News & Events

CITY COUNCIL HEARING ON LIBRARIES SEPT. 30!

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD AT A CITY COUNCIL HEARING ON THE FUTURE OF OUR PUBLIC LIBRARIES!

On Monday, Sept 30, 2013, at 1:00 p.m. at 250 Broadway, 16th Floor Committee Room, a very important Public Hearing about Capital Construction Needs and Potential Disposal of Libraries in NYC will take place. The Agenda can be found online here:

http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=263833&GUID=E05BA270-C301-4C2B-AAE3-02CCEF702738&Search=

The City Council’s Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations is holding the hearing.

It’s very important that as many people testify as possible against the Central Library Plan and the sale of public libraries, and on behalf of the needs of library users all over the city. We need to take advantage of this unique opportunity to testify. If you don’t want to testify you can still show your support just by being there. There is strength in numbers!

Please arrive a half hour early (12:30 pm) to go through security, and bring valid photo ID with you.

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Come to the NYPL’s Trustees Meeting & Rally to Save Our Public Libraries! 9/25

THE COMMITTEE TO SAVE THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY
URGES YOU TO
Come to a meeting of the NYPL Trustees!

LET THEM KNOW YOU ARE WATCHING!

WHERE: COUNTEE CULLEN LIBRARY – NYPL
104 West 136th Street near Malcolm X Blvd. (Lenox Ave.)
135th St. stop on the 2 or 3 train
135th St. stop on the B or C train

WHEN: Wednesday, September 25
Meeting at 4pm – open to the public
Rally at 5pm

Stop the destruction of a great research library
Stop the sell-off of public libraries
Let NYPL know libraries should grow – not shrink

Take action to stop the Central Library Plan and save the 42nd Street Library!

Come to the NYPL trustees meeting and let them know you are watching as they plan to spend taxpayer money on their wasteful, destructive plan. Then, come to the rally afterwards in front of the Countee Cullen Library 104 West 136th Street in Central Harlem. The meeting starts at 4pm and rally starts at 5pm, so please be on time! We want to have a strong presence at the meeting. If you can’t make it at 4:00, join the rally after work at 5pm and greet the Trustees on their way out.

The Central Library Plan (CLP), at enormous cost to New York City and its taxpayers, would gut the 42nd Street Research Library – one of the world’s great reference libraries and a historic landmark. The CLP would demolish the library’s historic book stacks, install a circulating library in their place, and send 1.5 million books to central New Jersey. The new circulating library would be a reduced-size replacement for the Mid-Manhattan Library (at 40th and 5th Avenue) and SIBL (Science, Industry, and Business Library, at 34th and Madison), which will both be closed and sold off.

For more information about the Central Library Plan and its potential negative impacts on both the 42nd Street Library and the circulating libraries it would replace, go to www.savenypl.org

The CLP is part of a larger effort by New York City’s public library systems to shrink their capacity and sell off valuable real estate, which started with the controversial sale in 2008 of the beloved Donnell Library to real estate developers. The rally is cosponsored by our friends at Citizens Defending Libraries.

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PUBLIC ADVOCATE AND COMPTROLLER CANDIDATE FORUM ON PUBLIC LIBRARIES

Wednesday, September 4th
10 a.m. to noon (Doors open 9:30 a.m.)
The Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Education Center
3940 Broadway, New York City, NY 10032
A, C or 1 subway to 168th Street

On Wednesday, September 4, candidates for Public Advocate and Comptroller will discuss one of the most under-reported issues of the campaign. New York City’s libraries are under siege from the Bloomberg administration’s budget cuts. The forum will press candidates for New York City Public Advocate and Comptroller offices on issues such as: the Central Library Plan to remove stacks from the New York Public Library’s research collection and relocate books to southern New Jersey; proposals by the New York and Brooklyn public libraries to sell publicly owned library buildings for private development; and the citywide reduction in library services at a time of growing demand.

Moderator: Roy Paul, Journalist, Commentator and Analyst

Roy Paul is a commentator on education, social and economic justice, and African-American culture and politics. He contributes political commentary on WABC 7 in New York and is a contributor to RapGenius.com. This summer, he moderated two forums with the Democratic candidates for Mayor of New York and a forum for Public Advocate candidates.

Sponsored by: Citizens Defending Libraries; The Committee to Save The New York Public Library; The Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center; Zead Ramadan, city council candidate and chairman of the center; Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of Malcom X and Betty Shabazz; The Harlem Historical Society; and Mid-Manhattan Branch of the NAACP.

