It’s been a busy twelve days, and the fight against the NYPL’s plan to gut the 42nd Street Library and sell the Mid-Manhattan has gotten lots of attention!
First, a post featuring one of our supporters on the popular “Humans of New York” facebook page went viral and was shared 53,100 times (and ‘liked’ 232,400 times). It spurred so many people to send an email to Mayor de Blasio asking him to stop the Central Library Plan that they crashed our website!
A flood of media coverage followed as the week went on. Here are some highlights:
This Human of New York Takes His Libraries Seriously (The Atlantic)
All about the person behind the “Humans of New York” facebook post.
Library Renovation Plan Awaits Word From de Blasio (New York Times)
Disemboweling the 42nd St. Library shouldn’t be called a “renovation,” and selling SIBL and Mid-Manhattan should be called out as a real estate deal – but this is a clear piece about where things stand with the NYPL and the city. The article also highlights the NYPL’s obsession with secrecy: Last summer, NYPL promised to undertake an independent financial review of their Central Library Plan. To date, NYPL has not only failed to release the review – they won’t even reveal whom they hired to conduct the review!
On the Central Library Plan, Humans of New York Interviewee Matthew Zadrozny Kills It (Melville House)
“[Zadrozny] had combined passion, information, and condemnation… The man eating chicken out of a saucepan still seems like he’s had the last word.”
Clueless at the Corcoran (Wall St. Journal)
Has NYPL lost the Wall Street Journal? Their arts editor cites NYPL’s Central Library Plan as an example of trustees supporting “policies that go against—and even imperil—the mission of the institution they are charged to oversee and protect.”
This Library Lion Roars (Huffington Post)
“It is an outrage for the city to spend money on anything but repairs to this classic library. There is a proper place to spend that money: our branch libraries throughout the boroughs.”
NYPL: The Dark Ages (Manhattan Users Guide)
“The New York Public Library is on the verge of doing grave, irreparable damage to itself and to the city. Somebody hide the sharps.”
NYPL Renovation Stuck In Limbo, Awaits A Go From De Blasio (Curbed) “‘Please do not call this a “renovation,” as [the library has] rebranded it,’ a NYPL preservation crusader told Atlantic Cities, ‘It is not. They intend to close two branch libraries in the process, and squeeze the public into a space 1/3 of these.'”
The humans of New York seem to be rousing themselves to a collective understanding: that the great public institutions they boast of and rely upon can’t be entrusted to the stewardship of real-estate developers, corporate synergists, media barons, and other ostensibly well-intentioned, deal-drunk one-percenters. Instead we need to tend our own commons, large and small — individual libraries, and the city itself. The election of De Blasio and the current outcry against the disastrous NYPL ‘renovation’ (scare quotes essential) represent two expressions of the same urgencies. Now it waits for De Blasio himself to close the circuit.
Also via Library Lovers League, Artist Gary Panter offered a great drawing to protest NYPL’s plans:
and stated in part:
The proximity of books to scholars is essential. Moving the books away or digitizing and pitching them and building a coffee shop, hang out, park viewing area on the backside of this gem seems a little strange to me. Keeping this institution humming and in repair will be a better goal than a postmodern uglification of it.
And Ben Katchor created this wonderful drawing with the comment: “Don’t allow real-estate racketeers to dismantle our free, world-class research library! (below: A page in the NYPL stacks c. 1965)”