Why Is New York City Planning to Sell and Shrink Its Libraries?

Defend our libraries, don't defund them. . . . . fund 'em, don't plunder 'em

Mayor Bloomberg defunded New York libraries at a time of increasing public use, population growth and increased city wealth, shrinking our library system to create real estate deals for wealthy real estate developers at a time of cutbacks in education and escalating disparities in opportunity. It’s an unjust and shortsighted plan that will ultimately hurt New York City’s economy and competitiveness.

It should NOT be adopted by those we have now elected to pursue better policies.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Citizens Defending Libraries Main Page

Defend our libraries, don't defund them. . . . .  fund 'em, don't plunder 'em 

SIGN OUR PETITION TO SUPPORT LIBRARIES:  Sign our new updated petition here:
Mayor de Blasio: Rescue Our Libraries from Developer Destruction
You can also stay informed by following us on Twitter (@DefendLibraries) and by liking our Citizens Defending Libraries Facebook page. And we post videos on our Citizens Defending Libraries YouTube Channel.
When We Started and Why

Citizens Defending Libraries was founded in February of 2013 in response to then breaking headlines about how, across the city, our public libraries were proposed to be sold and shrunk at great public loss, with libraries being intentionally underfunded, their books and librarians eliminated.  Citizens Defending Libraries was first to point out how the the real estate industry's interest in turning libraries into real estate deals was driving such sales and the reduction of funding and library resources.


Citizens Defending Libraries has had a number of significant successes fending off and preventing library sale and shrinkages and there has been some progress towards restoration of the funding of libraries to a proper pre-library-sales plan level of proper funding.  These successes include: 
    •    The sale of Mid-Manhattan, the most used circulating library in Manhattan, was prevented with the help of two lawsuits in which Citizens Defending Libraries was first in the list of named plaintiffs.  That sale was prevented as Citizens Defending Libraries joined with others to successfully derail the New York Public Library’s ill-conceived consolidating shrinkage of major Manhattan libraries known as the Central Library Plan.  Citizens Defending Libraries accurately predicted this sell-off and shrinkage of libraries was likely to cost over $500 million, far more than the $300 advertised by the NYPL as it promoted its real estate deals.  Unfortunately, work remains to be done as aspects of the Central Library Plan still ominously survive:
    •        The NYPL still plans to sell and close the largest science library in New York City, SIBL, the Science Industry and Business Library, eliminating its collection of science books just when they are needed most,
    •        Millions of additional books are still missing from and need to be brought back to the 42nd Street Central Reference Library at Fifth Avenue (yes that's the building with the lions, Patience and Fortitude).
    •        The NYPL still plans to subject the Mid-Manhattan Library to a consolidating shrinkage with a concomitantly vast reduction in available books.
    •    The sale and closing of another beloved central destination in Manhattan, the 5-story Donnell Library is now widely understood to have been a mistake. Library administration officials now apologize acknowledging it was a significant mistake, but that is only so long as we keep reminding the public what was lost and how the library was sold for a pittance, while real estate industry insiders like Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner benefitted from this first “shrink-and-sink” deal by replacing it with luxury tower, a tiny underground and largely bookless library in its base.
    •    Working with others in the community, we have so far prevented the sale the Pacific Branch Library, the first Carnegie in Brooklyn, next to Forest City Ratner’s Atlantic Yards megadevelopment (now aka “Pacific Park”), which in 2013 the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) announced was one of its two highest priorities to sell as it launched a program of real estate deal sell-offs.
    •    For almost four years, from 2013 to 2017, we delayed and fended off the sale and destruction of Brooklyn’s second biggest library, the central destination Brooklyn Heights Library, which included the central Business Career and Education Library and a now shuttered Federal Depository Library making federal documents, records, and history available to the public.  This was another “shrink-and-sink” sale of property, also next to (and involving) Forest City Ratner property was the BPL’s other first announced highest priority.  Again, a luxury tower will stand where an important central destination library once stood.  Garnering over 2,000 testimonies from the community we surprised everybody by causing Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams to come out against the project after it was launched.  It was also reportedly the subject of a “play-to-play” investigation with respect to the development team that was an inferior bidder channeling funds to Mayor de Blasio.  That investigation appears to have been dropped immediately after Donald Trump stunned the public by firing U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
    •    We alerted the public and Red Hook community about “Spaceworks,” a real estate company formed Mayor Bloomberg’s administration to shrink libraries viewing library space as being under utilized we helped to prevent the already woefully small 7,500 square foot Red Hook library from being shrunk down to just 5,500 square feet.  Brooklyn Community Board 6 helped kill the shrinkage.  (While we also worked to get the word out to the Williamsburg community about a proposed shrinkage there with Spaceworks being handed the second floor of the Williamsburg Library, we were not able to act fast enough and Councilman Steve Levin and Brooklyn Community Board 1 were supporting the scheme.)
     •    We alerted the Sunset Park community about long-secret plans to sell the Sunset Park Library and redevelop it into a mixed used project.  We believe that because we were on the scene to shine this spotlight, and also because the BPL wanted to overcome our opposition to the Brooklyn Heights Library sale, Sunset park is the first time the BPL actually proposed to enlarge one of the the libraries it was targeting for sale.  That will be a sort of victory if there is no subsequent bait-and-switch.  Unfortunately, it is not a perfect victory.  Our sense is that for good and valid reasons the informed Sunset Park community was still largely, perhaps 90%, opposed to the library replacement plan they were not involved in developing and from which they will suffer while the library is closed for many years before it is replaced.  Unfortunately, those who were in place to fight for the Sunset Park community’s interests did not ultimately defend them.  That includes Brooklyn Community Board 7 and City Councilman Carlos Menchaca.
     •    Citizens Defending Libraries was also on the scene to shine a spotlight and help put things quickly in perspective for the Inwood Community when the NYPL announced it wanted to turn the Inwood Library into a real estate deal, likely also as a part of an effort to help push through a upzoning of the area.
     •    Citizens Defending Libraries similarly sounded the alarm before word was out publicly about a proposal for a consolidating shrinkage of the Brower Park Library with the Prospect Heights Children’s Museum (reversing a previous expansion).
     •    Citizens Defending Libraries has been engaged in an education and publicity campaign.  It included:
     •        Forums, including a mayor forum during the 2013 election with most of the candidates endorsing our proposals that libraries be properly funded, not sold and shrunk.  Mayor de Blasio, whose position we changed during the campaign, joined with us in July to proclaim that our libraries should not be sold saying: “It's public land and public facilities and public value under threat. . . and once again we see, lurking right behind the curtain, real estate developers who are very anxious to get their hands on these valuable properties.”  Unfortunately, by October he was taking money from developers behind the curtain.
        •    As a result of our activism there have been hearings about the sale and shrinkage of libraries starting with a very important June 27, 2013 New York State Assembly hearing that embarrassed city library administration officials. 
       •    A letter of support signed by multiple community organizations, electeds and candidates running for office.
        •   In May of 2016 Citizens Dfending Libraries was honored to be a recipient of the Historic Districts Council's Grassroots Preservation Award.
Despite our battles won, our NYC libraries are still besieged by a major war and the threat of such plans.