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“The Hidden History of New York City’s Central Library Plan”

The Nation magazine has just published an in-depth investigative report by Scott Sherman on the New York Public Library’s quest to monetize its assets. Sherman was the first to uncover the NYPL’s renovation plans in late-2011, and has been following the story for two years.

The article, “The Hidden History of New York City’s Central Library Plan”, is available online: http://www.thenation.com/article/175966/hidden-history-new-york-citys-central-library-plan#axzz2dQOd8GW7

Sherman’s article, which is based on internal documents, reveals the extent to which the Central Library Plan (CLP), from its inception, was characterized by secrecy and hubris, and included a $2.7 million payout to Booz Allen (the well-known military defense contractor) to help shape the plan.  Sherman asks how and why one of the world’s greatest libraries got into the real estate business and adopted a $300 million transformation without any significant public debate. For nearly two years, the NYPL has refused to discuss the CLP in detail.

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Mayoral Forum on Libraries

MAYORAL FORUM ON PUBLIC LIBRARIES AUGUST 30

The Committee to Save the New York Public Library is cosponsoring a MAYORAL FORUM ON PUBLIC LIBRARIES with Citizens Defending Libraries.

Friday, August 30, 8 – 10 a.m.
Kane Street Synagogue
236 Kane Street, Brooklyn
(Between Court St and Tompkins Pl.  F or G trains to Bergen, or any train, East or West Side, to Borough Hall, plus a 10-minute walk.)

Candidates will be asked to explain their positions on the Central Library Plan, the sale of publicly-owned library buildings for private development, and the reduction in library services across the city.

The hour is early, but the time for libraries, and the NYC mayoral primary, is late. We need you to show up and tell the candidates to save our libraries!

More information will be announced next week, including which candidates will appear, and who the moderators and additional co-hosts will be. 

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Refuting Marx’ Comments on the July 24 Leonard Lopate Show

On July 24, Anthony Marx, President of the New York Public Library, defended the Central Library Plan on WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Show.  Those comments, which offered a false picture of the virtues of the plan, are refuted below.

Marx referred to the stacks as if they were mere bookshelves easily taken down and made part of the fabric of the new Norman Foster plan, but they can never be a Proustian reminder of the library’s history.  In fact, the stacks are an essential part of the structure and function of the research library.  They provide the support for the unencumbered space of the magnificent, nearly two-block-long Rose Reading Room and they were designed as a highly efficient system for delivering the books to the readers there.

Marx asserted that the state of the stacks are a threat to the books they store, implying that there have been no improvements to them in over 100 years.  In fact, advanced temperature and humidity controls were put in place in the 1980’s and in 1991 a dry pipe sprinkler system was installed.  The Library of Congress has recently brought stacks of the same vintage up to modern standards.

When asked about the reduction of space that will result from the insertion of SIBL (Science, Industry and Business Library) and the Mid-Manhattan circulating library into the 42nd Street structure, Marx resisted a straightforward apples to apples comparison when admitting that library space was being reduced.  He insisted that this will somehow be made up for by opening other rooms in the building that have hitherto been closed to the public.  In fact, these rooms can be made available to the public at any time and have no connection with the planned transfer of the Mid-Manhattan library and SIBL into the building.

Concerning the possibility of renovating Mid-Manhattan, Marx stated decisively that it would be impossible since it would involve closing one of the most heavily used libraries in the country during a renovation.  Major libraries, such as Columbia’s Butler Library, the Firestone Library at Princeton, and the Library of Congress have been kept open during renovations.  If, as Marx promised, the Rose Reading Room would remain open through the Central Library Plan reconstruction, the same should certainly be possible at Mid-Manhattan.

Finally, and most egregious, was Marx’ statement that the lawsuits against the Central Library Plan say, in essence, “don’t let the public into the building.”  On the contrary, the concern is for the general public to continue to have the free, ongoing access to the research collections they have always had.  Readers will suffer if the Central Library Plan is implemented.  Students, such as those at the City University, who lack automatic access to private university libraries, will be especially hurt by offsite storage.

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2 Lawsuits Filed to Prevent Demolition of 42nd Street Stacks; Recap of Past Weeks’ Developments

In recent weeks there have been so many developments in the effort to stop the Central Library Plan, it’s been hard to keep up! So here is a re-cap, as well as ways you can get involved.

