News & Events

Report From Books Not Billionaires Event at 42nd Street Library

Despite frigid weather, there was a great turnout (and lots of press) for Monday’s Books Not Billionaires action at the 42nd Street Library. The event was sponsored by the Library Lovers League.

WCBS has a great report on the event. And here are some photos – can you spot the infiltrating billionaires?

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Court Hearing on Library Plan Lawsuits Tuesday, Dec. 17

Let’s pack the courtroom!

The Court hearing on the lawsuits to halt the Central Library Plan and stop the demolition of the 42nd Street research stacks will be this coming Tuesday:

Tuesday, December 17, 11:00 AM
60 Centre Street, courtroom 341
(Subway: 4,5,6 trains to Brooklyn Bridge, R to City Hall, 2 and 3 to Park Place, A and C to Chambers Street, J and Z to Chambers Street)
arrive a few minutes early to allow time to pass through security

Please come to this hearing to show the judge, the press, and the NYPL administration how important this issue is!

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Rain Date! Books Vs. Billionaires Postponed to December 16th

Books and rain don’t mix, so the Library Lovers League has postponed the Flash Mob to Save NYPL for one week. The new date is noon on Monday, December 16. Spread the word and help make this an even bigger and better event to help save the libraries we love!

Event info: www.tinyurl.com/SaveNYPL
Follow on Twitter: @LibraryLoversNY

WHEN: Monday, December 16 at 12:00-1:00 pm
(rescheduled from December 9 because of bad weather)
WHERE: Steps of the 42nd Street Library, 41st Street and Fifth Avenue


Fearing real books will be evicted from the New York Public Library, theatrical books — props and costumes made of cardboard — will converge at the library, along with performers dressed as real-estate billionaires, for a street theater flash mob to protest the library’s controversial renovation plan. A new group, the Library Lovers League, is organizing the event.

The renovation plan would exile much of the New York Public Library’s research collection to storage in New Jersey, and would sell off the hugely popular Mid-Manhattan branch across the street. It has been strongly criticized by prominent researchers and scholars, as well as by Mayor-elect Bill De Blasio.

Library lovers from around the city, both adults and children, have been making book props and costumes for the event. During the flash mob, mock billionaires will attempt to displace these books to make room for real-estate deals, while the books will alternately lament their fate and seek to stand their ground.  We will have extra props, signs, and leaflets so if you haven’t made your own costume, come anyway!

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Dec. 13 State Assembly Hearing Cancelled – NYPL “Declines to Participate”

We have just received word that the State Assembly has cancelled its long-planned December 13 hearing on the Central Library Plan because “the NYPL has declined to participate.” There is a possibility that the hearing will be rescheduled some time next year.

Why is the NYPL refusing to discuss its plans publicly? When will they produce the promised cost estimates for alternatives to the Central Library Plan? We urge the State Assembly to hold NYPL to its promises, and we urge Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio to keep his pledge to seek alternatives that will protect the 42nd Street and Mid-Manhattan libraries!

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New Criterion Slams Central Library Plan

The December issue of the New Criterion magazine contains a feature article titled “Philanthropic Tyranny at the NYPL” slamming the proposed Central Library Plan.  Money quote (quite literally):

It is conspicuous that the guiding figure of the project was Marshall Rose, the chairman emeritus of the library and perhaps New York’s wealthiest real estate magnate. Fittingly, Rose seems to have conceived of the CLP in terms of an immense real estate operation—a bold sale of properties, the exploitation of a prime location with underperforming use (80,000 square feet on Fifth Avenue, prime Manhattan real estate used for—squandered on—book storage!), and finally a dazzling new project by a celebrity architect, in this instance one who specializes in dramatically impaling historical monuments.

Like many of our cultural institutions (one thinks of the Barnes Foundation), the New York Public Library seems fated to be a victim of what must be termed philanthropic tyranny: the willingness of an institution’s stewards to subordinate its long-term interests to the short-term interests of donors and charitable trusts.

The full article can be found here:
http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/Philanthropic-tyranny-at-the-NYPL-7754

It’s unusual, to say the least, for the New Criterion and Nation magazines to agree on anything, but the NYPL’s planned changes to the 42nd Street and Mid-Manhattan libraries have united them in opposition!

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December 9th: Books Vs. Billionaires at the 42nd St. Library!

UPDATE – DUE TO RAIN, THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO DECEMBER 16TH

Although this event is not sponsored by the Committee to Save the New York Public LIbrary, we encourage everyone to attend!

