Neil Kelley posted a condolence
Friday, December 20, 2019
You were a force of nature my friend, your support and guidance helped Jim and I grow the services we provided to our patrons in Illinois for many years. The "Face Behind the Voice" tours we took statewide with 4 of the most prolific and popular narrators gave their listeners a chance to meet and speak with who many thought of as friends they spent hours with. They loved meeting them, and the narrators were moved at how personal their readings were to their fans. I remember the woman who said she took her favorite reader to bed with her whenever she could so she could have him read to her. As a friend in the network said " He was always frank, sometimes curt, but seldom silky". You guided NLS to evolve with technology, made the network better, and helped us be better. I can picture you on your Sunday walks sharing bird calls as you communed with nature. You are missed, thanks for the memories Neil Kelley
Charles .E Patton posted a condolence
Friday, June 14, 2019
Frank, though I did not know you, I know that those who did are blessed by your presense forever. " Peace be with you" Jesus
Anna Kowalchuk posted a condolence
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
A thank you to Poppy …from Anna Thank you for marrying Mary Zembrowski Cylke. You and she have been the best in-laws I could have imagined. Thank you for passing down the wedding ring to Mary, which was handed down to me by your son. Please know that I will pass this ring from your family down to the next generation. Thank you for sharing your wonderful son with me. He loves and respects you very much. Thank you for raising a man, your son, whom I love dearly. Thank you for reminding me to stay with this marriage when times got tough. Thank you for making me tap dance in your kitchen the first day I met you. Thank you for the many wonderful Thanksgivings and Christmases in your home. Thank you for teaching me not to hug you…but I do have evidence of a picture when I once succeeded. Thank you for teaching me how to hand shake properly. I, and thus you, have passed this along to my sons. I believe this hand shake has since helped me in more than one negotiation. Thank you for always remembering my birthday. You were often the first to call. Thank you for supporting my children, your grandchildren. They have always enjoyed your stories and your sense of humor and orientation to the world. You mean so much to them. Thank you for instilling the love of sailing in your son…and helping my sons to learn the craft. Each time Kurt sails, it brings him joy. Thank you for sharing a summer time vacation with my family in Connecticut together and for taking them to Mystic. Thank you for always asking about my parents. Thank you for picking me up from the Brogue that one time when I had too much to drink. Thank you for treating me to the Brogue on more than one occasion. Thank you for teaching me more about WWII and Hoagie Carmichael. Mostly, thank you for sharing your life with me. I am so the richer for knowing you. I love you. I will miss you. I promise to keep your memories alive. Love Anna
Hope posted a condolence
Sunday, May 5, 2019
My sincere condolences goes out to the family during this difficult time. May you find a measure of comfort in God's promise at Revelation 21:3,4 where we look forward to a time when there will be no more pain and death any more. JW.ORG
Reverend Sheryl Smith posted a condolence
Friday, May 3, 2019
I pray for your continued strength of this testing time of your faith. I worked as a secretary in the Director's office of NLS from 1990-2001, next to Alice. At the time I was in Christian Education at the Washington Bible College. I needed to complete a course that met during the day that conflicted with my working schedule. Although the Library allowed employees to take work-related courses, I thought it would be helpless to ask. On a quiet evening, Mr. Cylke must have overheard my dilemma from a telephone call. He asked me if this course I needed about my future career, and to give just a "Yes" or "No" answer. I said "Yes". The Library through Mr. Cylke's help, I was able to take the course. I became an ordained minister in 2009. I thought you should know. God Bless you
Steve Herman posted a condolence
Tuesday, April 23, 2019
I was very sorry to hear of Kurt's passing. I have just completed 45 years working at the Library of Congress, the first four of which were spent working for Kurt at Taylor Street. I was the first person that Kurt hired after he arrived at Taylor Street in 1973, so I owe my career at the Library of Congress to him. I have very fond memories of my time working for him from 1973-1977, when I moved to a position "downtown". However, we kept in touch throughout his years at LC. He will be missed.
Margaret Goergen-Rood purchased flowers
Monday, April 22, 2019
MaryBeth Wise purchased flowers
Monday, April 22, 2019
J.D. Hall posted a condolence
Monday, April 22, 2019
I am proud to have known Kurt professionally for 25 of the years he was the Director of the National Library Service for the Blind. He was always dedicated to his work and the concept of providing the best library service possible for the blind community. We only saw each other at conferences once every 2 years but even without a name badge he always knew who I was and where I was from, and he always took the time to talk to me, sometimes over lunch. He always made me feel like an old friend, even though he wasn't really. I was sad to see him leave NLS and I am even sadder to hear this news.