What libraries are affected?
Library officials said early on that they wanted to sell the most valuable NYC libraries first.  And indeed, that is exactly what the NYPL did when its first move was to sell the central destination Donnell Library, a library that was documented to be on most valuable block in Manhattan at the time.  Similarly, the concurrently launched Central Library Plan with its proposed sale of the Mid-Manhattan Library focused on the choicest real estate.  The BPL did the same thing prioritizing two prime site libraries adjacent to Forest City Ratner property for probable luxury towers, the Brooklyn Heights Library and the Pacific Branch library.  Unfortunately, the libraries that are most valuable to real estate developers are also the most valuable to the public for very similar reasons, including central accessible locations.

The most valuable libraries may be at the top of this list, but all libraries in the New York City system are currently under siege.  All libraries are under siege because of the deliberate, unprecedented and absolutely unnecessary underfunding of NYC libraries that is being presented as an excuse to sell libraries affects all libraries in all our city's boroughs.

All libraries in the New York City system should also be considered currently under siege because each and every library sale becomes precedent and a model for the next.  The shrink-and-sink sale of the Brooklyn Heights Library replicates the shrink-and-sink Donnell Library (in fact it was conceived at the same time with the same people in the background).  Moreover, BPL president Linda Johnson told the City Council when it was approving the shrink-and-sink Brooklyn Heights Library sale that it would be a model for future library deals by all three city library systems, the BPL, which she heads, the NYPL and the Queens Library.  Johnson has referred to herself as head of the Brooklyn Library system as having "over 1,000,000 square feet of real estate" at her disposal.

While Library officials are attracted to seizing for conversion the most valuable libraries first, they are also usually tactically coy about their plans. At this point they openly acknowledge going after only a few libraries at a time.  They go after the very valuable ones they want and they also go after the libraries where they believe they have ascertained that they can overcome community opposition and expect that they can, at the same time, perhaps achieve another objective that attracts them, like laying the groundwork for an upzoning in Inwood or establish and entrench a principle of reduction as with Spaceworks in Red Hook and Williamsburg.

For more details about affected libraries click here:  What Libraries Are Affected By City Strategy Of Defunding, Shrinking, Selling Off Libraries?

Are The Libraries Being Shrunk, Pushed Underground, Books and Librarians Eliminated Because the World Is "Going Digital"?

Although the people promoting library sales and elimination of books would like to use as an excuse that the world is going digital, that is not the case.  New York City libraries are more used than ever.  Although use was up 40% programmatically, most of the recent increased use is in terms of circulation, 59%, and almost all of that circulation is physical books.  That is despite an effort by NYC library administration officials to steer people into the use of digital books (which, maybe surprisingly, are actually more expensive for the libraries) and away from what they derisively refer to as "old-fashioned analogue books."

While digital books sometimes have some advantages the general population tends to prefer physical books.  Further, there are advantages with physical books related to the way people learn and think and there are problems and concerns about digital books that need to be considered.  See:  Physical Books vs. Digital Books.

At the same time, libraries do need to address digital needs and provide access to the internet; they need to help bridge the so-called "digital divide" between those who have ready access to computers and the internet and those who don't.  For that reason libraries should actually be growing to address these expanded needs rather than shrinking.  In this regard it is, indefensible and inexplicable that two top-notch libraries with some of the most advanced and robust support of computer and internet libraries, SIBL the 34th Street Science, Industry and Business Library and the downtown Brooklyn Heights Library with its Business, Career and Education Library, were both targeted for simultaneous elimination.

Are Libraries Just Too Expensive a Luxury to Pay For?

In the overall scheme of things, New York City libraries cost virtually nothing.  When it comes to libraries, no matter how you slice and dice it, we are dealing with total funding figures that come to fractions of a percentage point, this despite the fact that, economically, libraries more than pay for themselves, and: “More people visited public libraries in New York than every major sports team and every major cultural institution combined.”

Notwithstanding, subsidies to sports venues like the Ratner/Prokhorov “Barclays” arena dwarf what we spend on libraries. In 8 years when we spent at least $620 million on just three sports arenas, (the Ratner/Prokhorov "Barclays" included) that amount was 1.37 times the amount spent on libraries serving seven times as many users.

The underfunding of libraries is notwithstanding that libraries are one of the public's top priorities. The city’s 59 community boards ranked library services as their“third highest budget concern” and“Brooklyn’s community boards ranked libraries their top priority.”  In 2013 when the NYC Comptroller polled the public about its priorities for "The People's Budget" libraries were again one of the very top priorities.

Valuable in so many ways in their own right, libraries must also be considered an essential adjunct to schools and ensuring proper education and literacy of the population.  One thing that a recurring trope in science fiction scripts gets right is that there is a high correspondence, if not quite one-to-one correlation, between the demise of great libraries and the collapse of once great civilizations.

NYC Libraries Are Being Sold For Huge Losses And For Minuscule Fractions of Their Value

People ask whether the public is at least getting good deals or "value" when we sell our libraries.  We absolutely are not.  We are selling our libraries for far less than their worth and far less than we have invested in them.  The losses are actually profoundly embarrassing notwithstanding the proclivity of library officials to deceptively characterize proceeds from sales as "profits," and as "hefty" rather than "paltry."  That's been true since the beginning. . .

. . .  The first library sold, the Donnell Library, the central destination, 97,000-square foot, five-story central destination library on what was documented to be the most valuable block in Manhattan at the time, was sold to net the NYPL less than $25,000 million.  The penthouse in the luxury tower that replaced it in the 50-story luxury tower replacing Donnell went on the market for $60 million.  Another single lower-level condo unit in the luxury building, 43A, sold for $20,110,437.50.  There is also a 114 guest room luxury hotel in the tower.  according to the Wall Street Journal, Chinese investors made that hotel,“the most highly valued hotel in the U.S.” after agreeing to buy it for “more than $230 million. . .  .more than $2 million a room.”

. . . The central destination Brooklyn Heights Library in Downtown Brooklyn, expanded and fully upgraded in 1993, one of the most modern and up-to-date libraries in the system would cost more than $120 million to replace.  The city sold it for less than its tear-down value, for less than its value as a vacant lot, and because it was sold to a developer who's inferior bid was not the highest bid, it's sale became the subject of one of the pay-to-play investigations of the de Blasio administration.  When costs are finally calculated it is likely the city and library administration officials will have netted less than $25 million from this library's ruination.