BILL DE BLASIO TAKES OUR SIDE!
Last Friday New York City Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio announced his opposition to the Central Library Plan (CLP). He held a press conference in front of the main library at 42nd Street, expressing concern that the removal of the stacks from the 42nd Street Library and the sale of branch libraries will significantly reduce services and limit public accessibility. In a letter to Mayor Bloomberg, de Blasio called for an independent audit of the costs associated with the CLP. For more information, click here:
http://pubadvocate.nyc.gov/libraries

LEGAL ACTION HALTS STACKS REMOVAL – FOR NOW:
Two lawsuits have recently been filed against the CLP. One requests all work be stopped until all proper permits were filed. The other claims that the removal of the stacks is a violation of a 1978 agreement between the NYPL and the State of New York. The lawsuits have been covered widely in the press. Follow these links for press releases and press coverage on each suit:

Opponents Sue to Block New York Public Library Renovation Plan
New York Times
By PATRICIA COHEN
Published: July 4, 2013
http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/04/opponents-sue-to-block-new-york-public-library-renovation-plan/

New York Public Library is Sued Over Book Plan
New York Times
By ROBIN POGREBIN
Published: July 10, 2013
http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/10/new-york-public-library-is-sued-over-book-plan/

INDEPENDENT REVIEW PROMISED FOLLOWING PUBLIC HEARING CALLED BY ASSEMBLYMEMBER MICAH KELLNER!
Following the New York State Assembly’s Committee on Libraries and Education Technology hearing on June 27, at which over 50 people testified in opposition to the CLP, NYPL president Anthony Marx promised to commission an independent review of the cost of the CLP and to release an analysis of the costs of rehabilitating the Mid-Manhattan, and branch libraries across the city. This is a huge victory, and has long been one of our demands; the NYPL’s agreement to engage in such a review is an important step forward. We are confidant that facts and clear analysis will defeat this destructive plan. The headline of the New York Times’ excellent article about the hearing sums up the situation: “Critics Prompt New Review of Library Plan.” This is happening because of the work that all of you have done to oppose the Central Library Plan. For more information about the hearing, see these articles:

Critics Prompt New Review of Library Plan
New York Times
By ROBIN POGREBIN
Published: June 27, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/28/arts/design/critics-prompt-new-review-of-library-plan.html?_r=1&

CSNYPL Website:
NYPL Agrees to Independent Review of Central Library Plan!
Posted on July 1, 2013
http://savenypl.org/nypl-agrees-to-independent-review-of-central-library-plan/

Video of the hearing can be accessed here:
http://nystateassembly.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=684

Take Action!

Please send an email or letter to Commissioner Rose Harvey at the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, to let her know you don’t want the New York Public Library to remove the stacks from the 42nd Street Library. Urge her to draw a line in the sand with respect to this National Historic Landmark, which deserves the highest level of consideration and sensitivity. Urge her to require that alternatives to drastically altering the building be investigated.

Mailing Address:
Commissioner Rose Harvey
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation
Albany, NY 12238

Website Contact Form:
http://nysparks.com/about/contact-us.aspx

Please email or call Bill de Blasio’s office and thank him for speaking out against the CLP. Contact America Canas, Director of Constituent Services, at acanas@pubadvocate.nyc.gov, or call 212 669 7250.

Please email or call Micah Kellner’s office and thank him for calling the State Assembly committee public hearing on the sell-off of New York City’s public libraries on June 27. Contact Assemblyman Kellner at KellnerM@assembly.state.ny.us, or call 212 860 4906.

Please Donate! The Committee to Save the New York Public Library is a volunteer-run organization but every little bit helps! Thank you everyone who has supported our efforts. Together we can stop this plan! All donations are fully tax-deductable; please visit the Donate page on our website at: http://savenypl.org/donate/

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Bill de Blasio Holding Press Conference on His Opposition to the Central Library Plan July 12!

The Committee to Save the New York Public Library is joining Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio at a press conference TOMORROW, July 12, where he will announce his opposition to the Central Library Plan and the sale of New York City public libraries for private development.

What:   Press Conference with Public Advocate Bill de Blasio
When:  Friday, July 12, 10:30 AM
Where: The Steps of the 42nd Street Library

Please attend this very important event!  We must show our support for public officials who take a stand against the Central Library Plan and the sale of our libraries!  Only through a big turn-out can we demonstrate to our public officials and candidates for public office the impact of the proposed library sales and shrinkage of the library system on the average New Yorker.  This is an election year.  Let Mr. de Blasio, and and other politicians, know we want to hear what they have to say!

