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.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

PRESS RELEASE: Brooklyn Public Library Trustees Looking To Put Writers Out Of Work Create Story That Writes Itself- Their Bios

PRESS RELEASE: Brooklyn Public Library Trustees Looking To Put Writers Out Of Work Create Story That Writes Itself- Their Bios
New York City

WHAT: Readers find the simple collection of biographies of Brooklyn Public Library trustees more engrossing than very best detective and suspense fiction.
WHAT ELSE?:  Citizens Defending Libraries is available to provide facts about the conduct of the Brooklyn Public Library trustees and their sale and shrinkage of libraries, elimination of books and librarians.
What do the Brooklyn Public Library trustees have against those who put pen to paper to earn a living?  Having shown an increasing hostility to books the trustees now seem to be looking to put writers out of work by setting up the story that writes itself; their collected biographies together with those of library administration officials they are hiring to run the libraries, including Brooklyn Public Library President Linda Johnson . . .

. . .  Just a few weeks back, Citizens Defending Libraries posted a page with the collected biographies of the Brooklyn Public Library trustees . . . apparently people are finding it ulta-ultra fascinating reading:

Brooklyn Public Library Trustees- Identified + Biographical and Other Information Supplied

It’s just a set of bios, but it’s the best reading in town, and not because of the passing reference or cameos here and there to associates of fame like Jay-Z or BeyoncĂ©; it’s because over and over it raises the fascinating question: Why are these people running a library?

“Some of the reviews of the new Bernie Madoff mini-series have commented that the series is `underwritten,’ but the life of Bernie Madoff is so sensational it writes itself.  It’s the same thing with these library trustees; you just wouldn’t believe where they are coming from,” says Michael D. D. White co-founder of Citizens Defending libraries, the group formed three years ago to fight the sale and shrinkage of city libraries, the underfunding of libraries with the elimination of books and librarians to create real estate deals that benefit developers, not the public.

Since the biographies has been posted, Citizens Defending Libraries has been crowd sourcing information and contributed leads for additions and has been updating the page accordingly.

People are waking up to the fact that people from Wall Street, the real estate industry, and other profit oriented and monopolistic organizations can be extremely ill-suited to running organizations that are supposed to be charitable, public spirited, education and democracy oriented.  Citizens Defending Libraries has set up a companion page with links to some of the previously written articles raising concerns in this regard and reviewing how these concerns apply in particular to who we chose to be in charge of libraries.
Why Nonprofit Boards May Stray From Their Core Missions And Obligations To the Public- Considered Generally And Particularly With Respect To Libraries

“The biographies of the trustees might just be scintillating reading, irrelevant to anything of consequence in the long run if it weren’t for the outrageous behavior of the trustees seeking to disenfranchise the rest of us with the inexcusable sale of libraries at a fraction of their value,” says Carolyn E. McIntyre, another co-founder of Citizens Defending Libraries, and spouse of Mr. White.  “They are acting just as you would expect them to act if you predicted it based on their bios, which raises the question: What were people thinking when these people were appointed to run the library?” says Ms. McIntyre.

The appointment of these trustees go back to when Bloomberg was mayor and plans were being formulated to sell and shrink libraries and think of them as raw meat for real estate developers, but there are also a number of new trustees appointed by Mayor de Blasio (although unannounced) who, while campaigning, opposed the plans of the Bloomberg era.

Presently, the BPL trustees have been pressing hard for the sale of the central destination Downtown Brooklyn Heights Library.  The library, Brooklyn's second largest, would be sold by the trustees for a fraction of its value, less than they would get for a vacant lot.  At a time of escalating library use, the recently expanded and fully upgraded library would cost over $120 million to replace, but the BPL trustees would sell it to net probably less than $25 million at best and would replace it with a shrunken library of less than 42% the current size with much of the public space moved underground.

The sale of the library was supposed to be considered by the Brooklyn Borough Board on February 2nd (Groundhog’s Day), but, breaking news on this front, that consideration was postponed when a newly formed group, Love Brooklyn Libraries, filed a complaint with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that the Brooklyn Public Library has deceitfully understated its capital funds in order to promote and rationalize the trustees’ sale of the library.

For more on this see:
Love Brooklyn Libraries Files Complaint With Attorney General Eric Schneiderman That Brooklyn Public Library Understates Capital Funds In Order to Sell Heights Library
The page linked to above also covers how NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer has already provided a letter observing how the BPL financing scheme the trustees are implementing made no sense.

How questionably the trustees have conducted themselves has been hiding in plain sight in the BPL’s own minutes, notwithstanding that the BPL and its trustees have been stonewalling investigation.

Carolyn E. McIntyre, Michael D. D. White
Michael White, 718-834-6184, mddwhite [at] aol.com
Carolyn McIntyre, 917-757-6542 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 and librarians in the two and a half+ years since its founding, see:


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Citizens Defending Libraries
(718) 797-5207
@DefendLibraries on twitter
backpack362 [at] aol.com

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