. . . In two suspicious real estate deals the NYPL has sold the 34th Street SIBL library, the city's biggest science library . . . . .

TO READ MORE- Click:  TO READ MORE- Click: Libraries Being Sold For Huge Losses And Minuscule Fractions of Their Value

Who Is Selling Our Libraries?

The plans to sell our libraries were announced under the Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration and it appears that they go back to at least 2005 and probably at least 2004.  Prior to the Bloomberg administration, NYC libraries were being expanded significantly under the Giuliani administration.  During the 2013 mayoral race, candidate Bill de Blasio said that the library sales should be halted, but in short order Mr. de Blasio was taking money from real estate developers "behind the curtain  . .very anxious to get their hands on these valuable properties.”

Once in office, Mayor Bill de Blasio continued with the library sales he decried as a candidate, although, to give the devil his due, de Blasio did not proceed with the full-blown NYPL Central Library Plan.  While the Mid-Manhattan library is now being subjected to a consolidating shrinkage it is no longer being sold straight out, but, under Mayor de Blasio we are still selling SIBL the city's biggest science library.  We are also still exiling research books off premises from where they were once readily and quickly retrievable at the 42nd Street Library.

There are other elected officials that are avidly taking the lead pushing these city library sales.  Foremost among them is city council member Brad Lander.  Also clearly conspicuous in his enthusiastic and unrelenting support for these plans is Jimmy Van Bramer head of the City Council Cultural Committee of which the city council's library subcommittee is a sub-component he domainates in leading.  .  .

 . .  Each particular local city council member must also be held responsible for what happens to the libraries in their districts, but revelations are that many of them, like Councilman Stephen Levin (Brooklyn Heights and Williamsburg libraries), Ydanis Rodriguez (Inwood Library) and Carlos Manchacca (Sunset Park Library), were brought on board behind the scenes in advance to  . . .

TO READ MORE (including about the involvement of a Trump presidential son-in-law, Blackstone's Steve Schwarzman, the library boards of trustees, law enforcing officials standing idly by the sidelines and what are supposed to be charitable organizations serving the public) - Click:  WHO Is Selling Our Libraries?

When Did The Plans To Sell Libraries (Plus The Launching of The Concomitant Underfunding of Libraries) Begin?
Chart from Center From an Urban Future report showing sharp decline in funding (coinciding with plans to sell off/"leverage" libraries) against escalating use.  
As noted, although plans to sell NYC libraries were not announced by the Mayor Michael Bloomberg administration until much later, those plans actually to go back to at least 2005 or probably 2004David Offensend was hired by the NYPL in June of 2004 and, though he is imprecise, he says that he started working on library deals not long after his arrival there.  Janet Offensend, his wife, who helped launch BPL library sales started haunting the BPL and its board in 2005.  Other city development officials were being positioned by Mayor Bloomberg on the BPL board around that time.  (The Bloomberg administration took office January 1, 2002, shortly after 9/11.  By contrast, the Giuliani administration implemented library expansion plans that carried over into the early Bloomberg years.)

The BPL's minutes for 2005 show that in January a developer, perhaps jumping the gun based on inside knowledge, was angling to buy the 12,200 square-foot Midwood Library.  In November 2006 the New York Times ran a little noticed article about tearing down “obsolete” branch libraries to produce “new,” "better" library space in multi-use developments saying that a study had produced "an inventory of nearly every branch library in New York City" to identify "candidates for redevelopment" (like the "Red Hook, Sunset Park and Brower Park" libraries and the "Clinton Hill Library," which involves pushing through an accompanying rezoning.)  The article mentions "deferred maintenance" as a reason to redevelop the libraries.

In May of 2006 it was revealed that four Connecticut librarians had won a fight, secret because of a gag order since it began in July 2005, to resist broad federal surveillance of their library patrons.

Although the public did not know what it needed to know in order to see it happening, 2007 and 2008 were extremely eventful years in terms of furthering the plans to sell NYC libraries: 
    •    In January 2007, Booz Allen Hamilton (known principally as a private surveillance firm, the "colossus" in the industry, working for the federal government) was hired to assist the NYPL trustees with their strategy of the sale and reformulating of libraries.
    •    In the Summer of 2007 the Mayor Bloomberg and First Deputy Mayor Patti Harris expressed enthusiasm for the NYPL’s plans to sell and redevelop major central destination Manhattan Libraries.
         •    In November The Donnell Library sale was announced . . . .

TO READ MORE (a complete timeline of library sale events and maneuvers in 2007, 2008 and right through to to the formation of Citizens Defending Libraries) - Click: When Did Library Selling and Underfunding Begin?

It's Not Just The Real Estate Industry Threatening Libraries

While most New Yorkers are attuned to the power and excesses of the city real estate industry and therefore easily understand its role as a key motivator in the assault on libraries, it's unfortunately naive to believe that only the real estate industry has an agenda that is adverse to the tradition of continuing libraries as the democratic commons we have known them to be.

This gets us into some other big questions. TO READ MORE- Click: Examining The Panoply of Threats

Control of Information

Does dumbing down the public make sense, is it truly workable if you want an effective democracy?  The availability and control of information, including in libraries as copious storehouses of information, has always long disconcerted authoritarians.  For instance, is it surprising to know that Senator Joseph McCarthy exercised his influence to ban from U.S. controlled libraries the music and scores of the "Fanfare For The Common Man" composer Aaron Copeland, because McCarthy believed  . . . .
TO READ MORE- Click: Examining The Panoply of Threats 
No doubt there are those for whom it would be preferable if information in libraries was tidily circumscribed so that it just slipstreams comfortably behind the limited thinking and reporting of the corporate conglomerate controlled national media.  That's a corporate media which among other things and by example underreports the climate change crisis, and  . . .
TO READ MORE- Click: Examining The Panoply of Threats
 While the tradition has been to protect and preserve the information entrusted to libraries, information on the internet can be startlingly evanescent, its continued existence subject to decisions made by whim or out of wrath about what the public should see. . . .
TO READ MORE- Click: Examining The Panoply of Threats
The Internet And Digital as Business

As the world speeds into digital, it is important to recognize the pull and tugs of what the internet corporations would like, including reasons for wanting things to go digital.  There are reasons why, when just five or six (as of 2017) people control as much wealth as half of the rest of the world's population, that Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon (and Washington Post) owner Jeff Bezos, and Microsoft's Bill Gates are three for them (with another Carlos Slim Helu incidentally, as part of his media holdings, being the largest shareholder of the New York Times.  Those reasons coincide with the reasons Apple, Google/Alphabet, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft are all vying (along with Exxon Mobile) for the spot as largest U.S. company.

