The Central Library Plan, so obviously an irresponsible real estate deal that places pure greed for profit over the advancement of learning and enlightenment, would take the very heart out of one of New York City’s finest institutions.
For some time, a hypothesis that dared not speak its name has reigned over the NYPL debate: that the sale of the seven-story Mid-Manhattan Circulating Library and its air rights on Fifth Avenue at 40th is a developer’s dream, as was the greatly regretted sale of the Donnell Library across from MOMA.
I got my real education from the New York Public Library. I spent my broke youth curled amidst the stacks of Mid-Manhattan. It was a paradise where you could learn anything. To me, this is what the NYPL is — the place where the aspiring but not particularly monied can study Latin and apply for jobs, borrow video games and discover their ambitions and loves. Every library closure is a wound on the city.
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.
Whatever its rationale, advertised or secretly savored, the Central Library Plan is an act of such manic mutilation as to constitute a death wish for the 42nd St Research Library.
As a longtime, devoted user of the NYPL—I’ve researched my own books there, borrowed books and books on tape, taught workshops for the Office of Adult Services—I am against any plan to decimate what has been a way in and up for generations of New Yorkers. Please add my LOUD voice to this protest!
To destroy a library is to destroy the dream of civilization. To destroy the NY Public Library is to destroy our sixth and best borough; that beautiful corner of New York City where all are welcome and all are equals.
- Junot Diaz
- Frances FitzGerald
- Margo Jefferson
- David Levering-Lewis
- Edmund Morris
- Annie Proulx
- Art Spiegelman
- Annalyn Swan
- Imam Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid, President, The Islamic Leadership Council of Metropolitan NY
- Luis Garden Acosta, President, El Puente
- Barbara Bowen, President, PSC-CUNY
- Dan Cantor, Executive Director, Working Families Party
- Hector Figueroa, President, 32BJ SEIU
- George Gresham, President, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
- Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah
- Ruth Messinger
- Ana Oliveira
- Susan Sarandon
- Rev. Donna Schaper, Senior Minister, Judson Memorial Church
- Rev. Al Sharpton
- Gloria Steinem
- Javier Valdes, Co-Executive Director, Make The Road New York
- Peter Carey
- Lydia Davis
- E.L. Doctorow
- Amitav Ghosh
- Hettie Jones
- Jonathan Lethem
- Mario Vargas Llosa
- Colum McCann
- Roxana Robinson
- Salman Rushdie
- Witold Rybczynski
- Luc Sante
- Tom Stoppard
- Colm Tóibin