The New APRLibrary

by Lloyd A. de Vries, VSC
The new facilities of the American Philatelic Research Library in Bellefonte, Pa., are up and running. The Virtual Stamp Club visited October 28th, the day before the ribbon-cutting ceremony.  This is a quick and by no means comprehensive look:newaprl01The exterior of the building, which the APRL shares with the American Philatelic Society, The APRL is the owner and leases space to the APS, which in turn provides services. newaprl09The old library space, in “Building 1,” is now being rented to Centre County Democrats.newaprl02The main entrance to the Library. newaprl03Staffer Fred Baumann at the Circulation Desk newaprl04The Reference Desk on the first floor. newaprl05This is the children’s area. The table and chairs are, well, child-size. newaprl06The company making the chairs called the APRL before burning the design into the chair backs: “Do you know the airplane is upside down?” newaprl07The main floor reading area. newaprl08The second floor atrium. In 2001 or 2002, when the APS and APRL were considering buying the “Match Factory,” I was up in the second floor loft area, where there was not much of a floor and what there was wasn’t terribly safe. I saw the view out the end of the building and said, “Wow. This is going to be something some day.” It is.

Here are a few more photographs: newaprl23Our tour of the new facility was conducted by librarian Scott Tiffney (correct spelling). This photo was taken on the second floor in the less-public areas containing material that is less in demand. newaprl12A reading desk on the second floor. newaprl13The upstairs reference desk, usually staffed by the Technical Resources library, Betsy Gamble. Pay particularly attention to the potted plant on the left. You’ll see why below.

The Dedication (Saturday, October 29th): newaprl17People awaiting the start of the ceremony. How many do you know? newaprl15newaprl14newaprl10Music before the ceremony was provided by bagpiper Betsy Gamble, the APRL’s Technical Services Coordinator. Why is she in the closet next to her usual station (to the right of the potted plant)? “People said I was too loud,” she told The VSC. newaprl16APS/APRL executive director Scott English speaking at the dedication. newaprl18Bob Lamb, who as executive director of the APS/APRL guided the acquisition of “The Match Factory” and its initial stages of renovation. newaprl19APS president Mick Zais (left) and APRL president Roger Brody cut the ribbon (of stamps, of course) to signify the dedication of the new facility. Behind them, from left, U.S. Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson; Mary-Anne Penner, Director of Stamp Services, U.S. Postal Service; English; Randy Brachbill, vice president, Bellefonte Borough Council (and husband of APS Director of Education Cathy Brachbill); Michael Pipe and Mark Higgins, Centre County Commissioners; and Lamb. newaprl24After the Library Dedication was the dedication of the Connie I. Swartz Reception Area, the main entrance to the American Philatelic Center. Swartz was a long-time employee of the APS/APRL, and was often the first contact for members and others when they called or wrote the two organizations. In the photo below, English presents a plaque to her in tribute to her long service. newaprl25newaprl20And then we took a walk on the beautiful Saturday afternoon to downtown Bellefonte for lunch, pausing in Talleyrand Park for a different view of the exterior of the American Philatelic Center. newaprl21Hard to believe much of the park was once a dump or yard for the lumber/home improvement company that occupied “the Match Factory” in the 1950s and 1960s, isn’t it? newaprl22And if you read this far, you heard it here first: There are rumors that the American Philatelic Center may expand some more, acquiring additional land. But not this park. It’s too beautiful.

Some thoughts on the opening of the new Library facility, by Lloyd A. de Vries, VSC

Diwali First-Day Ceremony (U.S. 2016)

Was there any doubt the Indian-American community wanted this stamp? If so, it was erased by the outpouring of emotion at the first-day ceremony for the Diwali stamp, held at the Indian Consulate in New York City on Wednesday, October 5, 2016. The upstairs room was packed; a downstairs room with video screens showing the ceremony upstairs was fairly full, too.

The Indian-American community campaigned for more than seven years for a Diwali stamp. “Diwali was the only major religion without a stamp,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., after announcing during the ceremony that already 100,000 copies of the stamp had been sold. “I predict this will be the biggest seller in the history of the Post Office Department.”

The lack of the stamp was a glaring omission, said Hardeep Singh Puri, India’s former ambassador to the United Nations toward the end of the more-than-60-minute ceremony. “How can this be the only group that is left out?” he asked rhetorically.

Now Hindus are not.

