NYPL Sends Out Misleading Appeal in Support of Central Library Plan

NYPL Sends Out Misleading Appeal in Support of Central Library Plan

The NYPL has just sent out their annual email asking that people sign a letter to the Mayor urging him to support public libraries.  Buried in the middle of this letter is a highly-misleading pledge of support for the Central Library Plan – a plan that would demolish the research stacks in the 42nd Street Library, send 1.5 million books to New Jersey, and sell the Mid-Manhattan Library.   In short, the NYPL is asking you to tell Mayor de Blasio: please wreck the 42nd Street Research Library.

Please do NOT sign this appeal!  And please tell your friends via email, Facebook, and tweets that this appeal is deceptive and should not be signed.

The appeal misleadingly asks that de Blasio support “A renovated central branch library that provides longer hours, more public space, and more resources for children, teachers, job seekers, and more.”

“Central Branch Library” is an intentionally camouflaged reference to the 42nd Street Library. The letter provides no indication of the destructive consequences of this so-called “renovation” – the irreparable  harm to the 42nd Street Research Library, the loss of the Mid-Manhattan as a free-standing library and its shrinkage into a much smaller and ill-suited space never designed to hold a circulating library.

Because “renovated central branch library” is never defined, people reading the appeal will not realize it refers to the 42nd Street Library and to the Central Library Plan. NYPL simply made the name up; “central branch library” appears nowhere else in the entire NYPL website.

It’s a striking confirmation of the Plan’s unpopularity that the NYPL has to make use of such deceptive language in an attempt to create an appearance of support.

Mayor de Blasio has the power to stop the plan, and is on record demanding that the library find an alternative:

We intend to help him follow through on this commitment and truly strengthen our public library systems!


New York State Assemblymember Micah Kellner has issued a powerful statement about the NYPL’s misleading tactics:

I am profoundly disturbed that the leadership of the New York Public Library (NYPL) is using misleading and deceptive language in an attempt to trick New Yorkers into supporting its controversial Central Library Plan for the main 42nd Street Branch…

This is truly an example of Orwellian double-speak. The NYPL’s leadership must harbor serious doubts about the merits and practicality of its Central Library plan to employ such a willfully deceptive appeal.

Read Kellner’s full statement here.


We’ve received word that it is now possible to remove your name if you mistakenly signed the deceptive appeal that NYPL is circulating in support of the Central Library Plan.  To remove your name, please contact:
Johannes Neuer
Acting Director of Engagement
The New York Public Library
445 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016

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