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New York Public Library President Receives Spanish Civil Order
Dr. Paul LeClerc was awarded the Order of Isabel La Católica by Spain's Minister of Culture Ángeles Gonzalez-Sinde Reig. Photo: Herb Scher.
NEW YORK, NY.- New York Public Library President Dr. Paul LeClerc was awarded the Order of Isabel La Católica by Spain's Minister of Culture Ángeles Gonzalez-Sinde Reig at a ceremony on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at The New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.

Dr. LeClerc was recognized for his dedicated promotion of Spanish culture, particularly language and literature, in the United States. In March 2009, Dr. LeClerc worked with Their Royal Highnesses, Felipe, Prince of Asturias, and Letizia, Princess of Asturias, came to New York to promote Spanish literature and reading in the United States. In addition, the New York Public Library’s catalogue includes over 1 million volumes in Spanish, and the NYPL has hosted many renowned Spanish authors including Elvira Lindo, Javier Marías, Antonio Muñoz Molina, and Antonio Soler.

“It is an exceptionally great honor to be a recipient of the Order of Isabel la Catolica and I am delighed to receive it on behalf of all of my colleagues, past and present, at The New York Public Library who have built both brilliant collections in the Spanish language and a comprehensive collection, spanning many centuries, of works by Spain's authors,” said Dr. LeClerc. “One of the highlights of my tenure at the Library was the privilege of hosting a visit by Their Royal Highnesses, Felipe, Prince of Asturias, and Letizia, Princess of Asturias, to the Library and showing them some of our greatest treasures from Spain. I would like to thank Spain's Minister of Culture, Ángeles Gonzalez-Sinde Reig, for conferring this prestigious honor.”

The Order of Isabel La Católica is a Spanish civil order granted in appreciation of services to Spain. The Order, not given exclusively to Spaniards, was created in 1815 by King Ferdinand VII of Spain in honor of Queen Isabella I of Castile. Juan Carlos I, King of Spain, is the Grand Master of the Order, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs is the Chancellor of the Order.

Paul LeClerc
Paul LeClerc, President and Chief Executive Officer of The New York Public Library, was born on May 28, 1941, in Lebanon, New Hampshire, the grandchild of French Canadian immigrants. Raised in Queens, he attended parochial schools there. LeClerc graduated from the College of Holy Cross in 1963 and spent the next academic year studying at the Sorbonne. Returning to New York City, he completed a Ph.D. in French literature with distinction at Columbia University, writing a dissertation on Voltaire, an author he was introduced to by a Jesuit at Holy Cross during his freshman year.

Dr. LeClerc became President and Chief Executive Officer of The New York Public Library on December 1st, 1993. The New York Public Library is broadly recognized as one of the preeminent libraries in the world, with collections now numbering some 55 million items. The New York Public consists of 90 libraries, which includes four research libraries, spread over 130 square miles of New York City, and serves a more varied set of constituencies and has the broadest mission of any library in the nation.

Under Dr. LeClerc’s guidance, The New York Public Library has implemented a targeted series of initiatives that have made it a world-wide leader in the field of information collecting and distribution. These initiatives, backed by a $724 million capital campaign that concluded in 2000, include: strategic alliances with the most important collections in Western Europe, South America, and Russia; creating for the public’s use one of the most advanced IT systems in any library; creating a robust web site that is presently receiving one billion “hits” per year and serving readers from 200 different countries (the web site is the most heavily used web site of any cultural organization in New York.); acquiring prestigious new collections for the research libraries and achieving substantial new public funding for branch library collections; systematic renovation and modernization of the Library’s historic buildings; and creating a new Center for Scholars and Writers at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue.

Dr. LeClerc is married to Dr. Judith Ginsberg, Executive Director of the Nash Family Foundation. Dr. Ginsberg is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brown University and received a doctorate in Spanish literature from CUNY Graduate Center using the facilities of The New York Public Library. They have a twenty-three-year-old son.

New York Public Library | Dr. Paul LeClerc | The Order of Isabel La Católica |


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