 . . . Think where all this money comes from.  There is, of course, the ubiquitous advertising, as the pop-up ads that saturate far-flung corners of the internet will remind you, just as advertising saturates the monopolistically owned TV and radio airwaves.  There is also the data-scraping.  As the "old internet saw" was quoted when Google was wiring all of NYC's streets for wireless internet "for free": "If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product."  What the private internet companies know about you helps target you . . . .
TO READ MORE- Click: Examining The Panoply of Threats (or start by reading some of the snippets in different categories below.)
Privatized Political Advantage

Among those buying the data are political parties and their campaign operations looking to control the elected seats of government. Now with unprecedented insight into your preferences, those actors and operatives use the data to decide, with tools like gerrymandering, how much your vote should or should not be allowed to count.  With "voter preference files" that contain tens of thousands of "sets of data points" they have graduated from "microtargeting specific groups" to "nanotargeting" with different kinds of messages (whether true or not) designed elicit particular `emotional responses' from voters.  "Pay to sway" services supply a smorgasbord of  . . .
TO READ MORE- Click: Examining The Panoply of Threats
Owning Ideas and Culture to Charge For Them

The content industry has its wants as well.  Its purveyors desire, for instance, to get the public out to the very latest movie you see touted on billboards, simultaneously on the sides of city buses, via the ads on Comedy Central and other channels, perhaps also boosted by a "sponsorship" mention on your local public radio station as it does featurette reporting . . . 
TO READ MORE- Click: Examining The Panoply of Threats
A Reduction to Dollar$ Sense

. . Traditional libraries have always stood as models opposite to the concept that everything in the world, plus everything that ought to be prioritized and perpetually pushed to the fore should exist in stripped-down monetizable dimensions.  To evaluate the world exclusively in the very limited terms of seeing things in terms of just numbers or only following the money is, in an of itself, impoverishing.  A 2015 report published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review studied how  . . .
TO READ MORE- Click: Examining The Panoply of Threats

The last big subject to mention bears a relationship to the first topic.  When the government, whoever is in charge, isn't actually preventing citizens from reading certain books it might proscribe, it can, nevertheless, be interested in surveiling what books and information members of the public are reading.  In theory, this could allow the government to  . . . .
TO READ MORE- Click: Examining The Panoply of Threats
Who Is Hurt Most When Libraries Are Defunded and Dismantled? The Poor, The Racially  Discriminated Against, Scholars, Future Leaders

Defunding and dismantling our libraries hurts society broadly, probably more broadly than many may have considered.

It is, of course, usually recognized that cutting back on library services significantly impacts low-income neighborhoods relying on them.  A PowerPoint presentation to the Queens Library board told it that library service is most important to low-income users: 2/3rds visit at least weekly, & almost 30% visit every/most days.  A recent Pew research Center report says "Low-income Americans, Hispanics and African Americans are more likely than others to say that a library closing would impact their lives and communities," see them as community anchors, and use them to pursue jobs.  And it's been astutely commented that wherever it happens the loss of libraries is "another surefire way to entrench inequality."
Researchers and students also use the libraries.  Arguing to destroy libraries, the NYPL tried a divide-and-conquer-the-community approach suggesting that the research library was elitist and not sufficiently populist when in any given year the researchers and students at its 42nd Street central reference library consult "only 6% of print sources."  The same argument was being used to thin out collections at neighborhood libraries and move books off-site from those locations too.  That "6%" consultation rate was referred to by Ada Louise Huxtable in her very last column, published just weeks before her death (Wall Street Journal: Undertaking Its Destruction, December 3, 2012), in which she lambasted the NYPL's Central Library Plan including its stingy thinking that books should not be kept on hand if they are consulted infrequently:
If we could estimate how many ways in which the world has been changed by that 6%, the number would be far more meaningful than the traffic through its lion-guarded doors. The library's own releases, while short on details, consistently offer a rosy picture of a lively and popular "People's Palace." But a research library is a timeless repository of treasures, not a popularity contest measured by head counts, the current arbiter of success. This is already the most democratic of institutions, free and open to all. Democracy and populism seem to have become hopelessly confused.
Among other things, the 42nd Street Central Reference Library and SIBL are the libraries for the graduate students at CUNY, the City University of New York, who  . . . .

TO READ MORE (about how the benefits of libraries are transmitted throughout society, the racial discrimination in selling libraries and divide and divide-and-conquer-the-community ploys) - Click: Who Is Hurt Most When Libraries Are Defunded and Dismantled?

How Many Books Are Disappearing?

Venturing into a library to witness scads of empty book shelves is a disorientating experience.  The empty shelves constitute early warning signs: Empty shelves at Mid-Manhattan Library, SIBL, the Brooklyn Heights Library, the Grand Army Plaza Library, the 42nd Street Central Reference Library have meant that these libraries have been targeted to be involved in library sale and shrinkage plans.

It is stunning how many books have disappeared and become unavailable, multiple millions overall.  (Library administration officials have done their best to obscure true counts of the reductions.)  If the books disappear from targeted libraries far enough in advance library administration officials can deceptively promise that there will be as many books after the shrinkage of the library as before.  Another deception is for library officials to claim that if books are exiled to be consolidated elsewhere in a "deduping" center there will actually be "more" books as a result.  ("Deduping" is euphemism for book elimination, the idea being the more books you consolidate in a central location the more books you have that are "duplicates" to be eliminated.)

Amazingly, despite the increasing difficulty in obtaining books NYC book circulation is going up and circulation increases are mainly the physical books that patrons generally prefer.  The idea that because some books (not all- for instance, Robert Caro's "The Power Broker") are available digitally we no longer need libraries to supply physical books is a myth.  That library administration officials disparage physical books as "old-fashioned analogue books" or just "artifactual originals" or that those officials will spend more money to push people in to digital reading than what spending on physical books costs does not make that myth any more true.

When library officials solicit contributions from the general public they will jive about how they are asking for that money in order to buy more books because they know that is a vision the public will support and respond favorably to, but at the same time library officials are less than transparent about how they are actually removing books from library premises and from the system entirely.

For more information about how many millions of books have disappeared from which libraries . .

TO READ MORE- Click: How Many Books Are Disappearing From New York City Libraries?

Why Turning Libraries Into Real Estate Deals Isn't The Good Deal Library and City Development Officials Describe

At first blush, many people have accepted what city development and library officials have regularly asserted about the deals launching this city-wide program of converting libraries into real estate deals (or, similarly, "redeveloping" our schools for that matter), that by "unlocking" library real estate development rights with multi-use developments it is a "win-win" proposition that benefits the libraries as well as the developers and real estate industry.

