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

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.


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 
"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
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:


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Citizens Defending Libraries
(718) 797-5207
@DefendLibraries on twitter

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