Citizens Defending Libraries is also rallying its members to attend this press conference to show their opposition to the sale and shrinkage of branch libraries in Brooklyn and across the city.

It’s short notice, but the more people we have the more powerful our message!  Please be there and bring friends!

 

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NYPL Agrees to Independent Review of Central Library Plan!

Thursday’s State Assembly hearing on the Central Library Plan and the New York Public Library’s plans to sell off branch libraries was a tremendous success!  The room was jammed to capacity with over 125 people who shared our concerns; more than 50 spoke eloquently and passionately in favor of saving the 42nd Street Library, the Mid-Manhattan, and branch libraries across the city.

Under pressure from Assemblymember Micah Kellner, who chaired the hearing, NYPL President Anthony Marx promised to commission an independent review of the cost of the Central Library Plan, and to release an analysis of the costs of rehabilitating the Mid-Manhattan library on its existing site.

This is a big victory. An independent review of both the cost of the Central Library Plan and the cost of alternatives such as renovating the Mid-Manhattan has long been one of our demands; the NYPL’s agreement to engage in such a review is an important step forward. We are confidant that facts and clear analysis will defeat this destructive plan.

The headline of the New York Times’ excellent article about the hearing sums up the situation: “Critics Prompt New Review of Library Plan.”  This is happening because of the work that all of you have done to oppose the Central Library Plan.  For more information about the hearing, please see the NY Times article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/28/arts/design/critics-prompt-new-review-of-library-plan.html?_r=1&

The devil, of course, is in the details.  We must keep up the pressure in order to ensure that the review is thorough, accurate, and genuinely independent. Assemblymember Kellner has promised additional hearings, and we will work hard to hold the NYPL to its promises.

Our campaign needs your help. Securing experts, organizing rallies, increasing our online presence, and all the other things we are doing to raise awareness of this critical issue cost money. Any assistance you can give is immensely appreciated and will help us get all our voices heard.  If you can, please make a tax-deductible donation of any size (using credit card, paypal, or check) by going to:

http://savenypl.org/donate

Forward!

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State Assembly to Hold Public Hearing on the Sale of New York City’s Libraries – Thursday June 27!

Assembly Member Micah Kellner, Chair of the Committee on Libraries and Education Technology, has called a public hearing on the sale of New York City library buildings to private developers on Thursday, June 27, in Manhattan. The Committee to Save the New York Public Library needs a big show of support at this hearing! Please attend, and demonstrate to our elected officials that New Yorkers do care what happens to their libraries and the services they provide!

Thursday, June 27th, 10:30am
250 Broadway, Room 1923
(between Murray Street and Park Place, across from City Hall)
Arrive early to go through security, and bring photo ID.

Please join us and voice your concerns about the Central Library Plan. We will be speaking against the cost of the plan, the proposed destruction of the historic seven-story book stacks in the 42nd Street Library, the proposed sale of the Mid-Manhattan Library, and the shrinkage of the Mid-Manhattan and Science, Industry and Business Library into a space one-third their current size. We will ask for an independent audit of the cost of the plan, along with an analysis of the cost of alternatives such as combining the Science, Industry and Business Library and the Mid-Manhattan in a rehabilitated and expanded building on the Mid-Manhattan site.

If you wish to testify at the hearing, the Assembly requires speakers to pre-register by submitting a Public Hearing Reply Form NO LATER THAN TUESDAY AFTERNOON, JUNE 25. The form can be submitted via email or fax, and can be found online here: http://assembly.state.ny.us/comm/Library/20130610/

If you wish to attend but not speak, there is no need to pre-register.

If you wish to submit testimony but cannot appear in person at the hearing, you can still send a statement in the form of a .pdf or Word document to:

Lindsey Facteau, Legislative Analyst
Assembly Committee on Libraries and Education Technology
Suite 1147, Alfred E. Smith Building
80 South Swan Street
Albany, New York 12248
Email: facteaul@assembly.state.ny.us
Phone: (518) 455-4881
Fax: (518) 455-4128

Representatives from Citizens Defending Libraries will be speaking against the proposed sale and shrinkage of branch libraries in Brooklyn and across the city.

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