The offer of a free lunch is a tempting thing to hope for, but it doesn't bear scrutiny.  The math, when you do it, simply doesn't work out: It is expensive to tear down existing, frequently recently renovated libraries that the public has already invested substantially in.  When these development ideas are promoted the math goes from initial wishful fantasies, to deliberately obfuscated lack of transparency, to outright mendacious misrepresentation.  If library officials had insisted that the Donnell Library or the Brooklyn Heights Library be fully and completely replaced when they were sold (irrespective or their spaces being shoved underground), the sales would have to be calculated showing deep and obviously absurd public losses. . .

There is also the disruption that affects the public. And, although library and city officials try to skip over the point, when library assets are being divested, the libraries are, in the process, shedding their opportunities for future expansion and to keep pace as the city grows.

Moreover and probably most important, such multi-use development schemes force the libraries to "partner" with powerful private real estate interests that ultimately wind up in the drivers seat, setting the priorities with big checkbooks that bankroll false and misleading PR.  With the moneyed interests throwing their weight around, the public is exposed to bait-and-switch variations.  The Donnell Library sale deal that was described to the press and public when it was announced in no way resembled the deal that was consummated.

Selling Libraries And The Broader Issue of Private Sector Plunder of Public Property

Libraries are not our only public commons that are undemocratically under attack.  The attacks on libraries reflect a much wider scourge of plundering our public assets with the selling off and privatizing of schools, hospitals, public housing, parks, and even the privatization of our streets and sidewalks.  Accordingly, instead of just fighting the library fight, Citizens Defending Libraries (and you can join us) has reached out to other activists to hold a series of forums on the selling off of public assets and help engender and understanding of the commonalty of the threats and tactics an subterfuges we see.  For instance, as Noam Chomsky has explained one such "standard technique of privatization: defund, make sure things don't work, people get angry, you hand it over to private capital.". .  (In other words, when the door is open to privatization and sell-off there is an inducement to underfund.)  And then, with the transfer to private ownership, the result for public gets even worse.

Some of The Biggest Lies To Watch Out For 

City and library officials working with real estate developers trot out a standard set of misleading falsehoods and ploys to promote library sales.  If you think they sound good, watch out, often what they are saying is pretty much opposite to the real truth.

Want to know what lies to watch out for? . .

TO READ MORE- Click: The Biggest Lies To Watch Out For When Official Sell Libraries

(Read about: lies about public process * Lies about how to oppose a sale * Lies that "replacement" libraries will be as big or bigger *  Lies that libraries are too "dilapidated" to fix * The "same number of books" lie)

Where Does It Go From Here?  What Can You do?

One thing you can do is consider this a worthy cause and inform yourself and others about it.  Protection and preservation of our libraries is something that most people instantly and automatically understand.  As one member of our group observed early on: "If you can't stop them at libraries, where can you stop them?"  That's why we must stop them.. .

 . .  But also, because people do understand what it means to protect libraries, because they understand it in their very bones, the protection of libraries is an issue and a cause that can be used as a fulcrum to push back on the many other issues that relate to it, the impoverishing privatizations of public assets in general, abuses of the real estate industry, the corrupting influence of money in politics, inequality of power and wealth and the abuses of power by the wealthy. 

What Can We Do Next?

TO READ MORE- Click: How to Defend Our Libraries.

(Read about: Altering the law * Insisting on transparency * defending library buttons * Our Letter of Support * Our petition * Our mailing List * Testimony at public hearings *  Birddogging elected officials  *  Contacting the press *  Social media * Having us speak to yous community organization * Letters to the editor/comment on web articles * Research help * FOIL assistance * Singing the marvelous Judy Gorman library song )

The morning crowd waiting for the Brooklyn Heights downtown library to open
The Petition Being Put Forth By Citizens Defending Libraries

The first petition (gathered over 17,000 signature, most of them online- available at signon.org with a background statement and can still be signed).   On June 16, Citizens Defending libraries issued a new updated petition that you can sign now:
Mayor de Blasio: Rescue Our Libraries from Developer Destruction
CONTACT: To contact Citizens Defending Libraries email MDDWhite (at) aol.com.

The archive of our previous web page (used into December 2017) can be found by clicking HERE.

Irony: Manhattan’s Newest “Library Of The Future” Will Be Named The “Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library,” But A “Librarian Of The Future,” Personified By Edward G. Robinson In His Last Role Says Niarchos Acted “Miserably”

Edward G. Robinson playing a librarian of the future in his last role had stern and unappreciative things to say about Stavros Niarchos after whom the NYPL will name its newest "Library of the Future"
Perhaps you have picked up on this point already: What was once the Mid-Manhattan Library is undergoing going changes now, and it will be relaunched under a new name the “Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library.”  But is this “SNFL” rechristening of the library to name it after the Greek shipping millionaire fortuitous? . . .

The NYPL is promoting the book-eliminating changes at the Mid-Manhattan Library, a consolidating shrinkage that will simultaneously eliminate New York’s biggest science library (which will be turned into a comic book focused “Pop-Culture Museum” by another ship-owning multi-billionaire) as a “Library of the Future.”  There is, however, one thing that may inconveniently haunt that “future”: It’s a “Librarian of the Future” who says the Greek shipping magnate Niarchos “acted very miserably” towards him. 

We are speaking of Edward G. Robinson who played a librarian of the future, a “book,” in the science fiction, future dystopia film “Soylen Green.”  Robinson’s role as a future librarian was famously the last role he ever played shortly before dying: He died January 26, 1973 just 12 days after the filming.  Robinson’s remarks about Niarchos were published in the New York Times shortly before his death, November 5, 1972, in an interview about his life that he gave to promote the film: Little Caesar' Is Still Punching, by Charles Higham.

It’s an interview well worth reading.  You’ll find yourself feeling for the elderly Robinson who had suffered and was feeling the effects of a number of tribulations at the end of his life, including having battling with the House Committee on Un-American Activities when his blacklisting meant he was suddenly deprived of any opportunities to work in the early 1950s.

In the interview Robinson describes the Soylent Green film:
“Soylent Green’ is, I believe, an important picture, a harrowing projection of our existence 50 years from now. It shows very clearly what may well become of us if we don't look out. It is set in Manhattan, a city of 40 million people living miserably and horribly in a depersonalized Orwellian state.
Made in 1972 and released in 1973, the film looked forward to what was then decades away, the year 2022, a year we are now actually about to arrive at.  Whatever people will tell you about when we truly first knew about the dangers of greenhouse emissions and global warming, the film presciently explains that in its version of 2022 “greenhouse effect” has created a stiflingly warm world climate, “A heat wave all year round” where “everything’s burning up.”  The world ecosystems have collapsed and people are starving because food production is minimal.

