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.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

PRESS RELEASE: Combined Power of Law Enforcers/Public Guardians should halt corrupt library deal

PRESS RELEASE- Law Enforcers and Public Guardians, Preet Bahara, Eric Schneiderman and Scott Stringer Included, are asked to use the combined authority of their five extraordinarily powerful offices to halt the imminent, tragic and corrupt loss of Brooklyn's second biggest, most important library

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New York City

WHAT: Citizens Defending Libraries, in a letter issued yesterday, has asked the five most powerful law enforcers and public guardians in the city to intervene to prevent the indefensible loss to which Mayor de Blasio (violating his campaign pledge plus now under investigation) would cynically subject New Yorkers by shrinking and sinking Brooklyn's second largest and most important library.  The request comes in the wake of the opening of the so-called "replacement" for the Donnell Library that starkly demonstrates, by example, the extent of the pending loss.

Citizens Defending Libraries has asked the officials to intervene immediately to prevent the imminent and drastic loss of the Brooklyn Heights Library rather than simply prosecuting public officials for the harm to the public after the fact.

Citizens Defending Libraries has asked Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Eric T. Schneiderman, Attorney General State of New York, Scott M. Stringer, New York City Comptroller, Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and Letitia James, Public Advocate for the City of New York, to coordinate to use their powers collectively, as is often done in such situations, to avoid any problems with gaps in authority or jurisdiction or skips in handling, believing that some other office was already taking actions necessary.

BACKGROUND:

It has previously been reported that Mayor de Blasio and his administration is under investigation by United States Attorney Preet Bharara and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance for a "pay to play" hand-off of the library to a developer, Hudson Companies, making an inferior bid for the library, a bid $6 million less than one of the two other higher bidders.  NYC Comptroller Stringer is involved in the related, very similar investigation of the Rivington nursing home scandal.

The library deal and preferential hand-off necessarily implicates in the "pay to play" fact pattern trustees and officials of the Brooklyn Public Library who were not only willing to hand off the library to the developer sending contributions to de Blasio campaigns, but were also willing to sell the recently expanded and fully upgraded library for less than the value of the property as a vacant lot (standing to net from the sale less than $20 million for a building it would cost $120+ million to replace).

The clock is ticking.  The library was shuttered only yesterday, the day of the delivery of Citizens Defending Libraries letter.

Citizens Defending Libraries letter to the law enforcers and pubic guardians is available here:
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 
http://citizensdefendinglibraries.blogspot.com/2016/07/open-letter-to-us-attorney-preet.html
Quotes:
"It would be ridiculous to say that nothing can be done by people holding such powerful positions to protect the public and it would be ridiculous to let the library be destroyed now, only to bemoan its passing and prosecute those responsible afterwards."- Michael D. D. White, co-founder Citizens Defending Libraries

"Mayor de Blasio's failed to be present at the opening of the shrunken, sunken so-called "replacement" of Donnell, quite remarkable given how it represents and relates as a model his Heights library deal.  Is that merely practical politics or a guilty conscience?"- Carolyn E. McIntyre, co-founder Citizens Defending Libraries
CONTACT:
Carolyn E. McIntyre, Michael D. D. White

Michael White, 718-834-6184, mddwhite@aol.com
Carolyn McIntyre, 917-757-6542 cemac62@aol.com

Follow us on Twitter: @defendinglibraries

For photos and videos of prior Citizens Defending Libraries rallies opposing the sale, shrinkage, underfunding of New York City libraries, and elimination of books and librarians in the three and a half+ years since its founding, see:

PHOTO GALLERIES- PAST EVENTS

                                                                  #   #   #

Citizens Defending Libraries
(718) 797-5207
http://citizensdefendinglibraries.blogspot.com
@DefendLibraries on twitter
backpack362@aol.com

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

Here is the letter Citizens Defending Libraries delivered today to the city's law enforcers and public guardians asking them to use their immense combined powers to immediately halt the sale, shrinking and sinking of Brooklyn's second biggest library:

July 27, 2016

Preet Bharara
United States Attorney for
    the Southern District of New York
United States Attorney's Office
1 St. Andrew's Plaza
New York City, New York 10007

Eric T. Schneiderman
Attorney General State of New York
Office of the Attorney General
The Capitol
Albany, NY 12224-0341
&
120 Broadway
New York, New York 10271

Scott M. Stringer
New York City Comptroller
Office of the Comptroller City of New York
One Centre Street
New York, NY 10007
 
Robert L. Capers
United States Attorney for
    the Eastern District of New York
United States Attorney's Office
271 Cadman Plaza East
Brooklyn, New York 11201

Letitia James
Public Advocate for the City of New York
Office of the Public Advocate of New York
1 Centre Street, 15 Floor North.
New York, New York 10007

Re:    Using Your Powers to Halt Immediately the Corrupt Sale and Shrinking of the Brooklyn Heights Library

Dear Honorable Law Enforcers & Public Guardians:

In just weeks, weeks that might more readily measured in days, New Yorkers and the communities of Brooklyn and the city can expect to suffer the loss of the Brooklyn Heights central destination library in Downtown Brooklyn.  It’s Brooklyn’s second largest and second most valuable library, an entrusted asset that was meant to be and should be preserved. . .

. . . This is what will happen only if our elected officials and public guardians do not do what they are able to stop the destruction.  That’s why we write this letter to you in your official capacities: We ask you, without delay, to exercise your powers to protect the public.

This central destination library in Downtown Brooklyn is a sturdy well-designed building that was substantially expanded and fully upgraded in 1993.  It is five years newer and more up-to-date than adjacent Forest City Ratner building (part of the same real estate parcel for development purposes) that houses Hillary Clinton’s national campaign headquarters.  It is, significantly, one of Brooklyn’s very best libraries, probably its second best, in terms of the computer resources it affords, but it is even more important for what it was designed to be as a library, a place to find and discover books, including service as a federal depository.

The stories offered about why the library is to be destroyed would all be laughable jokes if they were not so tragically inane and cynically concocted.  The library is to be sold for a pittance, less than the value of the property as a vacant lot, and this critically valuable and irreplaceable library is far from a vacant lot.  While benefitting the real estate industry the sale of the property deeply harms and wrongs the public with the property being handed off for less than its tear-down value to an inferior bidder, one of the low bidders who bid $6 million less than another.  That $6 million left on the table in a deal with a developer who has a political contribution relationship with the mayor under investigation is a huge negative adjustment to the paltry amount the sale will likely net.  Like the New York Public Library’s sale of the Donnell Library, the sale of this Library is likely to net the Brooklyn Public Library less than $20 million when all is accounted for.

