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.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Orchestrating Another PR-Grabbing Move to Telegraph Supersedence of The Traditional, Curated Library With Distracting Technological Glitz, The NYPL Starts Posting To Instagram Public Domain Books Already Freely Available on The Internet

The story is available from the Wall Street Journal (NYC Library Takes Novel Approach, Posting Books to Instagram The service, dubbed ‘Insta Novels,’ will be available to users of the photo- and video-sharing platform, by Charles Passy, August 22, 2018), but to read it there on the internet you’ll have to get through the Journal’s paywall if you are not already one of its business news oriented subscribers.  The article is, however, also available through Morningstar/Dow-Jones.    

Swaggering fecklessly into the internet to emphasize yet again its asserted faith that technology, represents the future of libraries, supplanting the age old traditions of curated collections and physical books, the NYPL will put what it calls “Insta Novels” on Instagram, the social service network owned by Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook. (That’s the same Facebook now involved in current censorship scandals, the scandal being how Facebook, subject to the wrong sort of influences, is censoring valuable content and free speech that it shouldn’t be censoring).

In a previous and similar highly promoted initiative, library administration officials partnered with Amazon to encourage the reading of digital books, back then it was to be on the subway

Previous digital reading campaign promotion (some of it)

The few works the NYPL is putting up on Facebook's Insatgram are public domain, and hence already readily available.

Library officials told the Wall Street Journal’s Charles Passy that the idea was to promote the  “NYPL brand” communicating in connection with that promotion “that libraries are changing with the times and fully adapting to the digital era.”  (“Fully adapting”: That certainly makes it sound like it's imperative that libraries adapt need to a lot.)   Just in case anyone missed the point about the NYPL’s fixations on a digital future for its libraries vs. what libraries have always done so successfully, Christopher Platt, the NYPL’s chief branch library officer, took the opportunity of this Instagram stunt to synchronistically dismiss the tradition of physical libraries.  He grabbed and combined some adjectives and nouns to say in a denigrating way that (aside from Instagram stunts?) the NYPL wants people to understand that libraries are not only “brick-and-mortar places full of dusty books.”Achoo!  Anyone feel that administrative chill?

The Journal article included this reaction supplied by Citizens Defending Libraries:
Michael D. D. White, co-founder of Citizens Defending Libraries, a New York City-based watchdog group, said the emphasis on online reading works against the idea of libraries as physical spaces where books are curated and knowledge is shared. 
It diminishes the sense of place and purpose,” he said.
When does a library stop being a library?  At the last NYPL meeting in September the trustees during a report about the NYPL’s recent forays into private partnerships (another issue to consider) were told of the NYPL’s expectations that it will go into the film business with HBO to make movies!  Hooray for Hollywood?: That is something we will have to delve into at some later time.

1 comment:

  1. If digital books are so great then why do library patrons still prefer printed books?