In this Manhattan of the future, wealth inequality is extremely accentuated, with the wealthy living apart in tall luxury towers protected by extra security.  They treat the common folk of the world as disposable and, with a sort of Harvey Weinstein sort of callousness, apartments come optionally with attractive and usable young women referred to as “furniture.”  The wealthy of this world are more likely than not connected with a few conglomerate mega-corporations, which, if you look behind the scenes, are in control of and virtually indistinguishable from the government that's in charge.  The highest government official wears a military style jacket.  The public is helpless and uninformed.

If you want to know anything, if you want to have any hope of piecing together any part of the big picture to understand matters in context, things that might otherwise never be fully understood or investigated in this world of the future, then books are important . . .
Edward G. Robinson, the future's librarian, a "book"
. . . That’s where the character played by Edward G. Robinson comes in.  He is the one who has access to books and who does critical research to understand the world better.  In the future slang of the movie’s invention he is known as “a book,” but that slang term is essentially the term for the librarians still functioning in that future. The Sol Roth character played by Robinson has his own personal library of books in his shared apartment.  To extend the utility of that small collection he periodically meets with other “books” (other librarians of the future) to exchange books and their knowledge of them as part of a more effectively functioning commons.  A key point plot in terms of learning the landscape of power behind what's unfolding is a banned corporate book that reveals what the powerful corporate elite knew, but weren’t sharing about the escalating waste of the world’s environment.  The frail and elderly Roth is also a touchstone in that he remembers distinctly the once robust natural world of plenty that has vanished.
A key censored book: what the powerful corporate elite knew, but weren’t sharing about the escalating waste of the world’s environment.

Roth, “the book,” lives with and is a symbiotically functioning sidekick assisting the film’s main protagonist, a police detective played by Charlton Heston.

Charlton Heston and Edward G. Robinson in the film
A major set-piece in the film that sets up the film’s climax is the ceremonially orchestrated death that Robinson’s Sol Roth chooses for himself.  The scene was filmed just days before Edward G. Robinson’s own actual death and, to add the ultimate pathos, Robinson reportedly waited to tell Charlton Heston  (and only Heston) that his doctor had told him he was actually about to die until just before the cameras rolled.  And this reportedly affected Heston’s performance.

Edward G. Robinson’s gripe with Stavros Niarchos, laid out fully in the Times interview, involves how  Robinson lost $3 million worth of paintings in a divorce suit.  Robinson had been an avid art collector.  Then, when he was still financially weakened in the wake of his recent blacklisting, he was forced to sell much of his collection.  He sold to Niarchos who later was unwilling to sell back paintings that Robinson was most personally attached to:
    . . .  in order to comply with the California community property laws in his divorce from the former actress Gladys Lloyd, whom he had married in 1927, he had to sell more than half his superb collection, started in 1933, of masterpieces of art. “It was so brutal—the worst ordeal I ever went through. I went to everyone I could think of—rich men who had an affinity for art—Winthrop Rockefeller, Bobby Lehman, Kirkeby out hereto try to arrange for a loan to pay off the estimated worth of half the paintings, but these men played games with me; they only agreed to help provided I would sell them four or five of the paintings for little or no money. And so I said, ‘No deal.’

    “My wife had been very ill, and it proved impossible to reach any kind of sane agreement with her. I had no real estate, very few stocks, nothing else could sell. I had put my money, my whole life's blood, into paintings. Finally, some dealers took the paintings for over three million on behalf of Niarchos, the Greek shipping millionaire. He acted very miserably in the whole matter. He wouldn't let me buy back what I wanted when I finally got the money. Just a few things he condescended to part with, crumbs from the master's table. It was horrible.

    “The worst blow of all was losing Rouault's ‘The Old Clown.’ It was the king of my collection, I used to call him ‘Everyman’ The symbol of man's inhumanity to man. After that divorce suit, I realized just what the phrase inhumanity to man’ really meant.”

    Robinson's eyes clouded over with tears. “As for the remainder of the pictures, I don't know what I'll do with them. For years selected groups, classes, have come to see them. I have never closed them off from the public. You don't own any painting, you pay for the privilege of being a custodian. But I don't like the idea of them ending up in a museum. It's like putting a beautiful dead man or woman in morgue. Last December, I was in the Prado and I was horrified: the paintings there are badly hung, badly lit, you can't see the details. And it's supposed to be a foremost tourist attraction of Spain. No, I don't want to leave these lovely things to a museum, although I suppose inevitably they will end up there. What will I do with them otherwise? I don't know. I don't know.”

George Rouault's "Le Vieux Clown" or "The Old Clown." 
"The symbol of man's inhumanity to man."  -
"It was horrible. . .  I realized just what the phrase inhumanity to man’ really meant.”

Monday, June 4, 2018

Wall Street Journal Reveals Fate Of SIBL, The City’s Biggest Science Library: Super-Wealthy Paul Allen Will Turn It Into “Pop-Culture Museum.”

The "Thing" that will take over NYC's biggest science library
The Wall Street Journal just revealed the currently intended fate of the SIBL, the NYPL’s Science, Industry and Business Library and the city’s biggest Science Library.  Paul Allen, one of the very richest of the world’s multi-billionaires wants to turn it into a “Pop-Culture Museum.”
Allen intends it to be another edition of Allen’s Seattle-based Museum of Pop Culture, or MoPOP where, according to the Journal: “Current exhibits focus on everything from Marvel comics to horror films to the rock band Nirvana.”  (See: Pop-Culture Museum Eyes a Second Home— Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is gearing up to take over a 100,000-square-foot space in the old B. Altman building, By Charles Passy, June 1, 2018.)

An obvious observation the Wall Street Journal article doesn’t offer: A science library, an institution fundamental to a functioning democracy is being destroyed.  This is being done at a time when science itself is under attack by those who are synchronistically interested in crippling democracy.  Yes, the disappearing science library is being replaced by what is called and may actually qualify as a “museum” (it’s being run as a “nonprofit’), but how readily can you differentiate a pop-culture museum like this from straight-out advertising, a further building up the brands owned by the huge media mega-consortiums of which Disney, owning the Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and Muppets brands, is just a fractional part?

