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.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

PHOTO & VIDEO GALLERY: September 6, 2014 Halt Library Sales Rally (42nd Central Reference Library) With Zephyr Teachout/Tim Wu Campaign- Barry C. Lynn Speaks on Amazon

Zephyr Teachout left at halt our the library sales rally with Citizens Defending Libraries
Here’s video of our Saturday Teachout/Wu library event  held on the steps of the 42nd Street Library with guest speaker Barry C. Lynn speaking about Amazon and the threat to the independent book selling industry.  (Click through to Vimeo for best viewing.)

Democratic Candidate for NY Governor Zephyr Teachout at Citizens Defending Libraries News Conference, Sept.6, 2014 from Michael D'Elia on Vimeo.

If you want, you can share the video via this Facebook post link or this Twitter link.

Here are more pictures from the rally extracted from the video:
Tim Wu's "Master Switch" - Relevant to the libraries
Barry C. Lynn spoke of the importance of the public commons and how Amazon is driving independent booksellers, once plentiful in NYC and important to its economy, to go out of business.  At the Brooklyn Public Library trustees meetings, the trustees are talking about how the BPL and NYPL Book Ops plan, buying fewer books and driving down prices will drive more independent booksellers out of business.
Researcher Linda Casey
Maria Roca from Sunset Park where the Sunset Park is one of the city's libraries threatened with redevelopment to turn it into a mixed-use real estate development
* * * *
Barry C. Lynn in photo from article about the rally below
Our rally was covered in this article: 5 Reasons for the Zephyr Teachout Phenomenon, and 5 Reasons Andrew Cuomo Is Still Governor, by Matt Stoller, September 10, 2010.

Earlier the same day of the rally Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu appeared on the same steps of the 42nd Street Library to receive the endorsement of economist Jeffrey D. Sachs, see pictures below.

Earlier in the week (see below) Zephyr Teachout and her running mate Tim Wu received the endorsement of anti-fracking activist Mark Ruffalo at a rally on the steps of the Tweed Court House.  Fracking like the sale and shrinake of libraries is another sell-off of public assets for the short-term benefit of a very few at the long-term expense of the many.
Zephyr Teachout and Mark Ruffalo at anti-fracking rally, fracking being another sell-off of public assets for the short-term benefit of a few at the long-term expense of the many.
Teachout and Wu

Sierra Club endorsed Teachout and Wu and fracking was one reason
Center Lucy Koteen of Citizens Defending Libraries and the Sierra Club.  On the left Mark Ruffalo.  On right an activist and victim of fracking, his water poisoned by fracking 
 Tim Wu's "Master Switch" book was, presciently, part of the December, 2013 "Books Not Billionaires" rally outside the 42nd Street Library.
Tim Wu earlier in the week on steps of Tweed Court House at anti-fracking rally, fracking being another sell-off of public assets for the short-term benefit of a few at the long-term expense of the many
One week earlier, Zephyr Teachout held a press conference outside Long Island College Hospital on the boarder of Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights, essentially a neighborhood bookend to the proposed sale and shrinkage of the Brooklyn Heights Library.  Teachout called for an investigation into the way that the assets of LICH had been raided and the hospital run into the ground financially in order to transform it into a real estate deal to replace the major hospital with luxury towers eliminating or shrinking the hospital down into virtual nonexistence as a health facility.  To watch the video at NY1 see: Teachout Calls Out Cuomo on LICH Transparency, NY1 Debate, By: NY1 News, 08/30/2014.
From NY1 coverage of Teachout's press conference calling for an investigation into the raiding of the LICH assets to intentionally bankrupt the hospital.  At the other end of Brooklyn Heights Citizens Defending Libraries has launched its Citizens Audit And Investigation of the Brooklyn Public Library for very similar reasons.  
Mentioned at the rally: The thing that makes it ironic that this bus advertising the Broadway Musical of Roald Dahl's "Matilda" is seen outside the Grand Army Plaza library where in Brooklyn Public Library administration officials are plotting the sale and shrinkage of Brooklyn's libraries.  See: Tuesday, February 25, 2014, Musical On Broadway: The "Revolting Children" of "Matilda" Throwing Away Library Books? No, It's Revolting Adults! Really!

The Teachout/Wu campaign was important for getting messages to be heard and indeed that was accomplished.  Turns out Teachout spent $1.57 per vote vs. Cuomo’s $60.62 per vote, but Teachout and Wu won the votes of more than half the counties in the State, including the capital district’s Albany and Rensselaer.  Cuomo was forced to listen and swing in the right direction on a number of issues and we will be following up on libraries in particular.  An important overriding message: Money should not prevail over the public interest.

Here is the media advisory Citizens Defending Libraries issued in connection with the event:

New York City

WHAT: Zephyr Teachout, Tim Wu and Citizens Defending Libraries will call for an immediate halt to library sales, shrinkage and underfunding
WHEN: Saturday, September 6, 2014, 4:00 P.M.
WHERE: 42nd Street Central Reference Library, 476 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, 10018

Zephyr Teachout has, throughout her campaign for governor, called for a return to the adequate funding of libraries and related public benefits like schools and hospitals, rather than what we have now, a political system that is out of control, with special interests diverting funds from the real needs and priorities of the state’s citizenry.

Tim Wu, candidate for Lieutenant Governor, is Ms. Teachout’s running mate.  Before Mr. Wu joined Ms. Teachout in this campaign he was writing and commenting extensively about those who, through monopolization and privatization of the public commons and shared assets, would limit, control and commercialize the free flow of information, ideas and public content.  A lawyer and recognized expert in the field of communications, Mr. Wu is credited with coining the phase “net neutrality.”

Citizens Defending Libraries was formed to fight the sale of public libraries to private developers with the shrinkages of New York City libraries and the elimination of books and librarians for the purpose of creating real estate deals that benefit the well-connected, but not the public.  Libraries are about democracy.

Saturday, Citizens Defending Libraries, Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu will join together will calling for a halt to the impoverishment of the public realm represented by the sale of irreplaceable public assets.

In today's world the effects of wealth and political inequality are rampant and this imbalance is of the utmost importance to where we are headed as a society.  The best example of how far things go awry with such inequality gaining the upper hand is the plundering of our publicly owned assets.  Selling, shrinking libraries, putting their resources out of reach, leads to a vicious cycle of decreased democracy and opportunity, leading to more wealth and political inequality.

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 year and a half since its founding, see:



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