Moreover, and more important, the library that is being sold and shrunk to net such a small amount would cost more than $120 million to replace.

“A Stitch In Time” vs. “Spilled Milk”

These are not matters we should wait to lament in retrospect.  These are reasons for you to exercise your powers now to prevent this imminent tragedy and injustice.

Now that the so-called “replacement” for the Donnell Library has opened, the lessons afforded thereby teach us in retrospect everything we need to know about why the loss of the Brooklyn Heights must be actively stopped by your intervention now, not grieved in the future as an unfortunate past.  See: New York Magazine, The New 53rd Street Library Is Nice, Unless You Like to Read Books, by Justin Davidson, July 12, 2016, (“a real-estate” that “sloughed off the leftovers on the public”) City Journal, Books in the Basement- Midtown Manhattan's new library falls short of what a world-class city should provide to its citizens, by Nicole Gelinas, July 1, 2016, (“one of the worst decisions made by a local public institution in decades”. .  “ what is the city's excuse for asking people to be happy that they've been relegated to the basement?”) Jeremiah's Vanishing New York, On Donnell's Replacement & $375 Cocktails, by Jeremiah Moss, July 13, 2016.   Jeremiah's Vanishing New York: On Donnell's Replacement & $375 Cocktails, by Jeremiah Moss, July 13, 2016, (“a surreal nightmare of modern neoliberal urbanization” that “seems doomed to fail as a library.”) New York Times, N.Y. / Region-An Amphitheater- A Laptop Bar. It's a New York Library Like No Other.- Building Blocks, By David W. Dunlap, June 20, 2016 (“secretive plutocrats buying investment aeries in the sky while public institutions are relegated to basements”).

Clearly, although it is nearly nine years since the impending loss of Donnell was suddenly announced this is not a plundering the public is prepared ever to forget.

The closing of the Donnell, another beloved and critically valuable cental destination library,  was announced accompanied by the telling of multiple fictions that included the assuring promise that the library that “replaced” Donnell would likewise bear the name Donnell.  Quite tellingly, as it turns out, library officials haven’t dared to christen the shrunken, sunken inadequate library “Donnell.”

The sale of Donnell, the sacrificing of public benefit for private profit it represents, is another matter that has long cried out for the delivery of an investigation report to the public.  We look to you for such a report which we consider long overdue.  Hopefully statutes of limitations will not have been carelessly allowed to lapse.  That is why we have been a conduit of information respecting the same to your offices.   Especially when the private profit and luxury is so conspicuous, it is naive to believe that such abjectly bad decisions respecting our libraries have been made out of sheer stupidity and nothing else.  We credit city and library officials, both present and former with far more intelligence than that.

As has been documented, the sale, shrinking and sinking of the Brooklyn Heights Library is not only closely modeled on the sale, shrinking and sinking of the Donnell Library, behind the scenes there is a linkage of the people involved and the timing with which these plans were launched. If not stopped here and now, this past will be prologue for depredation of even more libraries, and likely, with that, more attacks on our public commons as we incite developers by demonstrating how easily juicy deals can be dreamed up to wrest away the public’s property.

Investigative Powers

All of your offices have investigative powers.  And your attendant powers extend beyond mere investigation.  The purpose of investigation is not to Monday morning quarterback.  We may punish after investigations and after bad deeds have occurred, but we do it in order to deter future misconduct and protect the public from harm.  Although investigations may take time to mature and carefully document, the idea of having investigative powers is not to let harm be done and then ask for an accounting afterwards.  While often we may stand back and wait on the theory that we are giving people enough “rope to hang themselves,” the bottom line should always be to do everything necessary to prevent harm to the public and that means doing what can be done to prevent it before it occurs.  The destruction of a library that would cost over $120 million to replace, if it could be replaced at all, is not a small matter to let slide by.

Individually, the powers of each of your offices are immense; collectively what you can accomplish is utterly staggering.

Among other things, including prosecutorial powers, the office of the New York State Attorney General is charged with oversight and regulation of the conduct of public charities to ensure that assets entrusted to them are neither squandered nor raided for private gains or purposes other than intended.  In fact, as of 2014 these powers were statutorily augmented to strengthen the "Attorney General's power to police fraud and abuse" by, among other things, "granting clear power to bring judicial proceedings to unwind interested-party transactions."

Similarly, it was only last July that Comptroller Scott Stringer commanded headlines informing the public about how he was expanding the use of his offices powers to investigate and root out corruption in connection with which he unveiled a new “Research and Investigation Unit. . comprised of a team of lawyers and data analysts with extensive backgrounds in financial, criminal and public corruption investigations,” the investigation team being “a powerful addition to our arsenal” with their work enabling us “to dig even deeper into the agencies we audit as we fulfill our mandate to root out fraud and save City taxpayers' hard-earned money.”   The unit’s first work product involved a library system investigation.  Indeed, as of February 5, 2014 Comptroller Stringer assurance to the public was already in place that he was going “to look at the three library systems” and “to examine, through a performance audit and a financial audit” the”entire system,” noting that “there is a big city stake in the libraries.”

And clearly the Brooklyn Heights Library abuses are connected with other investigations the Comptroller has underway.  When we last questioned Comptroller Stringer about the Brooklyn Heights Library sale this year he brought up by analogy his current participation in investigating the very similar set of facts concerning the Rivington House nursing home deal where City Hall turned a nursing home over to a developer making contributions to the Mayor, extinguishing its nonprofit public purpose so that it could be replaced by luxury condominiums.  While de Blasio said, as facts were unearthed, that the deal should not have been done and that it happened without the involvement of anyone high up in his administration, an investigative report shows that the most senior City Hall officials charged by de Blasio with handling such matters, Deputy Mayors Alicia Glen and Anthony Shorris and Shorris’s chief of staff, Dominic Williams, were quite informed about the transaction.  The de Blasio administration is stonewalling against the release of additional emails that would show more.

Likewise, de Blasio and City Hall officials, Deputy Mayor Glen particularly, were exceedingly aware and involved in the deal to shrink and sink the Brooklyn Heights Library.  Despite the emails from the investigation of the Rivington deal, that investigated deal, like the library deal, is inexplicably progressing despite its crookedness and the ways in which it substantially shortchanges the public.

As has been dramatically demonstrated with multiple high profile cases, the U.S. Attorney’s office, particularly the U.S. Attorney’s office for New York’s Southern District can effectively pursue and prosecute political corruption including malfeasance, and the abuse and neglect of duty by elected public officials.  Conversely, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is able to work with local elected officials so that their combined powers and jurisdiction doesn’t leave gaps where the public is told that `nothing can be done’ in the face corruption and abuse.

