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, March 1, 2016

Report on March 1, 2016 Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams & Brooklyn Borough Board Vote On Selling and Drastically Shrinking Brooklyn Heights Central Destination Downtown Library

Levin's quote is the concluding line of the Patch article's coverage
This page will be updated.

First, before considering the vote, consider a background reference this page (with pictures) about our rally the day before outside Brooklyn Borough Hall with links to our press release and letter to Borough President Eric Adams asking for instillation of transparency and that the vote be delayed and not occur without it.  This page has links to press coverage, including a radio report from WBAI reporter Mitchell; Cohen.
 •        Monday, February 29, 2016, PHOTO & VIDEO GALLERY: February 29, 2016 Press Conference- Request Eric Adams Postpone Brooklyn Borough Board Vote

Here is press coverage of the vote (comments possible at the sites):

Brooklyn Paper/Brooklyn Courier coverage

 •         Brooklyn Paper: Adams changes tune on Heights library sale, votes to approve/Beep OKs Heights library sale, by Lauren Gill, March 2, 2016

 •         Patch: Brooklyn Borough Board Hands Over Public Library to Condo Developer- Say goodbye to the Brooklyn Heights public library in its current form, by Simone Wilson, March 1, 2016
    •    Brooklyn Heights Press & Brooklyn Daily Eagle:  Borough Board approves sale of Brooklyn Heights Library- BP Eric Adams votes in favor of sale, By Mary Frost, March 2, 2016.  (Commenting on the article is easier on the Brooklyn Eagle version)
We were the cover story in the Heights Press
The Patch article has the brilliant concluding quote from Councilman Steve Levin used in the image at the top of this page.  (The Brooklyn Eagle article has a picture of a lonely Levin being interviewed by NY1 in a vast empty Borough Hall space around the time he gave that quote.)

City Council members who disgraced themselves voting for this rigged deal included not only Council members Levin and, of course, the fervent library sales advocate Brad Lander (ditto David Greenfield), but also Carlos Menchaca who favors pushing through the no-bid sale of the Sunset Park Library for redevelopment, Mark Treyger, Vincent Gentile (despite the fact that when he was campaigning and needed and wanted voted he signed our letter of support calling for the opposite) and Laurie Cumbo who, in her statement at the City Council vote let the cat out of the bag that Steve Levin had been working against, the community's wishes for months.
Picture on the cover of the Heights Press

Here is video of the Borough Board vote (we hope to have our own version of this video up soon with better audio):

 •          VIDEO of the vote of Brooklyn Borough President Adams and Brooklyn Borough Board to, without requiring transparency a prerequisite, sell and drastically shrink (down to 42%) the Brooklyn Heights central destination downtown library selling it to net (maybe $23 million a minuscule fraction of the library's value ($120+ million to replace this recently fully expanded fully upgraded library). (click through t YouTube for best viewing)

Beginning at 17 minutes in you will see activists, including members of Citizens Defending Libraries (thank you Patti and Mary), holding up signs that express that they are opposed to the sale of the library.(some images below).  This turned into an image the Brooklyn Papers used in its coverage of the event.  Just before that moment Borough President Adams silences Citizens Defending Libraries  co-founder Michael D. D. White threatening to eject him from the proceedings for calling on Councilman Steve Levin to state when he would finally take action to to insist on transparency seated himself to state his support for the sale and shrinkage of the library (without transparency).

Borough President Eric Adams threatens to evict, demanding silence when CDL's Michael D. D. White calls out to Councilman Levin asking when he will observe his fundamental obligation as a city councilman to demand transparency about the library sales.

This is the image that made it into the Brooklyn Paper article

Heights Press Coverage (continued)
Heights Press Coverage (continued)
Picture from the Heights Press coverage
Citizens Defending Libraries in the Borough Hall lobby awaiting the electeds coming out of the Borough Board vote after the vote.  NY1 was filming, but reports on the national primaries is what aired instaed, plus a library story- See next image.
Opening up a new battlefront (of making further advances on it) NY1 reported this same evening that ex-mayor Bloomberg presided over the installation of his man, Dennis Walcott, as the new chief of the Queens Library, the one NYC Library system that resisted selling libraries and turning them into real estate deals.  Bloomberg is, of course, the mayor who underfunded libraries at an unprecedented level, an excuse, when he introduced the idea, to sell and shrink them.  BPL Linda Johnson says that the sale and shrinkage of the Brooklyn Heights Library will be used a s model for transactions in all three systems.   

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