After eight years of delays, the replacement for Donnell Library will open next Monday at 10am. If you are free that day, please join us as we remind NYPL officials that the opening of the new (significantly smaller) library is no cause for celebration.
Beloved for its children’s literature and foreign language collection, the Donnell Library was one of NYPL’s most heavily used circulating branches. But in a trial run for the defeated Central Library Plan, Donnell was sold to private developers for a pittance in 2007 and shuttered the following year. The deal was hatched in secret, and no public review preceded the sale.
The new replacement library is less than a third the size of Donnell and has been shoehorned into the basement of a luxury condominium-hotel, where rooms start at $850 per night. The special collections will not be returning.
Unfortunately, we can’t bring back the old Donnell. But with your support, we can prevent further sales of our libraries. Let’s rally to remind library executives and elected officials that public libraries belong to all of us!
Where: 18 West 53rd Street, Manhattan (Between Fifth and Sixth Avenues)
When: June 27, 2016: 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
NYPL is not the only New York library emptying its stacks. New York Univiersity’s Bobst Library is removing the stacks from the entire seventh floor to make way for more study space and a remodeled media center.
NYPL has announced the completion of the underground storage facility built when Vartan Gregorian led the Library in the 1980s. CSNYPL has long advocated the use of this space. But even as they fill it with books, questions remain. On-site books, once routinely delivered in fifteen minutes, now take forty-five. And, while boasting of the capacity of the new facility, NYPL refuses to make plans to renovate the stacks where capacity for three million more volumes sits empty and unused. Those books take days to be trucked in from New Jersey.
The best way for a research library to serve its users is to deliver all available information to patrons as quickly as possible. Whenever they have been consulted, patrons have said they want the 42nd Street Library repaired so it can hold its full capacity of 7.5 million books. In the information age, why should we settle for fewer books with longer waiting times?
Image courtesy of Melville House.