Whatever reassurance may flow from seeing elected officials prosecuted after the fact for feeding at the public trough, the deterrence value of such actions is severely truncated if the financial deals fueling such corruption are permitted to come to full fruition regardless.  The public is rightly skeptical of any true progress if a continuing round robin of indictments, prosecutions, convictions and removals does nothing more than clear the decks of one set of elected leaders just so that another will be less impeded to step up into their place whilst the powerful interests driving things behind the scenes still benefit and deals continue to be consummated at a huge toll to the public.  Real deterrence requires shutting down those deals.

The New York Times has become adept at what is now almost a signature leitmotif where it sorrowfully eulogizes, after the fact, losses that should not have occurred, losses that might have been prevented except for the Times own failure to exercise journalistic vigilance, take note of what was obvious, investigate and sound the alarm.  Notably, such commiseration and belated fulfillment of “paper of record” functions doesn’t upset any financial applecarts and thus does not align the paper with or serve the public interest.

Similarly, it doesn’t serve for an ascending set of political hopefuls to lament and lambast the conduct of and loss caused by ousted leaders if they, themselves, did not do everything they could in their power to prevent the harm visited upon the public.

Where Will the Blame Be Cast, Where Should the Blame Be Cast For the Destruction of the Brooklyn Heights Library?

There are those who are no doubt prepared to say that, in the end, the destruction of the Brooklyn Heights Library will be laid squarely at the feet of a mayor, Bill de Blasio, with many now being eager to predict his imminent departure.   Mr.de Blasio is the man who, while running for mayor, said of our multiple libraries besieged by sale schemes specifically including the Brooklyn Heights Library in his list:
“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”
So well did Mr. de Blasio know of the real estate developers “right behind the curtain” coveting the libraries that just months later, even while still campaigning he was taking money from the development team to whom he would later award sale of the Brooklyn Heights Library.

To only cast blame on and then expediently shed from public office such a politician as Mr. de Blasio would be too simple and would be to give into a bad habit in corruption investigation where we only blame elected officials for selling out the public, excusing developers and others involved in these schemes as their innocent victims.  Mr. de Blasio’s sale of the library to a low-bidding, campaign-contributing developer for $6 million less than another bidder would not have been possible without the complicity and coordination of Brooklyn Public Library trustees and officials in “charitable” office already intent to sell off, and rationalize post hoc, the library for a minuscule fraction of its true value to the public as a library.

Certainly the developer and those on his team with him are very far from innocent or bone fide purchasers for value and they are not ignorant of the machinations in which they were participating, but it is clear from the minutes of the Brooklyn Public Library trustees meeting that concoction of the Heights library scheme pre-existed the selection of the developer as well as any knowledge on the part of those formulating plans that Mr. de Blasio would be mayor and participate in the scheme’s final effectuation.

The long secret plan to sell the library was developed contemporaneously and with an overlap of players with the sale of Donnell (announced in 2007) which it so closely mimics.  At the BPL October 11, 2011 trustee meeting, BPL president Ms. Johnson made absolutely clear on the record the goal of locking the next mayor (the mayor to follow then Mayor Michael Bloomberg) into the real estate plans that were secretly underway.  Reporting on the real estate plan, Ms. Johnson “reminded the Board of past conversations about the plan and let them know that the goal was to get far enough into the plan with this Mayor so that when a new Mayor takes office, the plan will be deep in progress and he or she will not derail it. She thanked Board Chair Crowell and Trustee Kimball for their work helping with moving it forward.”

At the same time, in order to avoid public objection, information about the BPL’s real estate plans were being kept secret and, as Linda Johnson told the BPL trustees who did not object, “in strict confidence.”  The BPL’s secrecy continues today with a copious amount of information we have informed you about that should be public that is being withheld by a stonewalling BPL, including information legally requested and required to be made available pursuant to Freedom of Information Laws.

Although the Brooklyn Heights Library was entrusted to the BPL for the benefit of the public, the plan that was fixed for its sale and shrinkage down to a preordained 15,000 feet above aground, was intended to be justified with post hoc rationalizations no matter what preceded and that included, not having any assessment of its value the public, the community’s need for it, or what would be paid for the library or netted by the sale.  Among other things, the so-called “replacement” for the library has apparently still never been designed.

While de Blasio will no doubt be properly blamed for signing onto this crooked deal, the developer and the trustees, not his innocent victims, will also be properly blamed.  The public will also have a potent recall of those who failed to exercise their power to stop this deal if it is not stopped.

Again, we ask you to stop this deal now.

Comptroller Stringer

Comptroller Stringer, we thank you for the December 9, 2015 letter from your office to the de Blasio administration addressed to Deputy Mayor Glen (also, as per the investigation emails, Glen is also involved in the Rivington House nursing home scandal) in which you made clear what folly it was for the administration to be pretending that the sale of this library could somehow accord with the public interest.

Since that time there was the last minute revelation of the backroom deal worked out at City Hall, pushed through by Deputy Mayor Glen, that made the deal significantly worse, especially with respect to City Hall’s blank check raid of Department of Education funds for the benefit of the developer, a whole new matter demanding investigation.

In addition, similarly, it was after your letter was delivered that your assessment that the value of the library was being disregarded with the public grossly shortchanged was confirmed and documented by revelations that the de Blasio administration and library trustees and officials had acted in concert to award the hand-off of the library to an inferior low bidder.

There is much here you can prevent and much here you should prevent.  In their trustees meeting the trustees of the BPL were led to believe they have nothing to fear from you.  We hope you act to prove them wrong.

Attorney General Schneiderman

The fact that you have jurisdiction hangs in our minds.  We remember (and we brought to this to the attention of your office) how the trustees of the NYPL involved in selling the Donnell and the launch of the impossible to justify Central Library Plan, were assured of good a relationship with your office when the subject of your increased authority concerning conflict of interests on their behalf came up.

Similarly, the trustees of the BPL were told about the BPL’s hosting of your Brooklyn Community Forum event as reassuringly good relations with your office were described.

There is also the concern of how BerlinRosen is working with the BPL to push through the Brooklyn Heights Library sale.  Acknowledging that BerlinRosen is, overall, problematically tied up in far too much of our city’s politics together with the deals that go along with them, we nonetheless hope that your own relationship with that firm would not be an issue in terms of doing the right thing here.

