NYC Records & Information Services

Municipal Library Notes - November 2019
Spotlight on Elections



By Christine Bruzzese, Director, Municipal Library

November 5 was Election Day for 2019. Traditionally the first Tuesday after November 1 is when Americans vote for the candidates of their choice for political offices.

The New York City Board of Elections was established in 1901, replacing the Bureau of Elections. Here is an excerpt from the Board of Elections Annual Report of 1917 with results for Mayor and Comptroller among others:

Board of Elections Annual Report of 1917 - Election Results
Board of Elections Annual Report of 1917 - Election Results

Note the distribution of “war ballots” to those serving in the armed forces during World War I.

This page from the 1989 Annual Report shows the results of that year’s Mayoral election. David N. Dinkins became the first African-American to be elected Mayor of New York City.

Board of Elections Annual Report of 1989 - Mayoral Election Results

The New York City Campaign Finance Board was instituted in 1988 through a city voter referendum. This independent agency ensures that private money for political campaigns is limited, by providing matching public funding. The Campaign Finance Board also provides voter guides, public disclosure reports of candidates’ campaign finance information and various other reports for the public interest.

A Decade of Reform describes the first 10 years of the Board’s mission.

A Decade of Reform Cover

Fact Sheet from 1997 elections published in the report:

Fact Sheet from the 1997 elections

New Yorkers Make Their Voices Heard: a Report on the 2009 Elections was a later publication.

Information on contributions and expenditures of candidates for Public Advocate:

Information on contributions and expenditures of candidates for Public Advocate


Vertical File Feature on Consumer Information

By Christine Bruzzese, Director, Municipal Library

The Department of Consumer and Worker Protection began as Department of Consumer Affairs in 1969 with the mission of protecting the public from fraudulent and deceptive business practices. The agency consolidated business licensing and inspection functions along with consumer protection. The agency continues that work today under its new name Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, name change effective January 2019.

Vertical files in the Municipal Library contain some consumer information leaflets and booklets dating from the 1970’s to the 1990’s.

A pamphlet on Shopping Rights from 1983 in five different languages.

A pamphlet on shopping rights from 1983 in five different languages

“A Beginner’s Guide to Buying a Computer” from approximately 1995:

'A Beginner's Guide to Buying a Computer' from approximately 1995.
'A Beginner's Guide to Buying a Computer' from approximately 1995.

These are just a few examples of what can be found.


PaperFree NYC Initiative

By Tobias Zimmerman, Director, PaperFreeNYC Initiative

The PaperFree NYC Initiative (PFI) was established by the Department of Records and Information Services (DORIS) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to study agencies’ utilization of paper and recommend strategies for reducing paper use in order to implement Mayoral Directive 2015-3. This directive is part of a citywide effort to reform and modernize the City’s recordkeeping policies and practices. Specifically, PFI is tasked with reducing the amount of paper records currently on hand, and recommending strategies for digital recordkeeping going forward. To fulfill this mandate, PFI is investigating the City’s current recordkeeping practices. The next steps will involve preparing specific recommendations for developing and implementing a digital recordkeeping system for future use.

One of the initial challenges faced by PFI is to simply locate and identify the estimated 3 million boxes of paper-records already held by the City. To achieve this goal, PFI has been coordinating with OMB and the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to inspect leased warehouses throughout the City and is working with the DORIS Records Management Division to improve the tracking and reporting of data about the City’s paper-record holdings.

PFI is also gathering information about the City’s current information technology systems and is seeking to engage various stakeholders on the long-term need to develop interoperable systems that will support the unified records management practices envisioned by the Mayoral Directive.

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