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The rumors started circulating soon after Howard Dodson announced this spring that he would step down as director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. He had been forced out, some said. The 10 million holdings of the center, a research unit of the New York Public Library, would be moved to the library’s main home at Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, some said, or they would be parceled out to branches. There was even a rumor that the Schomburg, known as the premier institution of its kind, would move to New Jersey.

The speculation had become so intense that on July 15 Mr. Dodson posted a memo on the Schomburg’s Web site,, to set the record straight. And on Thursday night public library officials held what they called “a community conversation” at the Schomburg, at 515 Lenox Avenue, at 135th Street, in Harlem, to address the rumors, provide an update on the search for Mr. Dodson’s successor and to hear what people envision for the center, with its trove of manuscripts, recordings, books and other holdings that aim to capture the global black experience.

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