Your office is doing much good work, including some of the things you have done with respect to the fracking industry.  You have a lead role amongst the state attorneys general conducting the fraud investigation about what oil companies, including Exxon, knew and intentionally concealed as they sought to mislead the public (as well as its own investors) about climate change and the need to limit the use of fossil fuels.

The fossil fuel industry’s creation of a false and manipulative narrative burying the truth is an example of another for private profit driven and selfish assault on what is, in essence, the public commons, that which we collectively own and should be entitled to collectively benefit from, the environment, the earth’s climate, our future safety, security and perhaps even our continued existence on this planet.  Your work to investigate this stealing is important and should bring you deserved recognition.

At the same time, you also have a similar job that needs to be done with respect to some more home-grown problems right here in the backyard of the people who elected you: The real estate industry’s attacks on our public assets, libraries, hospitals, parks, schools.

One of the most important things Eliot Spitzer, one of your predecessors, did in this regard was the lawsuit he filed that saved Manhattan, Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital from a predatory real estate sale.  In accordance with his responsibility to monitor charities, Spitzer challenged  as “unacceptable” the MEET board’s decision-making process and overall behavior in the sale of that hospital invoking his power to seek removal of the board in court because their pursuit of a sale did not respect the duty of the board of directors, as a not-for-profit corporation, to use its entrusted charitable assets to keep first priorities in mind and further the organization's charitable mission.  Now of course, in a similar situation we see that one of the federal “pay to play” investigation going on respecting the de Blasio administration concerns the sell-off of Long Island College Hospital to the real estate industry.

The ostensible reasons for selling, shrinking and sinking the Brooklyn Heights Library are false in multiple, easy to document ways.  Just as the fossil fuel industry manipulated and lied to present a false and fraudulent narrative to the public concerning climate change, Love Brooklyn Libraries! presented to the Attorney General’s office documentation of how the Brooklyn Public Library was cooking its books concealing over $100 million in unspent capital funds while it was claiming that impoverishment was forcing it to sell the Brooklyn Heights Library.

After Attorney General Schneiderman refused to review these patterns of fraud and by the BPL (ostensibly for lack of jurisdiction), this was taken to the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York where the response from the attorney assigned was that this needed to be handled by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman because of the Attorney General Office’s jurisdiction over misconduct by New York State charities.

US Attorney Bharara and Capers

US Attorney Bahrara, we thank you for your investigation of the library sale.  As previously communicated we stand ready to provide you with more information in addition to that which we have already furnished.  We can also offer information to US Attorney Capers’ office additional to that which was previously furnished.

Public Advocate James

Your office has standing and resources to address the theft and waste of public assets that far surpass any individual citizen’s or even organizations thereof.  We appreciate how you highlighted the issue of so protecting our public assets and specifically our libraries during your campaign for the office of Public Advocate, your acceptance speeches after the elections and in your inaugural address for that office.   As we thank Comptroller Stringer for the December 9, 2015 letter he issued from his office we also thank you for the December 9, 2015 letter you similarly issued echoing his.

While you may not have the same powers to criminally prosecute as the US Attorneys and Attorney General, we note that this often gives you a freer hand to take initiative when required for the public’s protection.  And, exceedingly pertinent to our writing, it is within the power of your office to ensure that information that should be public is made public.  Lastly, we note that the revelations with respect to investigations markedly change the situation since you last dealt with it in connection with the City Council.

Why We Write to You Collectively

We write to you collectively to avoid improper runarounds and/or gaps in authority and jurisdiction and we hope that you, collectively, will do all that is certainly in your power to ensure that the public does not lose this library, this extraordinarily valuable public asset.  We implore you individually and collectively to act so that this does not happen because any public officials are shirking their responsibility or abusively neglectful of their duties to protect the public.

Conclusion

We are well aware that investigations are often long-term, going on behind the scenes and secret from the public for years so that sufficient evidence for the strongest possible, most airtight cases can be collected and so that trails leading to related misconduct can be pursued.  We are also aware that there are tradeoffs that must be evaluated as to whether the continued keeping of such investigations secret is worth the additional and irremediable pending harm that will befall the public.

We hope that you are already well advanced into your investigation of these matters.  In any event, we urge you to act immediately.  The loss of such a valuable irreplaceable library is too much of a loss to ask the public to sustain as public officials stand by.

We request that your actions also include communications that make clear that anyone complicit in any harm that may hereafter befall the library risks personal financial jeopardy by virtue of future pursuit of restitution.

The announced sale of Donnell is already nearly nine-year-old history and still nothing has been done about it.  Just as the public remembers and is appalled by that episode, the destruction of the Brooklyn Heights Library will not pass from public memory and all will be remembered in terms of what public officials did or did not do that was within their power to prevent it.

Thank you for your consideration and thank you for acting immediately to prevent this grotesque harm to the public.

Sincerely,

Michael D. D. White
Carolyn E. McIntyre    Co-founders of
Citizens Defending Libraries
   
CC:     James Sheehan, Esq. 120 Broadway
           Alaina Gilligo, Municipal Building
           Ibrahim Khan, 1 Centre Street,
           Barbara Sherman, 1 Centre Street,
           Governor Andrew Cuomo
           New York State Comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli

Monday, June 27, 2016

Sign Our Citizens Defending Libraries Petition + Contribute (We Are Now Fundraising To Litigate)

Please sign our petition:
Mayor de Blasio: Rescue Our Libraries from Developer Destruction
Please sign (click here) our petition: Mayor de Blasio: Rescue Our Libraries from Developer Destruction

Please contribute (we are now fundraising to litigate):
Please sign click here to contribute on our Gofundme campaign

Citizens Defending Libraries Resource And Main Page

Defend our libraries, don't defund them. . . . .  fund 'em, don't plunder 'em 
Citizens Defending Libraries Rally at City Hall 4/18/2013 with Comptroller John C. Liu
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, with libraries being intentionally underfunded, their books and librarians eliminated.   During its its as yet short existence 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, but the libraries are still besieged by the threat of such plans.

This page (which will be periodically updated) provides resources in connection with the petition and campaign to oppose the defunding of New York City's libraries, the shrinkage of the system and the sale of library real estate in deals that prioritize benefit for developers.

Chart from Center From an Urban Future report showing sharp decline in funding (coinciding with plans to sell off/"leverage" libraries) against escalating use.  
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
You can also paste the following url into your browser.

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/mayor-de-blasio-rescue-2?source=s.tw&r_by=5895137 

This José Marti quote which can be found in this plaque on 41st Street's Library Walk is included in the petition to save New York City's libraries

All libraries in the New York City system are currently under siege.  For more details about affected libraries click here:  What Libraries Are Affected By City Strategy Of Defunding, Shrinking, Selling Off Libraries?