Lois Mandelberg posted a condolence
Sunday, April 21, 2019
I had the privilege to work for Mr Cylke for 14 years as Head of Production at NLS/BPH. Kurt was always supportive of innovative ideas and the march to the future. We started braille and recorded producer conferences to discuss the future of braille and recorded books and Kurt gave me the freedom to test out new ideas and pretty much let me fly with them. He was an interesting man to talk with and had deep love for his family and church. He will be missed by the people he served for so many years.
Victor A Schmidt posted a condolence
Sunday, April 21, 2019
Mr Cylke did a lot for the blind and NLS. He made NLS a great organization and a wonderful place to work. A memory I will always carry is ..one day he called me into his office saying he received a complaint about my work. He said that I know you are a great employee doing your work, and we (NLS) will therefore cancel this producer's contract. The world lost a wonderful boss!
Janet Styers Roberson posted a condolence
Sunday, April 21, 2019
I was a graduate student at Catholic University where Curt Cylke was an adjunct professor. I took his class on special librarianship. It changed my life. I had come to the proverbial "fork in the road" and Curt helped me choose the right path. The academic rigor, challenging discussions, and depth of knowledge Curt brought to the classroom prompted me to examine my career choices and explore new opportunities. Although I knew Curt for but a brief time, his impact on my life was profound and positive. I am thankful to have known him. My condolences to his family.
John & Karen posted a condolence
Friday, April 19, 2019
As a long time employee of LOC we are aware of Kurt’s devotion and commitment to his mission. Our deepest condolences.
ROMAN and ANISIA posted a condolence
Friday, April 19, 2019
DEAR MARY AND WONDERFUL FAMILY, Kurt entered our family when Kurt Jr. married Anna July 25, 1992. Before the wedding, we shared a few brews and got to know each other. Kurt was always there to celebrate my birthdays in Pennsylvania. How could you not get to love his stories and books. He wrote like a calligrapher. You could always recognize mail from him. It was like a trumpeted announcement. Whenever there was a family event, there was Kurt, dressed in suit and tie, no matter what time of year. We will miss your wisdom,Kurt, and your presence, and your tutoring, and your respect. May God watch over you, may He give you the huge sailboat you deserve to sail around the heavens and proclaim the huge importance of books to all.
Christina Wenks posted a condolence
Friday, April 19, 2019
Kurt inspired us working at the Library of Congress and those of us volunteering within our Great Falls, Virginia, community. Memories of his dedication remain an example for others. Our deepest condolences to his family.
Lynne Joyce Haslbeck posted a condolence
Friday, April 19, 2019
My deepest sympathy to Mary and the Cylke family. Kurt was a treasure to be cherished - intellectual sunshine. I always looked forward to his company. He was a consummate storyteller with an infectious laugh and enough mischief to bring a smile to my heart! His passionate belief in fairness and for what is good and honorable stays with me, as well as his love of language, both oral and written. His recommendations of a good and worthy read led me to countless journeys. I will miss you, Kurt. Love & Laughter always!
Yvonne French posted a condolence
Friday, April 19, 2019
Sincere condolences to the Cylke family. This interview is from Library Services Journal, Fall 2008, and includes the following: ". . . when I was nine years old . . . my mother took me by the hand and I walked into the Donald G. Mitchell Branch of the New Haven Public Library and found a book . . . " May heaven be the same. 09/01/2008 INTERVIEW Kurt Cylke: National Library Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped Tom Yee, assistant chief of the Cataloging Policy and Support Office of the Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access Directorate, recently talked with Kurt Cylke, director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, on his thirty-nine year Library career and the services provided by the NLSBPH. Kurt, what brought you to LC in 1970? Let me go back to two things. One, believe it or not, was a lifelong dream that some day I would work at the Library of Congress. I never thought that I would be involved with library services for the blind and physically handicapped, but I wished to be at the Library of Congress. The second thing was my meeting with two individuals who stand out to me as mentors, friends, and colleagues. In March 1968, I came to Washington to run the Library Research and Development Branch at what was then the Office of Education, now the Department of Education. I ran that branch for about a year or a year and a half. And in that time, I came into contact with two people whom I called “the Saints”: Dr. Elizabeth Stone, Betty Stone, who was the dean of the Catholic University library school, and Paul Howard, who was the founder of the American Library Association office in Washington, librarian at the Department of the Interior, and also of what is now called FLICC, the Federal Library and Information Center Committee, but was at that time called the Federal Library Committee. I was doing business with him: we made grants and awards, and so forth, and there were various studies that brought me in contact with both Paul and Betty. When Paul was retiring, he called and asked if I was interested in replacing him at the Library of Congress as the head of the Federal Library Committee. I shouldn’t be telling you this, but at first I said no. I felt that I needed a couple of years’ more experience at the Office of Education. But as I thought about the matter, it became clear that I didn’t really have a future at Education. So I made a call back