February 17, 2018

Raymond Pun | Movers & Shakers 2012 — Change Agents

Outside the Lines

Raymond Pun Movers & Shakers 2012


Periodicals Librarian
New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Periodicals Division

MLS, Queens College, CUNY, 2010

7, including Japanese, Arabic, and American Sign Language


Photo ©Sean McGinty Photography LLC

Luckily for the patrons of the New York Public Library (NYPL), a compelling undergraduate history class with a research component derailed Raymond Pun’s plans to become a bankruptcy attorney. A visit to the library’s oral history archives to read suffragist newspapers on microfilm placed him on a path from NYPL intern to periodicals librarian in five years.

In 2008, Pun approached Elaine Carey, the St. John’s University history professor who instigated his love of research, offering to teach undergraduates how to conduct research at NYPL and other cultural institutions. Besides conducting workshops for the students who are mainly first-generation Americans and the first in their families to go to college, “he mentors them for the entire semester,” says Carey, one of Pun’s three M&S nominators. The St. John’s program, which is now expanding to include archives and special collections, has been recognized by the Teagle Foundation and National History Center for encouraging undergraduates to conduct research in New York City cultural institutions. It is a mark of Pun’s success reaching students, says Carey, that students seek him out even after the semester is over.

As a child of immigrants who don’t speak English at home, Pun struggled in school at first, not catching up until he was a teenager. He credits the library, which he considered another home, with “providing reading materials that challenged my mind and improved my self-esteem.” Pun’s background also gives him an understanding of NYPL’s diverse clientele, including those who might be intimidated by its ­holdings.

The first public program Pun organized reflected his international perspective (he’s participated in two study-abroad library programs). It celebrated the centennial anniversary of The Book of Khalid, a novel by Arab American writer Ameen Rihani, a first edition of which is owned by NYPL. According to L. Mark (jewlicious.com), another nominator, Pun “goes out of his way to organize events that leverage library assets, even though they may be out of the scope of his specific job position.”



  1. There’s nothing out there that scares Raymond!!! :) He’s the most inspiring librarian I know and I’m so lucky to be his friend!

  2. Dana Gerschel says:

    Congrats Ray! Well deserved!

  3. Bill Blick says:

    Ray, you inspire me as well. I always admired your various projects and talking library-shop with you when were in classes together.
    Way to go!

  4. I have never met you but I am from Queens and I’m inspired by your story! Kudos!

  5. Adrienne Chamberlin says:

    Bravo, Ray! You are brilliant and have more energy and enthusiasm for what you do than anyone I know!! Congratulations! :)

  6. Tri Nguyen says:

    Congratulations on your achievement.

  7. As one of the St. John’s professors who has had the opportunity to bring my students to the library tours and workshops led by Ray and his colleagues, I am pleased to see him get this recognition. He is one of the library’s best assets.

  8. Hey, it’s Jennie’s friend Ray! Congratulations. This is great recognition for what sounds like great work.

  9. Lisa Philpotts says:

    A great librarian and a great person! Congratulations, Ray!

  10. Congrats ray!!! lol you have proven me wrong! librarians do have a fun and exciting life!

  11. Denise Lyles says:

    Congratulations to Raymond Pun, you’ve been a mover and shaker since I’ve known you. Keep up the excellent work. You inspire me.

  12. amazing.