Here are additional action steps you can take that go beyond promoting the petition in order to help this campaign succeed: Action Steps You Can Take Including Contacting Elected and Other Public Officials.

Note about Citizens Defending Libraries (and allied groups) on Facebook and Twitter:   This, or any other of the individual pages at this Citizens Defending Libraries web location can be "liked" on Facebook if you go to the bottom of this page.  In addition, there is a Citizens Defending Libraries Facebook page that can also be "liked" on Facebook at:  Facebook- Citizens Defending Libraries (which will help you get notice of articles and new information pertaining to the cause when there are updates).  You can also follow Citizens Defending @DefendLibraries on twitter.

Our Facebook and Twitter will keep you up to date with the latest news and articles as they come out and allow you to easily share Tweets and posts.

In addition, the Committee to Save the New York Public Library has a Facebook page, and can be followed on Twitter (@saveNYPL).  Library Lovers League also has a Facebook page, and can be followed on Twitter (@LibraryLoversNY).

 News ArticlesAvailable Reference Articles

 •    Wall Street Journal: Undertaking Its Destruction, by Ada Louise Huxtable, December 3, 2012.
“There is no more important landmark building in New York than the New York Public Library, known to New Yorkers simply as the 42nd Street Library, one of the world's greatest research institutions. Completed in 1911 . . . . it is an architectural masterpiece. Yet it is about to undertake its own destruction. The library is on a fast track to demolish the seven floors of stacks just below the magnificent, two-block-long Rose Reading Room for a $300 million restructuring referred to as the Central Library Plan.”
 •    New York Times: Critic’s Notebook- In Renderings for a Library Landmark, Stacks of Questions, by Michael Kimmelman, January 29, 2013.
“this potential Alamo of engineering, architecture and finance would be irresponsible. . . a not-uncommon phenomenon among cultural boards, a form of architectural Stockholm syndrome.”
•    Noticing New York: 
    •    New City-Wide Policy Makes Generation Of Real Estate Deals The Library System’s Primary Purpose, (January 31, 2013).
 “Do we want a shrinking library system for a growing, wealthier city? . .  
     . . .  It’s what we are going to get as the principal purpose of the library system becomes the generation of real estate opportunities for developers.  This new city-wide policy has, in a very harmful way, turned into a perverse incentive for the city to defund libraries and drive them into the ground.”
    •    City Strategy Of Withholding Basic City Services To Blackmail Public Into Accepting Bigger Development, (Friday, February 1, 2013)
    •    What Could We Expect Forest City Ratner Would Do With Two Library Sites On Sale For The Sake Of Creating Real Estate Deals? (Sunday, February 3, 2013)
Two of the sites identified for sale in the forefront of this march towards divestiture of assets with a concomitant shrinkage of the system are in Brooklyn.   . . .  Whether by coincidence or not, both of these sites . .  are immediately adjacent to property the government has previously put in the hands of Forest City Ratner pursuant to no-bid deals . . .
    •    Libraries That Are Now Supposedly “Dilapidated” Were Just Renovated: And Are Developers’ Real Estate Deals More Important Than Bryant Park? (Saturday, February 9, 2013)
    •    If Our Besieged Libraries Could Speak For Themselves: Maybe They Do! A Petition And Efforts To Save New York’s Libraries From Developer Deals, (Wednesday, February 20, 2013)
The greatest shame of such a plan is that it, even if it shakes loose a few real estate deals, maybe a few every year, it is a travesty to continually drives all libraries and the entire system into the ground financially.
•    Center For An Urban Future:  Report - Branches of Opportunity, by David Giles, January 2013
[Libraries] “have experienced a 40 percent spike in the number of people attending programs and a 59 percent increase in circulation over the past decade”
 •    New York City Independent Budget Office:  Funding Cuts Could Shelve Many Library Branches, by Kate Maher and Doug Turetsky, April 13, 2011 
“The funding fall-off is already taking a toll on the city’s three library systems, particularly the systems in Brooklyn and Queens.” . . .“more than three dozen branch libraries may be closed.”  [Bloomberg on a course to bring waning city funding for New York’s three library systems to its] “lowest level since the 1990s.”   [The city’s 59 community boards ranked library services their] “third highest budget concern” . . [and] “Brooklyn’s community boards ranked libraries their top priority.”
.•    The Albert Shanker Institute:  The High Cost Of Closing Public Libraries, by Matthew Di Carlo, April 18, 2011
In fiscal year 2008 (again, according to the U.S. Census Bureau), there were roughly 9,300 public libraries in the U.S., with a total cost of around 10.7 billion dollars. That figure represents roughly 0.4 percent – four tenths of one percent – of all state and local government expenditures. On a per capita basis, this is about 35 dollars per person.  [local-level analyses] “have found that for every dollar we spent on public libraries, the public realizes about 3-5 dollars in benefits.”
•    The Daily News:  Coming to Brooklyn Heights: the incredible shrinking library, patrons and residents charge -- Controversial plan to sell library building to private developer who will build apartment tower over it, by Lore Croghan, February 17, 2013.
. . . a controversial plan to sell the city-owned Brooklyn Heights Library building to a private developer who will erect an apartment tower with a new, 15,000 square foot branch - smaller than the book hall that’s there now.. . . many patrons use the business library like it’s part of their neighborhood branch — and are upset the space will be eliminated.
•     Library Journal: Donnell sale highlights need for transparency in decision-making, by Francine Fialkoff, Editor-in-Chief, February 1, 2008
. . . the building that housed Donnell has been sold to make way for a hotel and a much smaller public library. .  (w)ith the proposed library having less than half the space for public services as the old Donnell . . . questions remain about the location of some of the collections. . . More importantly, the breakup of the collections diminishes the role of Donnell as a central library . . .  The decisions . . .  [were] communicated to staff (and in the case of Donnell, to the public) largely after the big decisions have been made.

Should a public/private entity like NYPL. .  so blithely sidestep public and staff input?
[The] Libraries Subcommittee chair of the New York City Council . . . “. . didn't know about the Donnell sale ahead of time.”  “It's troubling . . . in terms of . .  the whole mission of the library.”