the next day and said, “Yes, I’d like to come.” After one thing and another, I met Quincy Mumford, John Lorenz, and Elizabeth Hamer—they interviewed me. I remember specifically being interviewed at the Monocle, a Capital Hill restaurant. Wow, a lunch interview with the librarian, deputy librarian, and assistant librarian of Congress! What was that like? It was one of the most interesting interviews I ever had. Among other things, we discussed clamming in Connecticut because Quincy had a summer place in Connecticut and I had originally come from Connecticut. We discussed digging clams and whether we did it with our feet and our toes or dug them out with a shovel. I said I did it with my toes, and, as it turned out, so did he. I’d like to think that my toes brought me to the Library of Congress. I asked him why he asked that question, and he gave me an interesting answer, expressing an interview philosophy that I, myself, followed afterward. He said that obviously I was qualified for the job or I wouldn’t be having the conversation, so what he wanted to know was whether I could get along with him. After we talked about clamming, he decided that the answer was that I could. So that was that. The relationship with Paul Howard obviously preceded my arrival and, socially, continued afterwards. My relationship with Betty Stone, a very meaningful one to me, began during my twenty-five years of adjunct work at Catholic University, where I taught a course in special librarianship. While at the Office of Education I executed several contracts with Catholic University and the Library of Congress By 1970, I was head of the Federal Library Committee and also head of a joint task force with the national libraries of agriculture and medicine and the Library of Congress. That, too, is part of what brought me here. Well, then, what led up to your appointment in 1973 as director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped? Well, you don’t prepare for a job like the one I have. There is only one job like it in the United States. So one would be foolish to spend any time thinking about how you would get such a job until it became available. My predecessor here, who did a superb job, was a fellow named Robert Bray. Unfortunately, he developed a fatal illness and was forced to retire. This was tragic, but in consequence the position became open. I said to myself, “Well, should I apply?” I recalled an author whose books I collect, Arthur Ransome. I remembered a phrase from one of his novels. It says, “Grab a chance and you won’t be sorry for a might have been.” So after thinking about that a bit, I said, “What the heck, I’ll go for it.” I did, and I was successful. Quincy Mumford appointed me to the position and that’s how I arrived at Taylor Street. Looking at the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped right now, what is the extent and scope of the services it provides? Members of the blind community, until very recently, until the advent of the computer, had very limited opportunities to engage in many activities—I mean “regular” activities. And one of the activities that they enjoyed the most, and missed the most if they had sight before becoming blind, was reading. A reading program was established about seventy-seven or seventy-eight years ago to serve the adult blind community. Through the years it was modified so that it became available not only to the adult blind but also to the juvenile blind. Then in the late 1960s, physically handicapped individuals also were introduced into the program. So blind and physically handicapped are tied together as they relate to reading? Blindness means one cannot read print with correction (use of prescription eye glasses), and physically handicapped means one might have perfect eyesight but one can’t hold the book or turn the pages. Various situations, physical situations, could put you in that condition, including temporary situations. For example, if you had a detached retina and were required to lie in bed for a period of time, or if heart disease kept you in a hospital for a period of time, you would be eligible for help from the program. It also serves people who have such things as Parkinson‘ s disease, or, people who have been in military service and have lost limbs, conditions of that sort. So what do we at NLS do for them? Well, we make a public library service available. We have a collection of two million items for reading. Counting copies of books in multiple locations, we have more than twenty million copies of books around the country. We provide these books through a network of libraries, replicating the service of a library system in a medium-sized city in the United States. Regional libraries and sub-regional libraries actually provide direct service to our users. What is LC’s role? The Library of Congress selects the books, reproduces them in audio or in braille, and distributes these versions to a network of 140 libraries, which as I just mentioned provide the direct service. They provide not only the circulation of the books but also the reference service and the personal service that individuals may require. We provide a full range of public library services to a special community interested in receiving them. Carolyn Sung is the head of our network services section. Carolyn and her part of NLS work with the American Library Association. The other side of our program guided by Michael Katzmann, designs and contracts for the machines that make the program’s physical items work. I spend a great deal of my time working with or “interfacing” (though I don’t like that word I’ll use it) with the blind community. I’m involved with two organizations, the American Council of the Blind and the National Federation of the Blind. For almost forty years, I have spent every Fourth of July but one with the National Federation of the Blind at its annual conference because the conference is held in July, and the