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.

Friday, February 13, 2015

MEDIA ADVISORY (& Press Release): Library Lovers Gather on Valentine's Day to Speak and Sing of Aching Hearts

WHAT: Citizens Defending Libraries, the Committee to Save the New York Public Library and Reverend Billy and his Choir cry out in concert about the ache in our hearts for our library losses
WHEN: Saturday, February 14, 2015, 12:00 Noon.
WHERE: Front steps of the 42nd Street Central Reference Library, Fifth Avenue Between 42nd and 40th Streets, New York, NY, 10018This Valentine's Day we, as library lovers and defenders, will gather to speak and sing of an ache in our hearts.
This Valentine's Day at noon we will gather on the steps of the 42nd Street Central Reference Library to tell NYPL and library administration officials that there is a hole in our hearts and that we miss the things we love and want them back, now. . .

We will gather with Revered Billy and his fabulous choir who have two soulful songs about our library losses to send up to the heavens as we pray for the preservation and return of what we love: "You Don't Update a Masterpiece," and "Library Blues."

. . . We will bring ROSES, a rose apiece, to say that we miss our beloved ROSE Reading Room, closed since flowers bloomed last May when the Rose Reading Room was suddenly shut down.. .

. . .  We miss, and ache for the return of ALL our books, ALL the books that library administration officials have been removing from the libraries.  That includes all the books that were spirited away during the Bloomberg administration, emptying all the millions of research books from the stacks under the Rose Reading Room, stacks intended to hold three million books and designed to support the Rose Reading Room literally and literarily, both structurally and as a matter of its core function and raison d'ĂȘtre.  We miss all the books that have been spirited away and not returned to other libraries, including the books of additional NYPL libraries and those of Brooklyn.  And if the libraries had not been intentionally starved of funds in recent years as real estate deals to sell them were conceived there would be more books in Queens as well.

Where are the books that once filled our demolished Donnell?

The books of the sold-off 42nd Street Annex?

The more than one million books once found at SIBL, the Science, Industry and Business Library are mostly gone now and the few books that remain leave its public shelves so very empty.

Our hearts ache for the empty shelves in the children's section of the Brooklyn Heights Library as the BPL tries to drive patrons away from another grand library that, like SIBL, library administration officials are thirsting to sell.  What of the empty shelves and the books and bookshelves removed from Mid-Manhattan?  We hope that we have truly fended off the plans to sell it, and the BPL's Pacific Branch.   So many other libraries that are in jeopardy: Red Hook, Williamsburg, Sunset Park, Clinton Hill . . .   This list goes on and we must inevitably worry.

When next Valentine's Day comes we don't want to find our hearts aching more for the loss of more libraries like SIBL and Brooklyn Heights. . .

Here is some background about the closing of the Rose Reading Room and the elimination of its books: In a startling development in the saga of the NYPL's plans for its libraries, the Rose Reading Room was closed last May when a chunk of its ceiling (previously restored as part of a 1998 renovation) reportedly fell down in the middle of the night. Coincidentally, this happened in the window of time between when the NYPL was forced to abandon its plans for the consolidating shrinkage of the Central Library Plan (two weeks after) and its announcement (just four days later) that the Central Library plan would cost hundreds of millions of dollars more than the NYPL had previously publicized.

Prior to this incident three million research books had been removed from the stacks beneath the Rose Reading Room.  Upon closure even more books, all the books lining the walls of the Rose Reading Room, were removed as well.  The NYPL has said that it likes and will keep permanently in place the new more tortuous arrangements by which readers and researchers visiting the library must now obtain books, often with substantial delays as they are brought in from remote storage in New Jersey, if those books are successfully furnished at all.

What's worse: The NYPL has said that it eventually plans to return to the library only a fraction of the books it has removed!

Heavens to Murgatroyd!: Just consider that it took the NYPL over eight months to erect scaffolding to start the inspection of the Rose Reading Room ceiling. In the meantime, readers are crowded into small, poorly lit and ill ventilated rooms with ad hoc provision for computers. Last month a piece of the Gottesman Exhibition Hall's intricately carved Maurice Grieve ceiling collapsed, and it was then closed too.-  We cannot help but worry: What do our library officials really care about?  Think of all the books that might be lost or damaged in the shuffle, making them forever unavailable to readers who rely on the library?

So we invite all library lovers and defenders to join us, Citizens Defending Libraries and the Committee to Save the New York Public Library, as we gather with Reverend Billy and his choir to raise our voices in protest and song that declare our love for libraries and books. . .

Bring a rose to the event and we will leave a spray of roses of the steps of the 42nd Street Library signifying the hole on our hearts for the Rose Reading Room, the libraries and the books that we miss and want back now!!!

Facebook event: Our Hearts Aching On Valentine's Day, We Want Our Books & Rose Reading Room Back


Carolyn E. McIntyre, Michael D. D. White
Michael White, 718-(area code) 834-6184, mddwhite [at] aol.com
Carolyn McIntyre, 917-(area code) 757-6542 cemac62 [at] 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 since its founding two years ago, see:



For a description of Citizens Defending Libraries successes see:  Partial List of Successes of Citizens Defending Libraries (founded early 2013)


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