. . .  It's way past time for NYPL leaders to come out from behind their cloak of secrecy. .  get staff and public feedback before making any other sweeping changes.
•      Walkers In The City:  Patience and Fortitude, by Romy Ashby. February 22, 2013.
The meeting was crowded with mostly older people hearing the same kind of talk about their library and smelling a rat. “The 42nd Street library isn’t the only library in trouble,” a man said. “It’s the whole library system.” A lady in her seventies told of standing up to Robert Moses and winning. “We’re not gonna watch our libraries be demolished!” she said. “We want the library we have, nothing less! The minute you give in to their conditions you’re finished! You get bupkis!” I sat and listened, and some of what I heard was this:

The city is deliberately underfunding the libraries despite library use being way up. Perfectly good libraries are being labeled ‘Dilapidated’ to justify their destruction. Librarians have been warned to sound enthusiastic if asked about any such plans. The money from the sale of libraries will not go back into the library system, despite what library brass may say. . .
•        The Leonard Lopate Show: Controversy at the New York Public Library, Scott Sherman, a contributing writer for The Nation and Caleb Crain, a former Fellow at the NYPL and author of American Sympathy, talk about the proposed changes, staffing cuts and construction plans, March 12, 2012.



•       The Nation: Upheaval at the New York Public Library, by Scott Sherman, November 30, 2011.

•       The Nation: The Hidden History of New York City’s Central Library Plan: Why did one of the world’s greatest libraries adopt a $300 million transformation without any real public debate?, by Scott Sherman, August 28, 2013.
 For two years, the NYPL has refused to discuss the CLP in detail, and many questions remain unanswered. How and why did one of the world’s greatest libraries get into the real estate business? How did the CLP, which was formulated between 2005 and early 2007, advance into late 2011 without any significant public debate or discussion? Who first conceived the idea of demolishing book stacks that were constructed by Carrère and Hastings in the first decade of the twentieth century? What role did the Bloomberg administration play in the creation of the CLP? Finally, what was the role of Booz Allen Hamilton—the gargantuan consulting firm whose tentacles reach into the defense, energy, transportation and financial service sectors—which was hired by the NYPL in 2007 to formulate what became known inside the trustee meetings as “the strategy”?
•       The Wall Street Journal: Clueless at the Corcoran- What the museum's latest bad decision says about nonprofit governance, by Eric Gibson, February, 24, 2014.
. . .  the untold story of our time is the emerging crisis in nonprofit governance, where boards embark on policies that go against-and even imperil-the mission of the institution they are charged to oversee and protect.

. . . The New York Public Library wants to gut its magnificent Beaux Arts building on Fifth Avenue and change it from a research institution to, as Ada Louise Huxtable wrote in this newspaper, "a state-of-the-art, socially interactive, computer-centered" circulating library, with fewer books, a good number of them moved off-site.
•       The Brooklyn Eagle (Exclusive): Brooklyn Public Library in line for audit, says Comptroller Stringer, by Mary Frost, February, 28, 2014.
Groups opposing the controversial sales of Brooklyn and Manhattan library branches to developers have long been pushing for an audit of the BPL and NPL systems. . .

“Some of the things raised with respect to the Queens library system are interesting and worth investigating but the Queens expenditures ($140K for a conference deck) are penny ante compared to the library sales at the NPL and the BPL,” commented Michael D. D. White, a founding member of Citizens Defending Library, following a Brian Lehrer interview with Comptroller Stringer. “The Queens Library system has not been selling off libraries like the other two,” White added.
•       City Limits: New Scrutiny of City's Library Trustees- The trustees of the city's library systems oversee more than 200 branches and the spending of hundreds of millions of city dollars. How representative of the city are they?, by Suzanne Travers, June 18, 2014.
Over the last year, library trustees have seen more of the spotlight than usual because of moves that put boards at odds with public opinion. . .

* * *
As repositories of information available to anyone who walks through the door, libraries have always helped foster transparency, accountability and democracy. Their boards, however, struggle on all three counts.
 
 •      The Brian Lehrer Show: Giving Libraries Their Due, David Giles, research director at the Center for an Urban Future and the author of the report, "Branches of Opportunity", argues that New York City's public libraries deserve even more support in the digital age. (Click below to listen) January 15, 2013.
More people visited public libraries in New York than every major sports team and every major cultural institution combined.


Chart from the Independent Budget Office- Adjustments for inflation (per the Urban Future report) shows downturn in starkest relief.
Meville House article on Citizens Defending Libraries event used picture from July rally where Bill de Blasio joined CDL to call for a halt to these library sales.  Video of event on CDL's Youtube channel.
  •      Melville House: Citizens Defending Libraries calls the Central Library Plan “a real estate grab” and “contrary to the public interest”, by Claire Kelley, February 19, 2014.
Citizens Defending Libraries, which was co-founded by Michael D. D. White and Carolyn McIntyre, has been organizing protests and actions against the Central Library Plan. They have told us that they are continuing to solicit "petition signatures to ensure the de Blasio administration scraps all of the Bloomberg library sell-off plans.". .

. . . Citizens Defending Libraries is just now arriving at our first anniversary, just blowing out the single candle on our birthday cake.  We formed in response to breaking headlines at the very beginning of last year about how libraries were being sold off at the end of the Bloomberg administration in deals that would benefit real estate developers, not the public.
 
  •      New York Times: Denying New York Libraries the Fuel They Need, by Jim Dwyer, April 23, 2015.
The city's libraries - the fusty old buildings, and a few spiffier modern ones, . .  have more users than major professional sports, performing arts, museums, gardens and zoos - combined.

* * * *

Over the last decade, they have not gotten anywhere near the kind of capital funding enjoyed by sports teams.

From the 2006 fiscal year through 2014, the city budgeted at least $464 million to build new baseball stadiums for the Yankees and the Mets, and $156 million for the Barclays Center. That's $620 million for just those three sports arenas - a sum more than one-third greater than the $453 million that the city committed for capital improvements to the its 206 branch libraries and four research centers, which serve roughly seven times as many people a year as attend baseball games. (The budget figures were provided by the city's Independent Budget Office; the teams are getting an additional $680 million in subsidies spread over 40 years.)
For decades, the libraries have served a single function in the city budget process: hostages. Mayors say they have to cut library hours to make the financial books balance.. .
 Additional Links. For more in a running series of Noticing New York articles about the libraries click here: Libraries Series.  Also, here are pages with articles that reference respectively 1.)  The Central Library Plan affecting the Tilden Astor Central Reference Library at 42nd Street, the Mid-Manhattan, Library, SIBL and the Donnell, 2.) The Brooklyn Heights libraries, and The Pacific Branch library, and 3.) Libraries in general.  



Foreground: The lion Patience , of Patience and Fortitude fame, in front of 42nd Street Research Library, whose research stacks will be sacrificed.  Background:  Mid-Manhattan Library that will be sold in system shrinkage plans
Flyers and Handouts Images, Cartoons, Flyers, Handouts Posters 

For images and cartoons for posters, rallies and handouts CLICK HERE.  For flyers and handouts for canvassing and getting the word out about the petition CLICK HERE.