Here are some photos: diwali_salestruck1A postal sales truck and customer outside the Indian Consulate sold just the stamps, but without the lines at the sales table inside before the ceremony (below). diwali_salesThe sales table sold “philatelic collectibles,” too. This photo was taken more than a full hour before the ceremony was scheduled to begin. diwali_servicing2Servicing also began early, with two field pictorials. Foster Miller is the collector obtaining the cancels on the left. This was in the secondary room for those who had not pre-registered for the ceremony. The autographing was also to be held in this room after the ceremony. diwali_shelfI don’t know what this first-floor room (with the cancelers) was originally used for, but it had a convenient marble shelf in the back for affixing stamps to my Dragon Cards! Now if only I had picked the correct (more adept) canceler of the two. diwali_diyaAt the beginning of the ceremony, all the dignitaries — and there were far more of them than are listed in the ceremony program, and all of them spoke, too — were called forward for the lighting of diyas. diwali_dancersThere were several interludes of dancing by members of the Shaan Mutiyaaran Di Bhangra Club. (Photo above by VSC. Below, courtesy Daniel Alfala, U.S. Postal Service.)diwali_usps_dancersdiwali_andersen-bruceStamp design photographer Sally Andersen-Bruce was not listed on the program, not introduced earlier and not brought up for the diya-lighting, but was introduced during the ceremony and called up for recognition for her photograph on which the stamp design is based. Watch for a Virtual Stamp Club radio interview this weekend. diwali_usps_unveilAnd, of course, the unveiling of the stamp design. From left, I believe, former Indian Ambassador to the U.N. Hardeep Singh Puri, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Consul General Riva Ganguly Das, (the stamp design), USPS VP Pritha Mehra (partly hidden), Diwali Stamp Project chair Ranju Batra, U.S. Rep. Grace Chen, master of ceremonies and chair of the National Advisory Council for South Asian Affairs Ravi Batra. (Photo courtesy Daniel Alfala, U.S. Postal Service)diwali_usps_mehraSeveral speakers, but especially master of ceremonies Ravi Batra, expressed how pleased they were that the USPS had sent “one of our own” to be the “dedicating [postal] official” at ceremony: USPS VP, Mail Entry & Payment Technology, Pritha Mehra. (Photo courtesy Daniel Alfala, U.S. Postal Service)diwali_usps_ranjuRavi’s wife, Ranju Batra, spent seven years campaigning for this stamp, even speaking to the prime minister of India about it. She said at one point, a postal official advised her to forget the online petitions, because “e-mails don’t use stamps.” She got the message, and subsequent petitions and pleas were mailed in on paper. Ravi Batra is seated next to her. (Photo courtesy Daniel Alfala, U.S. Postal Service)diwali_usps_maloneyMaloney is seen here purchasing some of the Diwali stamp products at the sales booth inside the consulate. (Photo courtesy Daniel Alfala, U.S. Postal Service) diwali_usps_dasConsul General Riva Ganguly Das (Photo courtesy Daniel Alfala, U.S. Postal Service)diwali_usps_puri former Indian Ambassador to the U.N. Hardeep Singh Puri (Photo courtesy Daniel Alfala, U.S. Postal Service)

U.S. Scott Catalogue Update (October 2016)

s_apples5037 1¢ Albemarle Pippin Apple coil stamp
5105 (89¢) Henry James

5106 (47¢) Pets booklet stamp – Puppy
5107 (47¢) Pets booklet stamp – Betta fish
5108 (47¢) Pets booklet stamp – Iguana
5109 (47¢) Pets booklet stamp – Hamster
5110 (47¢) Pets booklet stamp – Goldfish
5111 (47¢) Pets booklet stamp – Kitten
5112 (47¢) Pets booklet stamp – Rabbit
5113 (47¢) Pets booklet stamp – Tortoise
5114 (47¢) Pets booklet stamp – Guinea pig
5115 (47¢) Pets booklet stamp – Parrot
5116 (47¢) Pets booklet stamp – Corn snake
5117 (47¢) Pets booklet stamp – Mouse
5118 (47¢) Pets booklet stamp – Hermit crab
5119 (47¢) Pets booklet stamp – Chinchilla
petsblock55120 (47¢) Pets booklet stamp – Gerbil
5121 (47¢) Pets booklet stamp – Gecko
5122 (47¢) Pets booklet stamp – Cat
5123 (47¢) Pets booklet stamp – Horse
5124 (47¢) Pets booklet stamp – Parakeets
5125 (47¢) Pets booklet stamp – Dog
a. Convertible booklet pane of 20, #5106-5125

5126 (47¢) Songbirds in Snow booklet stamp – Golden-crowned kinglets
5127 (47¢) Songbirds in Snow booklet stamp – Cedar waxwing
5128 (47¢) Songbirds in Snow booklet stamp – Northern cardinal
5129 (47¢) Songbirds in Snow booklet stamp – Red-breasted nuthatches
a. Block of 4, #5126-5129
b. Convertible booklet pane of 20, 5 each #5126-5129

s_startrek5130 (47¢) Patriotic Spiral coil stamp
5131 (47¢) Patriotic Spiral booklet stamp
a. Convertible booklet pane of 10

5132 (47¢) Star Trek – Starship Enterprise and Starfleet insignia
5133 (47¢) Star Trek – Crewman in transporter
5134 (47¢) Star Trek – Starship Enterprise and planet
5135 (47¢) Star Trek – Starship Enterprise, planet and Vulcan hand salute
a. Block or vert. strip of 4, #5132-5135