Next Wednesday the Committee to Save the New York Public Library and fellow groups are having what amounts to a do-or-die rally on the steps of the 42nd Street Library, 5 p.m. After two years of fighting, we are trying to convince the City Council to redirect the $150 million that Bloomberg allocated for the so-called Central Library Plan--soothingly renamed the "renovation" plan by the library's high-priced PR firm. In a nutshell, the plan calls for the destruction of the book stacks in the main library, the shipping off-site of several million books, the sale of the incredibly popular Mid-Manhattan and SIBL libraries to developers, and the shoehorning of those libraries into the space where the stacks are now, which is a third the size of the two existing branch libraries. It's a destruction/downsizing plan of epic proportions, to the tune of $350 million, that will change our venerable research library into a high-tech, Norman Fosterized architectural folly.
There has been growing negative press, including an item last week on Humans of New York that went viral. 220,000 likes and 30,000 comments later, we are suddenly on the social media radar as well as the subject of many articles at Atlantic.com, The Nation, The New York Times, etc. etc. (See savenypl.org.)
So PLEASE, if you can, come and show your support for books, and for scholarship. We are advocating that the monies be spent instead on bringing the book stacks up to code, refurbishing the mid-Manhattan library across the street rather than selling it, and sending much-needed funds to the starving branch libraries.
Thanks and hope to see you next Wednesday!