Videos

Citizens Defending Libraries is making videos available on the Citizens Defending Libraries YouTube Channel.  Selected videos from that channel can also be found here in the Video Page.

Related Petitions

(It is expected more will be added to this list with accompanying explanations)

**** Citizens Defending Libraries is right now is working with the Committee to Save the New York Public Library and Library Lovers League to make sure every signs and (electronically) sends this email to the mayor (CCs are going to other elected officials): Email the Mayor!  ****


There is another separate petition (currently over 1300 signatures) by the Committee to Save the New York Public Library that has been up for some time and specifically opposes the Central Library Plan in Manhattan:

    Anthony W. Marx: Reconsider the $350 million plan to remake NYC's landmark central library

The following petition to save Long Island College Hospital (LICH) is relevant to the save the libraries petition, particularly for the residents of Brooklyn Heights and Northwest Brooklyn, because of commonality of related issues that were explained at the annual Brooklyn Heights Association meeting and in the following article:  Wednesday, February 13, 2013, One-Stop Petition Shopping: Report On The Brooklyn Heights Association Annual Meeting, LICH and Libraries.
Governor Andrew Cuomo and NYS Health Department Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah : Keep University Hospital Brooklyn at Long Island College Hospital open, by  Assemblywoman Joan Millman

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
You can also paste the following url into your browser.

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/mayor-de-blasio-rescue-2?source=s.tw&r_by=5895137 

CONTACT: To contact Citizens Defending Libraries email Backpack362 (at) aol.com.

Upcoming and Recent Events

[Back To Main Page]  (The main updates to this page now just occur in the calendar below.)

Below is Citizens Defending Libraries publicly available Google Calendar (set up 03/22/2013) where event may appear first before being transcribed into the bullet calendar items that appear before it

 
IMPORTANT UPCOMING EVENT: Mayoral forum on Libraries hosted by Citizens Defending Libsaries and the Committee to Save the Public Library from 8:30 AM to 10:30 AM, Friday August 30, 2013 at the Kane Street Synagogue in Cobble Hill Brooklyn.  Click on calendar even below for further details.
Upcoming Events
•   Please refer to the calendar above for upcoming events.  We have switched over to this (together with periodic emails to signers of the petition) as the primary means of updating people although we may occasionally list put certain future events down below here to get them extra attention.
•   Important Note Respecting One Of The Events In The Calendar Above-  The Jun 8 – 9, 2013 24-Hour Library Read-In by New Yorkers Standing Up for Libraries- Hosted by Urban Librarians Unite.  This is one of the events on the calendar not organized by Citizens Defending Libraries (most are not).   Urban Librarians Unite (created circa 2008) contacted Citizens Defending Libraries to express their wish that Citizens Defending Libraries communicate Urban Liberians Unite's wish that people not come to attend their 24-Hour Library Read-In event if they believe:
    •    We shouldn’t be selling off our NYC libraries the way we are.
    •    We shouldn’t be shrinking our library system assets
    •    It is a matter of public concern that we are getting less than appropriate value when these assets are sold, and/or
    •    Public representatives should assert themselves to protect these public assets.
Urban Librarians Unite also informed CDL that they considered inclusion of this publicly advertised (previously come-one-come-all event) public event in the calender “unacceptable.”  In other words they wanted to Shush us about their "We Will Not Be Shushed Read In June 8 & 9th! Sign Up Now!" event.  Urban Librarians Unite objected to the testimony CCL delivered at the City Council budget hearing on June 5, 2013 and apparently, there was concern on their part that people with negative feelings about library sales and shrinkage might participate in the event to express their opposition to underfunding of libraries, or that such people might communicate with attendees of the event about this related subject. CDL doe not allow those holding public events to dictate exclusion (or inclusions) of information in the calendar about relevant library related events (mayoral forums, library trustee events, etc.), but agreed, in this instance to express the above about ULU's conscientious efforts to exclude public opposition to the library sales and shrinkage from their message. 
 Recent and past Events
•    Sunday, February 17th, 5:00 PM: Progressive Community Building Event, Brooklyn Heights, Montague & Hicks Streets
 •    Sunday, February 24th, 4:00 PM: Progressive Community Building Event, Brooklyn Heights (Clark & Monroe)
 •     Thursday, February 28, 5:00 PM:  People should show up early for a meeting at the Brooklyn Heights Library (280 Cadman Plaza) about the proposed sell-off and shrinkage of that library, possibly to Forest City Ratner. It will include attendance by elected representatives, City Councilman Steve Levin and State Senator Daniel Squadron and representatives of the Brooklyn Heights Association.

•     Sunday, March 3, 4:00 PM: Progressive Community Building Event, Brooklyn Heights (Clark & Monroe)  Petition signers are invited to click on the link to sign up for this event (on Moveon.org) where next steps in our campaign will be discussed.

•     Friday, March 8, 10:00 AM: (testimony opportunity at 1:00 PM):   (Click the sign-up LINK to let us know us know you are coming - Council green sheet notice in image at right, click to enlarge) There will be a City Council hearing about the city budget for libraries meaning that it will provide a forum for addressing the defunding of libraries and the “demolition by neglect” of the library system preparatory to its shrinkage through the proposed sell-offs to developers.  We are planning a demonstration for 10:30 AM when we expect press to be there.  The public will have to wait to testify last, starting at 1:00 PM.  Citizens Defending Libraries has issued a press release.  Pictures and testimony are available here: Testimony By Citizens Defending Libraries At March 8, 2013 City Council Committee Hearing On Library Budget Issues
 •     Saturday, March 9, 4:30 PM: Progressive Community Building Event, Brooklyn Heights (Clark & Monroe)  Petition signers are invited to click on the link to sign up for this event (on Moveon.org) where next steps in our campaign will be discussed.
•     Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 5:30 PM: The City Services and Budget Committee of Community Board 5 will meet 5:30 p.m. at the Board Office, 450 Seventh Ave, Suite 2109, to discuss and respond to the Mayor's Preliminary budget.  The Community Board should be asked to oppose the Central Library Plan and the shrinkage of the City’s libraries, particularly the main libraries within their district for the sake of all New Yorkers in the city, to oppose the defunding of libraries being used as an excuse for these real estate deals and should be asked to stand up and demand that Donnell Library (also being consolidated in the shrinkage of the CLP) be restored to it original size or bigger, rather than being shrunk to ½ or 1/3 of its previous size.
•     Wednesday, March 13, 10:00 AM: Join the District Council 37 Local 1930 New York Public Library Guild Rally on the steps of City Hall for an immediate change to a permanent baseline funding for New York City's libraries.
•     Saturday, March 16, 2:00 - 4:00 PM: Canvassing outside Brooklyn Heights Branch and Business and Career Library (weather reasonably permitting).

