for cleaning and repairing the books. We’ll be replacing spines and hinges, repairing corners and whole covers, tipping in individual pages, binding pamphlets, perhaps even de-acidifying some of the most brittle, but important books. How does one do all these things?

Last weekend was our first training in the repair work and it was a real joy. Maurice, who had a book-repair business locally for a couple years, gave Judith and me a basic tutorial. Now it’s time to practice on the very worst books (the give-aways, of which we have quite a few… we’ve been weeding our collection) and also get some additional training at the Camphill Copake bookbindery. By the time we open our doors for work parties later this month, and then for work weeks this summer, we should be all ready. Hope you can join us!

– Seth

Town Hall Meeting

Below is a video of one of the three “Town Hall” meetings that the library hosted online between February 8th and 9th. In it we discuss the history of the library, the new vision that’s forming, and the types of partnerships that the library is seeking within the anthroposophical community. The Town Hall is an invitation to hear what’s going on and to get involved! We received great commentary and questions from those who attended which we will organize and share, in the near future, as seeds for further conversation. As a follow-up to the Town Halls, we will begin engaging associations, institutions, and communities who are interested in becoming partners in creating the new vision for the library. Over the next two months we will be gathering together everything we’ve learned from the Town Hall meetings, last fall’s member survey, online conversations from the blog and social media, our meetings with potential partners, and the many conversations we’ve had, and will continue to have, with the whole anthroposophical community. From all of these thoughts we will form a basic proposal for a new, sustainable structure for the library – an agile structure that can continue to be built up and engaged by the larger community as we move forward – and a bit of a road map on how that engagement will look. Please watch the video and join in the process! The library has great potential at this moment. It can be a house where all our anthroposophical work is actively living, a place where we continually return in order to meet each other and build this work anew. And we are the ones who will imagine what that house looks like and how wide its walls are. We welcome your thoughts, time, and talents!