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, September 7, 2017

Democratic Primary (September 12, 2017)- Candidates For Public Advocate: David Eisenbach vs. incumbent Tish James

David Eisenbach wearing save our library, don't sell our libraries buttons as he campaigned outside the Inwood Library to be elected to the office of NYC Public Advocate
What do library defenders need to know about the candidates running to be the Democratic candidate for New York City Public Advocate?  David Eisenbach is running against incumbent Tish James.

Thursday of this week, David Eisenbach was up in the neighborhood of Inwood standing with a large crowd outside the Inwood Library calling for that library to be saved from sale for development by Mayor Bill de Blasio and his administration.
Save the Inwood Library press conference Thursday

Public Advocate Tish James was not there.  In her now nearly four years in office as Public Advocate Tish James has done little to oppose the sale of New York City libraries.

After the current NYC Comptroller, Scott Stringer wrote a strong letter critical of the BPL's sale and shrinkage of its second biggest biggest library in Brooklyn with the current Tish James followed suit to write similarly, and as a candidate for office candidate James campaigned against such shrinkages.
Accordingly, Citizens Defending Libraries endorsed her when she ran for her office.  And Ms. James mentioned protecting libraries in both speeches she gave after her two primary wins four years ago.  She again mentioned the importance of protecting libraries and our public assets in her inaugural address.
 
Nevertheless, Ms. James is one of the list of public officials who have not done enough to exercise their formidable powers to protect the libraries from the significant abuses involved in their sales.

Where does David Eisenbach stand on the subject of NYC library sales?

David Eisenbach has signed our Citizens Defending Libraries letter of support.  See: Support and Sign-On Letter: Full and Adequate Library Funding, A Growing System, Transparency, Books and Librarians.

Letter from David Eisenbach, candidate for Public Advocate, decrying library sales.

David Eisenbach has also furnished Citizens Defending Libraries with a letter further expressing his thoughts about stopping these sales and the role of the Public Advocate in that regard.

It reads:
To Supporters of Citizens Defending Libraries,

My name is David Eisenbach. I teach history at Columbia University and I'm running in the September 12th Democratic Primary for Public Advocate because I'm tired of New York City's Democratic establishment selling off our libraries, parks, and hospitals to Big Real Estate. I'm absolutely furious about the city's plan to demolish the Inwood library and sell the property to a developer. Libraries have played an essential role in my life. As a child my local library hosted storytelling and film programs that enkindled a joy for learning and planted the seeds for my career as a writer and History Channel host and producer. My first book was almost entirely researched in NYPL. I think the Inwood Library sellout is symbolic of the sick, distorted priorities of our current society that values money over knowledge. Now more than ever we need to build and expand libraries not tear them down for the highest bidder.

I know 4 years ago Bill de Blasio and Tish James made a lot of promises to Citizens Defending Libraries -- promises that went unfulfilled. It would be very reasonable for you to be suspicious of yet another politician promising to be THE ONE to defend the libraries. All I can say is I don't accept big real estate money. I'm not a career politician looking to use the Public Advocate's office to become mayor - I only want to be Public Advocate. I've dedicated my career to spreading knowledge and sparking a passion for learning in my students. I promise I'll be a Real Public Advocate who will defend Inwood library and all others. So remember to vote this Tuesday.

Sincerely,

David Eisenbach


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