Museum web page or advertisement for Marvel's Universe of Super Heros?  Or both?
While this time its being done though an out-and-out sale of the property, shifts that make library space into space that is more commercially supportive way of pop-culture is consistent with what is being done to library space even when it isn’t being sold: The NYPL’s 42nd Street Central Reference Library is being commercialized with book-eliminating wine-cafĂ© and exit-through-the gift shop, “renovations” and with similar changes, the Brooklyn Public Library’s Grand Army Plaza Library (one-third of all the library space in Brooklyn) is eliminating books, while the book appearance veneer the BPL management plans to dress up the plan involves moving its “popular library” out where it can be better seen.  The BPL says that for the sake of these appearances it will make its “popular library” more book focused and less comic book focused than it currently is. . . . There are those comic books again!

The Wall Street Journal article debates whether the new museum will fill a void:
While New York City doesn't have a directly comparable facility to the Museum of Pop Culture, the subject is covered in part by a host of institutions, said Mark Walhimer, a museum consultant based in the city. In particular, he pointed to the Museum of the Moving Image, located in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens.
Yes, if you wanted to see the Star Wars exhibit you had to go to the Brooklyn Museum, where you can now purchase $2,500 tickets if you want to see the David Bowie exhibit on a private basis.  As fun as these exhibits might be, it still raises questions: Are our museums, like our libraries, becoming too commercial?

It’s amazing how Paul Allen’s purchase and the impending demise of the city’s biggest science library has so heretofore been essentially unreported by the press, both local New York City press and National media, unless you want to consider Noticing New York’s reporting: As NYPL Senior Execs Present Pretty Pictures To City Council Of Expensive Mid-Manhattan Do-Over Renovation They Neglect To Mention One Thing: Rush To Immediately Sell SIBL (at a suspiciously low price?) To Very Interesting Buyer, January 11, 2017.

It’s amazing because Paul Allen is such an eccentric and interesting multi-billionaire: As Noticing New York noted, as if out of a James Bond film, he owns a fleet of the world’s largest yachts, a squadron of World War I fighter planes, he’s flying into space and building the world’s largest airplane.

Although it presented breaking news, The Wall Street Journal didn’t do a great job of connecting a number of dots.  Among the points it didn’t mention:
    •    Our suggestion that Mr. Allen donate the SIBL back to the NYPL with the stipulation that it be used as a library, restored to its original intended purpose, something that would probably cost Mr. Allen less than operating his yachts for a very fractional period of time.

    •    The irony that Mr. Allen as a Microsoft co-founder made his money through science.  That makes it much more of a shame that Mr. Allen should now be a party to the destruction of the city’s biggest science library, a sort of “I’ve got mine” mentality while pulling the ladder up after you so that nobody else can follow.

    •    That Mr. Allen’s father worked in a library where the young Mr. Allen would tag along after him as he worked, something else that may have contributed to Mr. Allen's ultimate success.

    •    That Mr. Allen has said that when he tagged along with his father he imagined “a trove of knowledge” found in a library could save a “dying or threatened civilization.”  That may sound virtually like the kind of science-fiction fantasy that might get play in Mr. Allen’s museum, but there is a close correlation between the demise of civilizations and the loss of their libraries.  Further, it can be debated how fictive the idea that we are a threatened society might be.

    •    That it would be very deserving of investigation to look into what seems to be the very low price the NYPL sold all of its SIBL space for.  SIBL was a significant public investment.  The Journal article notes it “opened in 1996 with much fanfare.”  That was when it was christened “the library of the future.”  It is still one of the City’s most modern technologically advanced libraries, just as the central downtown Brooklyn Heights Library was when it was sold.
The Journal article concludes:
The museum's launch would spell the end for the Science, Industry and Business Library, which opened in 1996 with much fanfare. The library's services will be absorbed into Midtown's Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (formerly the Mid-Manhattan Library), which is under renovation and slated to reopen in 2020, library officials said.

The collection would become available at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the main library at 42nd Street.   
That formulation for describing the fate of SIBL elides the fact the science library is going out of existence.  NYPL is ending the Science Library because, as NYPL’s Bill Kelly, its Director of Research Libraries, explained, people should get their information from the internet.  You can listen to Mr. Kelly explain this in our video. . . the clip comes at about the 50 minute marker, directly following the inserted reporting about the proposed elimination of net neutrality.  (And after the ironic inserts about "Dark Money" in the NYPL gift shop and Stephen Schwarzman, and after the walk pass the hedge-funders' soiree in the closed research library.)
Video: NYPL 2nd Presentation of "Master Plan" Dec 7, 2017 Part2.
The Wall Street Journal is behind a pay wall.  This Citizens Defending Libraries post aside, only those who are paid subscribers to the Journal are going to know or be affected by what the Journal has, or has not reported about Paul Allen’s acquisition and the fate of SIBL.  Maybe the readers of the Wall Street Journal are not a group that will find it so essential to know the things noted here as left out of the story. . .   but wouldn’t they, at least, find much of it interesting?

Citizens Defending Libraries did offer comment for the article before its publication, but that comment was not included. 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Latest Non-reporting of National News?– Deaths in Puerto Rico

What does the number 4,645 on San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruzhat mean? You'd be unlikely to guess the magnitude of its importance given the lack of reporting in the media and misinformation in these New York Times headlines.
This seems like the latest non-reporting of the news: an update on the (intentional?) mishandling of the crisis in Puerto Rico that has gone largely unreported.  On Wednesday, May 30th the national media should have covering a new report from researchers at Harvard, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, calculating that the death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria is probably at least 4,645, and perhaps as many as 5,740, at least 70 times higher than official governmental count of just 64. . . .  A death toll of 4,645 would make Hurricane Maria the second-deadliest hurricane in U.S. history, behind only the Galveston Texas Hurricane in 1900.
. . . What was the media devoting huge time to covering while leaving this national disaster news essentially unreported?: The firing of Roseanne Barr!
Low-balling in the headline in the Times print edition when lower in the web edition- see below.
Meanwhile you have to wonder about some of the reporting on the number of deaths that actually did get published, for instance, The New York Times: While Democracy Now reported that the calculation was that there were at least 4,645 deaths, and perhaps as many as 5,740, the Times print edition headline inaccurately characterized the study with a low-balling “Hurricane’s Death Toll In Puerto Rico May Top 4,600, New Study Says.”  The Times web version of the story low-balled it still further: Puerto Rico’s Hurricane Maria Death Toll Could Exceed 4,000, New Study Estimates.” . . .

. . . Obviously, “4,600" is 1,140 less than the 5,740 estimate number that the Times didn’t even mention in its article, and “4,000" is 1,740 less.

The Times reporting also removes context from the photo that San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz tweeted of herself wearing a hat with the number 4,645.

This is an example why we are holding "Where Do You get Your News" forums, the next, our second, this Friday Evening June 1st.  Come join in the discussion.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Destroying The English Commons- Isn’t This Exactly The Wrong Response To An Economic Squeezing?