next week each year I’ve spent some time with the American Council of the Blind. One year when the meetings didn’t occur in July, I was home for the Fourth of July and was dumbfounded to see all that I had been missing. I didn’t realize that we had a parade in our town on the Fourth, and evidently my wife and family had a barbecue at my home each year and all my friends were there, but I never was. Anyway, that’s what we at NLS do—we select books, we reproduce the books in media that are appropriate, we ship them to libraries around the country, and the local librarians run the service. But doesn’t NLS now also provide digital services? Yes, at this point, we’re also providing an automated digital service. We have a digital download program for braille and we have a digital download program for audio. This is a major change. Unfortunately, only a minority of blind and handicapped people can take advantage of this, but the minority of people who can take advantage do so and love it. However, there’s nothing we make available to download that is not available also in hard copy braille or in cassette/cartridge audio form. In your thirty-five years as director of NLS, which programs have given you the most professional and personal satisfaction? When the program started out for adults only, we provided books in braille, paper braille, and audio recordings on 78-RPM records. Over time the audio went to 78, went to 33, and 33 went to 16, and the 16 went to 8⅓-RPM. My predecessor Bob Bray had experimented with wire recording. I don’t know if you’re old enough to remember the wire, but their use lasted a very short time for multiple reasons. For example, the sound was not particularly good, and also people could cut themselves hard with the wire. It was wire from reel to reel. We began recording on cassettes, but then we had copyright concerns. We recorded all the books with no financial remuneration to the authors and at that time we had to request permission to do. We had to keep track of our books so they could not be used by the general public. Eventually, we developed a compromise a cassette system with four sides, four tracks, in half speed. Each book was put on two and a half cassettes, on the average. Thus, the books could not be easily copied. The average threehundred- page book would get on two and a half cassettes. To produce such cassettes, we had to design a special machine, a soundrecording machine. Even when we had two versions of the machine, a standard machine and an “easy” machine, there still were buttons that had to be pushed and cassettes that had to be turned over, and it was quite awkward for users. The coming in of digital technology made the whole thing different. Realizing that digital was the future, we started about ten years ago to try to take advantage of it. In developmental work, we took some “wow” guesses, but the wow guesses were based on very serious research, and we determined that we were going to skip use of the compact discs because the compact disc is very fragile, it’s not robust at all. Blind people would have to handle it, and they could damage it by inadvertent scraping, and you can’t put braille on it, not very well, and compact discs also had other problems. So we skipped their use and went to what we call a “flash-memory” technology in which there are no moving parts. I’ve actually brought people here to try to explain to us how something can work with no moving parts, and I still don’t understand. But at any rate, we can put a full book on one “flash” (non-volatile, solid state media) the size of my thumb, and play it on a talking book machine, and that’s fantastic. Even better than that, the machine is designed to talk to users. You put it on and it says, “This is a talking book machine.” Then it tells you that if you want to use it, you push a certain button—this one is to go forward, this one is to go backward, and so forth—and it speaks to you. If you do something wrong, it says you’re naughty and shouldn’t do that. No, it doesn’t actually say that, but using the talking machine is as close to reading with print as you can get, because you can go backward, you can go forward, you can start again and pick up where you had stopped, you can bookmark, and you can go to specified chapters and pages, and so forth. It’s just a totally revolutionary thing. So what has given me the most enjoyment has been getting from the 8⅓-RPM record to the cassette—to the half-speed, fourtrack cassette—and now to the digital. Now, obviously I did not personally do all that. We have a staff that did that. We have been very fortunate to have highly qualified engineers. The chap who is in charge of that now is Michael Katzmann, the head of our engineering efforts. Michael has built a staff of engineers behind him; it’s those fellows who really do the job. Right now, we’re building a prototype of the flash-memory system. Any developments in the area of Braille? Braille is important, but only approximately 20 percent of the population we serve reads braille. Audio use is 95 percent. In other words, there are some people who are deaf and blind who can’t use the audio, so we produce braille books both in paper hardcopies (a normal book, say a novel, would take four braille volumes, each one maybe two-and-a-half inches thick) and also in a digital form, which people can download. In 1994 Dr. Billington cited you for providing exceptional service to visually and physically impaired persons. Outside of the services to the blind, what NLS services are available to people physically handicapped? Well, all the services. Very few people are totally blind in the United States or anywhere else in the world. Most are visually impaired. In other words, some may have “travel sight,” which means they can be mobile with the help of a cane but they cannot read standard print. Physically handicapped persons may be able to read standard print, maybe not, but most