 •     Sunday, March 17, 4:00 PM: Progressive Community Building Event, Brooklyn Heights (Clark & Monroe)  Petition signers are invited to click on the link to sign up for this event (on Moveon.org) where next steps in our campaign will be discussed.
•     Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 6:30 PM: Meeting of trustees of the "Friends of the Brooklyn Heights Library" (not really friends) at Brooklyn Heights Library (280 Cadman Plaza).  Public not invited.
•     Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 10:00 AM: City Planning Commission review and public hearing for the Walentas Two Tree Development BAM South project in connection with which BPL is proposing the closing and sell-off of the Pacific Branch library.  22 Reade Street.
•     Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 6:30 PM: Committee of Brooklyn's Community Board 6 meeting for the BPL's first presentation of its intentions to representatives of the community board (after the City Planning hearing) with respect to its proposed closing and sell-off of the Pacific Branch library and the proposed opening of a library in in the Walentas Two Tree Development BAM South project. 78th Police Precinct, 65 6th Avenue, Court Room (between Bergen/Dean Streets).
•     Thursday, March 21, 5:00 PM:  Meeting (open to the public) chaired by "Friends of the Brooklyn Heights Library" (not really friends) on behalf of Brooklyn Public Library at the request of Brooklyn Heights Association to further the sale and shrinkage of the Brooklyn Heights library.  Elected's and their representatives may attend to participate. At Brooklyn Heights Library (280 Cadman Plaza).
•     Saturday, March 23, 2:00 - 4:00 PM: Canvassing outside Brooklyn Heights Branch and Business and Career Library (weather reasonably permitting).
 •     Sunday, March 24, 4:00 PM: Progressive Community Building Event, Brooklyn Heights (Clark & Monroe)  Petition signers are invited to click on the link to sign up for this event (on Moveon.org) where next steps in our campaign will be discussed.
 •     Saturday, March 30, 2:00 - 4:00 PM: Canvassing outside Brooklyn Heights Branch and Business and Career Library (weather reasonably permitting).
  •     Wednesday, April 3, 6:00 PM: Mayoral Forum.  St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn New York 11201.
 •     Sunday, April 7, 4:00 PM: (We are skipped a week because of Easter) Progressive Community Building Event, Brooklyn Heights (Clark & Clinton)  Petition signers are invited to click on the link to sign up for this event (on Moveon.org) where next steps in our campaign will be discussed. 
  •     Thursday, April 11, 8:00 PM: Mayoral Forum.  Jewish Center of Jackson Heights.  See calendar above.
  •    Citizens Defending Libraries Libary Protection Week Events- A Series of Events from Saturday, April 13th to Thursday April 18th[This week of events is documented in pictures, video and vido links here: PHOTO GALLERY- CDL's Library Protection Week and there is also a press release for the culminating City Hall CDL Press Conference with Comptroller John C. Liu.] Come to our rallies to protect and defend our public Libraries from being underfunded and sold off to private developers. Let our public officials know they need to put a halt to any more sales and restore proper funding to the system!  See events below culminating at City Hall with the New York City Comptroller. 
NYS Assemblywoman Joan Millman
City Council Member Stephen Levin speaking 
Brooklyn Heights Library
280 Cadman Plaza by Tillary
•    Pacific Library
Park Slope/Boerum Hill Brooklyn 
For more info (and you can let us know you are coming)
 •     (Sunday, April 14, 4:00 PM: Also listed below- Citizens Defending Libraries regular weekly planning meeting, - not officially part of Library Protection Week events- Progressive Community Building Event, Brooklyn Heights (Clark & Clinton)  NOTE: Comptroller John Liu will visit and speak with use from 4:00 PM to 4:30 PM.)

  •    Monday, April 15, Noon to 1:00
Central Library Plan Sit Out and Rally
In front of 42st Central Reference Library and Mid-Manhattan  Branch
For more info (and you can let us know you are coming)
20 West 53rd Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, (meet on 40 West 53rd)
Home of Winnie The Pooh, rare music CDs, and documentaries
Sold off to a developer in 2008 and still no promised replacement
Come say We Remember and Never Again!
For more info (and you can let us know you are coming)
Steps of City Hall
Comptroller John Liu to speak 
Come early to go through security
Sign up, get info here (and you can let us know you are coming)
•     Sunday, April 14, 4:00 PM: Progressive Community Building Event, Brooklyn Heights (Clark & Clinton)  NOTE: Comptroller John Liu will visit and speak with use from 4:00 PM to 4:30 PM. Petition signers are invited to click on the link to sign up for this event (on Moveon.org) where next steps in our campaign will be discussed.
   •     Saturday, April 20, 9:30 AM (doors open): Mayoral Forum on Public Housing at Salvation Army Auditorium (starts at 10:30 AM) .  See calendar above.
 •     Sunday, April 21, 4:00 PM: Progressive Community Building Event, Brooklyn Heights (Clark & Clinton)  Petition signers are invited to click on the link to sign up for this event (on Moveon.org) where next steps in our campaign will be discussed.
    •     Monday, April 22, 6:00 PM: Mayoral Forum on Sustainability.  See calendar above.

    •     Tuesday, April 23, 8:30 AM: Mayoral Forum on Small Business and Workforce issues.  See calendar above.

    •     Wednesday, April 24, 6:00 PM: Community Board 2 Cultural Committee meeting, presentation from BPL on sale and shrinkage of Brooklyn Heights Library, also report on Clinton Hill and Walt Whitman libraries.  See calendar above.
•     Sunday, April 28, 4:00 PM: Progressive Community Building Event, Community Room in 101 Clark Street, Brooklyn Heights (Clark & Clinton) where next steps in our campaign will be discussed.
 •     Create Your Own Event!!!: It might be canvassing outside your own library or library of your choice.  Or maybe an information event at your school or church.  Contact us if you would like our help or suggestions.  We can post information about your event here.  We will also be happy to coordinate to send a representative to your event.
 CONTACT: To contact Citizens Defending Libraries email Backpack362 (at) aol.com.

You may also leave a comment with information in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

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
You can also paste the following url into your browser.

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/mayor-de-blasio-rescue-2?source=s.tw&r_by=5895137