New York Times front page: To `Tighten' your `belt' in England you sell 17 Liverpool parks to developers and your sold off library is refashioned into a “glass-fronted luxury home.”
Today the New York Times leads off with story on its front page about “belt-tightening” in England telling us about a sorry state of affairs where the English Commons has to be plundered and sold off to . . . . We are told that 17 parks are being sold to developers by the Liverpool local government, that a walk though Prescott in Northwest England shows that the local swimming pool has been eliminated with the razing of the community center, that the local museum is history, and that old library building “has been sold and refashioned into a glass-fronted luxury home.”  (See: Britain’s Big Squeeze– In Britain, Austerity Is Changing Everything– After eight years of budget cutting, Britain is looking less like the rest of Europe and more like the United States, with a shrinking welfare state and spreading poverty.  By Peter S. Goodman, May 28, 2018.)

Yes, we often think of England when we think of the concept of a shared public commons, and this is what reportedly is happening to libraries there.

Destroying the commons with a privatized sell-off to the wealthy is exactly the wrong response to economic squeezing and austerity.  Aren’t such times exactly when people ought to pool and share their resources to stretch them farther?  In fact, in England and the United States, a collective approach to mobilizing for the common good was precisely what helped our countries recover and get moving after the great depression of the 1930s.

A go-it-alone division of resources can accentuate the waste.  The Times article briefly notes that the wealthy in England are still quite wealthy and exceedingly well-off.  The Times does not note that, in these times of the country’s supposed austerity, about $45 million dollars or more was just spent on a royal wedding, almost all of that amount footed by the English tax-paying public, not the wealthy royal family.

While you can read the Times article, we’ll not recommend it as necessarily fair and accurate reporting about whether all this sell off of English public assets is really, as some suggest in the article, the way to pave the road for future “prosperity for all,” instead of just further increasing wealth inequality and further impoverishing the public now and going forward. . . .  

. . . The reason that we can’t recommend the Times article is that the Times has been biased and inaccurate in the past reporting about English politics, exhibiting a strange eagerness to discredit England’s political left: See FAIR’s– NYT: Corbyn Has Marginalized Labour With His Popular Positions, by Jim Naureckas, September 6, 2016.

BTW: Do you find the Times article about the woes in England and the response thereby `necessitated' the sort of narrative prologue whereby we might be more readily conditioned to accept when the similar sacrifices are demanded here in the U.S.?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The 2018 Race For NYS Attorney General Could Be Absolutely Critical To Saving NYC’s Libraries From Sale And Plunder

Two rallies, at one Zephyr Teachout and at the other Tish James, each speaking against selling our libraries and each now a name on people's tongues as candidates for NYS Attorney General
With the extraordinarily abrupt resignation of Eric T. Schneiderman as New York State Attorney General, there are already three very well known names already on people's tongues as the likely candidates to replace him: Zephyr Teachout (who ran a surprisingly strong race for governor against Andre Cuomo), Tish James (current NYC Public Advocate), and Preet Bharara (fired by Trump from the position of U.S. Attorney and current WNYC podcast host).

Who holds the office of NYS Attorney General is important to libraries for two important reasons:
1.)  The NYS Attorney General  regulates charities, thus the libraries, and is charged with preventing the kinds of abuse that are now ongoing.

2.)  The NYS Attorney General has the power and duty to investigate fraud and abuse generally.
The issue of the sale of NYC libraries and the need to investigate is already charged as the names of several potential candidates involve prior history.  It is also charged because Eric Schneiderman, the NYS Attorney General did not step up to meet these obligations when Citizens Defending Libraries requested that he do so and informed him about what he needed to take action on.  See:
Wednesday, July 27, 2016, Open Letter to US Attorney Preet Bharara, NYS Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, et al: Use Your Staggering Powers as Law Enforcers & Public Guardians To Immediately Halt the Corrupt Sale & Shrinking of  Brooklyn Heights Library
All the possibilities are going to require greater reflection in the days going forward.  Among other things, candidates cannot always be counted upon to keep their campaign promises when elected.  An example in point: When first running for NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman made strong statements with respecting his intention to investigate the Atlantic Yards mega-project and abuses of eminent domain.  When elected, he didn't. . . .

Similarly, when Bill de Blasio was first running for mayor he stood with Citizens Defending Libraries in July on the steps of the 42nd Street Central Reference opposing the sale of libraries, but by October was taking money coming from the development team to whom he would soon give the second biggest library in Brooklyn. 

As for the libraries and the candidates in this race, we should note that Zephyr Teachout did a campaign event with us (Citizens Defending Libraries) when she was running for governor.  See:
Saturday, September 6, 2014, PHOTO & VIDEO GALLERY: September 6, 2014 Halt Library Sales Rally (42nd Central Reference Library) With Zephyr Teachout/Tim Wu Campaign- Barry C. Lynn Speaks on Amazon

Citizens Defending Libraries put huge effort into helping Tish James get elected as Public Advocate when she campaigned that she would use that office to oppose NYC library sales.  We even forced Senator Daniel Squadron, her main opposing candidate in the election to change his position to keep up with her.  We are, however, still waiting for Public Advocate James to take the truly significant action she could use the office of Public Advocate for in fulfilling her promises.  As U.S. Attorney for the Southern District it was understood that Preet Bharara was understood to be investigating Mayor Bill de Blasio's sale of the Brooklyn Heights Library (Once Brooklyn's second biggest) amongst other pay-to-play deals.  We still don't know what it means that de Blasio got off the hook days after Trump fired Mr. Bharara.  See:
Wednesday, July 27, 2016, Open Letter to US Attorney Preet Bharara, NYS Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, et al: Use Your Staggering Powers as Law Enforcers & Public Guardians To Immediately Halt the Corrupt Sale & Shrinking of Brooklyn Heights Library
Stay tuned. . . And when you run into the candidates, think about donating to them, ask them about what they intend to do to save our libraries from plunder and be ready to document what they say.

UPDATE:  Here is one more possible candidate for NYSAG: Tim Wu, who candidate for Lieutenant Governor was  Zephyr Teachout's running mate when she ran for governor of New York, tweeted that he is considering running for the office too.  Tim Wu actually got more votes than his running mate in that election and the New York Times endorsed him while not endorsing Teachout in that race.  Tim Wu, considered the father of Net Neutrality as a principle to defend, has written a couple of very important books about the monopolization and control of media and its ability to influence culture and commandeer our attention, plus a number of New York Times op-eds, including one (that we definitely noticed)  excoriating the privatizing take-over of the public sphere, libraries included!  And Tim Wu took a position working in the Attorney General's office so he has that extra experience.