can’t hold a book or turn the pages. So all our services are available, but it’s really the audio services that physically handicapped individuals require rather than braille. Having received numerous awards over the years, such as the 1964 John Cotton Dana Award, the Golden Cassette Award for Library Partnership, awarded in 2007 by the Braille Institute of America, and the Robert Bray Award from the American Council of the Blind, also awarded in 2007, which award are you most proud of receiving and why? There are two. One is the Newel Perry Award from the National Federation of the Blind. As I told you, I’ve involved myself with both the American Council of the Blind and the National Federation of the Blind, and it’s a total involvement—some people say too much. In other words, I’m not blind, but I almost consider myself part of the blind community. We have arrangements in which I meet with the National Federation of the Blind at various times, and, also, I speak at their chapter meetings. This is very important. We get a great deal of criticism from the federation, and from the American Council of the Blind. When I say “criticism,” I mean positive criticism as well as negative criticism. And even the negative is very important because it alerts us to things we are not doing well. We have a blind employee, Judy Dixon, who received a doctorate in psychology. She is our consumer relations person, and sits in on all the meetings to make sure blindness is considered when making decisions. When we went seeking money to convert books for use in the digital program, the blind community was there to help us. They were there because they enjoyed and benefitted from the service. I was dumbfounded when they presented the Newel Perry award to me in 2005. I have it hanging on my office wall. It means a lot to me. It’s not just the award. It attests to relationships. Kenneth Jernigan, a leader of the blind who is deceased—with him I had a wonderful working relationship. Marc Maurer, who is now the president of the organization; John Paré, who is on National Federation of the Blind staff; and many others—I look at them as friends, as associates, almost as close as brothers. The wonderful thing is that if they don’t like something or something needs to be tweaked, they’re the first to tell me. Another award I prize is the American Library Association Award, called the Joseph Lippincott Award. Receiving this award took me by surprise because I’m not a member of any association. So for the American Library Association to recognize me, along with people I have really admired, such as John Lorenz and John Cole, an outstanding librarian award was fantastic. But I’m not as emotionally wrapped up with librarians as I am with blind people. So outside of your many professional accomplishments, please elaborate on your interesting list of personal activities, seemingly centered around books, the sea, and the author Arthur Ransome. Arthur Ransome: when I was nine years old (I can remember the day), my mother took me by the hand and I walked into the Donald G. Mitchell Branch of the New Haven Public Library and found a book called Swallows and Amazons. Arthur Ransome was a war correspondent, was in Russia in 1917, wrote about China and fly fishing—he had quite a life. His other life was writing a series of children’s books. The books are Swallows and Amazons, Swallowdale, Coot Club, and We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea, among others. I became fascinated with them, and the characters became real to me. I was one of the early members of the international group called the Arthur Ransome Society. What I quoted earlier—“grab a chance and you won’t be sorry for a might have been”—came from We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea. On my honeymoon, my wife and I visited Montreal. I walked into a bookstore, and there was a paperback book with an island on it and I said, “My God, that’s Swallows and Amazons.” I started collecting, and now I have, I believe, the largest personal collection of Ransome’s work. I did some interesting things when Ransome died. I wrote to his eulogist, Rupert Heart Davis. Nobody was collecting Ransome’s works at that time, and I asked Davis for a copy of the eulogy. He sent me his manuscript copy, signed. There was a member at the Ransome Society whom my wife thought was strange—a woman up in Maine— who said that she guided her life by what Susan in Ransome’s books would think of her. My wife said that I was associating with a group of strange people. However, I find it mesmerizing that there’s a whole group of us, an international group. There’s not a day goes by that I don’t think of Ransome, the children, and the activities that are so motivational.
Tara posted a condolence
Friday, April 19, 2019
So sorry for your loss. Please know the God of all comfort promises to comfort us through our trials. Soon, he will wipe away all sickness, pain and even death. (2 Corinthians 1:3,4 and Revelation 21:4)
Kurt Cylke uploaded photo(s)
Thursday, April 18, 2019
Sailing in a fog on Lake Ontario
john cookson posted a condolence
Thursday, April 18, 2019
It was an engaging experience working for Kurt for 13 years at The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Together, we once privately briefed the Librarian of Congress on NLS technology changes. We also had a beer together at the Crow’s Nest Officer Club, Saint John’s Newfoundland. It was fortuitous that at Kurt's retirement party, I introduced him to the Apostleship of the Sea, and got to train him in the basics of that ministry. He enjoyed every minute of it and i enjoyed being with him. Hearing of his illness, on Saturday, April 13, my email to Kurt included: ... Kurt... I think of you every time I am the Ship Visitor at AOS as I always use the hard hat with "Kurt Cylke" written in bold red inside it.
The family of Frank Kurt Cylke Sr. uploaded a photo
Thursday, April 18, 2019