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 12, 2015

PHOTO GALLERY+: September 12, 2015 Connect The Dots Save Our Libraries March Through Brooklyn Heights

(This page will be updated)

On September 12, 2015 Citizens Defending Libraries led a Connect The Dots Save Our Libraries march through Brooklyn Heights.

The march, Citizens Defending Libraries first such march, was a walking tour through the Brooklyn Heights area.  We are likely to hold more because this was a success.  Preparation for this march was hurried (during August and Labor Dar) because we wanted it to happen before the upcoming September 22nd City Planning Commission hearing on the proposed sale and shrinkage of the Brooklyn Heights Library and there was little leeway given the surrounding holidays.

We started at the plaza on the northwest corner of Cadman Plaza West and Pierrepont Street (next to Hillary Clinton’s national campaign headquarters adjacent to the library at the corner of Tillary and Clinton.)

The marchers stopped at various locations to talk about worrisome real estate developments in the area and how they relate to the proposed sale and shrinkage of the Brooklyn Heights Library in Downtown Brooklyn.

At these points our marchers were addressed by informed individuals from the community and members of local activist groups working to protect the community who will articulate things the community needs to be aware of and we will talk about how a number of these matters also relate in sometimes surprising ways to the proposed hand-off of the city-owned library to a developer and how besieged our public assets are in general.

The march was blessed when, to a large extent, weather that had been terrifically threatening was kind.  The only time it was lightly raining was for the latter half when we were on the promenade and able to adjust by sheltering under scaffolding to hear about other worrisome development

During the stops on the march we heard about and discussed:
    •    The multiple relationships between Monroe Place, a short one-block street in Brooklyn Heights, and those fighting for and against the selling off of New York City Libraries.
    •    The overcrowding of PS 8
    •    The Save The View Now fight
    •    The Save The South Street Seaport Fight
    •    Friends of Sunset Park and the proposed redevelopment of the Sunset Park library into a multi-use project
    •    The Pier 6, People For Green Space Fight
    •    The fight to save Long Island College Hospital and the Fortis proposal that has now materialized to replace it
Other Connect the Dots development relating to what can be seen from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade:
    •    On the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge from the too tall Pier House development is the Dock Street project in DUMBO, taller than the community wanted because, as “smoking gun” emails show, the Bloomberg amdinstartion manipulated to withhold provision of a city school to get taller, denser development.  That’s blackmail like saring and withholding libraries.

    •    The Ratner Gehry Spruce Street project beside the bridge in Manhattan where Ratner, also containing a school to grow bigger and where Ratner blackmailed the community board threatening to withhold the contracted for school in order to get more concessions.  (On the same project he also blackmailed the construction unions to reduce workers’ pay.)
During the march we delivered two new open letters and discussed a third, all asking that organizations key to what is happening consider their obligations and duties to the community to join with the community and oppose the sale and shrinkage of the Brooklyn Heights Library rather than pushing that sale and shrinkage forward:
•    Saturday, September 12, 2015, Open Letter To Saint Ann's School: Please Oppose the Sale and Drastic Shrinkage of the Brooklyn Heights Library

•    Saturday, September 12, 2015, Open Letter To The Brooklyn Heights Association: Stop Supporting The Sale and Drastic Shrinkage of the Brooklyn Heights Library And Start Opposing It.

•    Saturday, September 12, 2015, Open Letter To The Fifth Avenue Committee: Stand on The Side Of Protecting The Community And Our Public Assets
Given the rain, we completed out two-hour march by taking an imaginary walk down Montague Street (noting how many people related to fighting for and against library sales are nearby residents) and then stopping in front of the library and the small public park outside it ("Truth Park" at the corner of Tillary and Clinton)..

We ended with music and song from Paul Stein, Judy Gorman and Marilyn Berkon.  Paul composed, on the spot, new library lyrics to “This Land Is Your Land, This Land Is My Land” and Marilyn had specially written a song about Francis Keally’s Brooklyn Heights Library.  Judy sang Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows” as one of her selections.

Our last gesture was our ceremonialize our delivery of over 2,000 testimonies to the Brooklyn Borough President and give thanks for his fateful decision about the library, an irreplaceable public asset, that he made Wednesday of this past week.
Books departing Donnell as it closed- Now in Mid-Manhattan?  They seem to have largely disappeared. 

Brooklyn Heights Blog poll:  "Who Do You Trust"

Over 2,000 testimonies delivered to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

"Truth Park," open to the public soon after the Brooklyn Height Library was opened and before it was substantially enlarged and fully upgraded in 1993.

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