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Books Not Billionaires Flash Mob to Save NYPL
Monday, December 9 at 12:00 noon sharp
Steps of the 42nd Street Library
(rain date: Monday, December 16)

The New York Public Library is in peril. Plans are afoot to exile its legendary research holdings to storage in New Jersey. Why? So the nearby Mid-Manhattan Branch, one of the country’s busiest libraries, can be sold to billionaire real-estate developers and replaced with a luxury tower. A much smaller Mid-Manhattan library would then be crammed into the space made available by evicting the research collection.

Help stop this crazy “renovation” by joining in a street theater flash mob at noon sharp on Monday, December 9 on the steps of the 42nd Street Research Library. Dress as a favorite book or as one of the real-estate billionaires who see the books as an obstacle to profits. Be ready to take part in theatrical improvisation as the plutocrats try to displace the books, and the books alternately lament their fate and seek to stand their ground.

It’s easy to make a giant book costume out of cardboard or foam core. Here’s one model:
http://theworldaccordingtobenny.blogspot.com/2013/11/books-not-billionaires.html

RSVP on Facebook: http://www.tinyurl.com/SaveNYPL

Sponsored by the Library Lovers League
on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/LibraryLoversLeague
on Twitter @LibraryLoversNY

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Rally at the NYPL Trustees Meeting, Wednesday, Nov. 20th (at 42nd Street Library)!

Please join us Wednesday, November 20th, during the New York Public Library’s quarterly trustees meeting to tell the trustees: Don’t waste money on the extravagant, destructive “remaking” planned for the historic 42nd Street Library, and don’t sell the Mid-Manhattan Library!

As Bill DeBlasio prepares to take office and the NYPL administration prepares to reveal its “new” design for the 42nd Street building, we need to keep the pressure on.  We will have plenty of signs and flyers. This event is cosponsored by Citizens Defending Libraries.

WHEN: Wednesday, November 20th, 3:45 PM – 5:30 PM
WHERE: Fifth Avenue and 41st Street in front of the main entrance to the 42nd Street Library

 

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Photos from November 4th Rally

Monday’s rally outside the New York Public Library’s annual fundraising gala was a great success!  We thanked donors for their support of the library, and handed out nearly a thousand leaflets explaining our concerns about the wasteful and destructive Central Library Plan.  We also highlighted the irony of the gala featuring Mayor Bloomberg as a guest of honor, given his support for selling off library branches and the city’s inadequate funding of the public library systems.

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Rally at 42nd Street Library Monday, Nov. 4th – Tell Bloomberg to Save the 42nd Street and Mid-Manhattan Libraries!

Please join us this coming Monday, November 4th, to greet Mayor Bloomberg and tell him to spend taxpayer money on library needs, not an extravagant, destructive remaking of the historic 42nd Street Library. The New York Public Library’s annual fundraising gala at the 42nd Street Library should be a celebration of creation, not demolition.  We want to thank the NYPL’s donors for supporting the library, but also alert them to the NYPL’s wasteful plans to gut the 42nd Street Library and sell off the Mid-Manhattan.

We will have plenty of signs and flyers. This event is cosponsored by Citizens Defending Libraries.

WHEN: Monday, November 4th, 6:45 PM – 8:00 PM
WHERE: Fifth Avenue and 41st Street in front of the main entrance to the 42nd Street building.

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State Assembly Committee Hearing on Libraries 10/31! (POSTPONED)

UPDATE – AT THE REQUEST OF THE NYPL, THE ASSEMBLY HEARING HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL DECEMBER 13TH (SAME TIME AND LOCATION)

Assembly Member Micah Kellner, Chair of the Committee on Libraries and Education Technology, has called another public hearing on the sale of New York City library buildings to private developers on Thursday, October 31, in Manhattan.  This hearing is a follow up to the one held in June, and will examine the Central Library Plan and feasible alternatives to the sale of the Mid-Manhattan and Science, Industry, and Business Libraries, and the destruction of the stacks at the iconic 42nd Street Library.

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, October 31, 10:30am
250 Broadway, 19th Floor, room 1923
(between Murray Street and Park Place,  across from City Hall)
Arrive early to go through security (10:00am), and bring valid photo ID

Please join us and voice your concerns about the Central Library Plan.  As at the June hearing, 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 again 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 THURSDAY, OCTOBER 24.  The form can be submitted via email or fax to the contact person listed below, and can be found online here:  http://assembly.state.ny.us/comm/Library/20131008/

Speakers are allotted 3 minutes each for oral testimony.  Ten copies of any prepared testimony must be submitted at the hearing room registration desk, so that each member of the committee can have a copy.

 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 the address listed below, for up to two weeks after the hearing:

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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