Friday, April 26, 2013
Hello Citizens Defending Libraries,
Our next meeting is this Sunday, 4:00, at 101 Clark Street, corner of Clark and Henry St, Cadman Towers in Brooklyn Heights, by the Clark St subway on 2,3, Court St Borough Hall stop on 4,5,N,R. We would love to have you join us.
Donnell Library as many of you know, was a beloved main branch Manhattan library with 5 above-ground stories owned by us, the citizens of New York, serving thousands people a year of low to high income, all religions and backgrounds and was closed in 2008. It had a great new auditorium, a new media center and an expensive new teen center. The replacement Donnell will share a little space on the ground floor of the site and the rest of it will be crammed into 2 underground floors and shrunk down to one third of its original size. The new Donnell library will built at a cost of one third the cost of the Penthouse apartment! The NYPL contracted to sell Donnell for a price that was less than the price at which the penthouse in the 50-story building replacing it is being marketed. At the time the sale was first announced to the public it might have seemed odd that a five-story library was being sold to build what was supposed to be an 11-story hotel but the small building predicted might have caused people not to scrutinize the price received.
So think about Donnell as library officials now propose follow-up deals to sell off and shrink more of the library system. The destruction and squandering of Donnell library is one example why we need to be asking community boards to pass resolutions asking for the postponement of these real estate sell-off until there has been an economic impact study of all the library closings and shrinkages.
The Center For An Urban Future with its January report has already covered some of the ground you would expect to see in such a report, concluding that libraries are vital to the city economically, their cost is very low and use is increasing. That report does not begin to address the economic impact if this vitally needed system is expected to go through a self-cannibalizing shrinkage to fund itself. (It cannot even be assured to that selling libraries would send more money into the system.) We urge you to contact your community board and ask them to ask for an environmental impact study. If you would like help in drafting one please contact Michael White 718-
Here is an article in which Michael addresses the points made by Linda Johnson in her recent letter about the Brooklyn Heights Library, a proposed transaction that closely resembles Donnell.
A Letter from Brooklyn Public Library President, Linda E. Johnson, April 17, 2013: Examined. What Does It Really Say? http://noticingnewyork.blogspot.com/2013/04/a-letter-from-brooklyn-public-library.html
We all need to support each other and give each other hope, courage and the strength necessary to take steps to protect our public libraries. Even at this moment the books are being removed from the research stacks of the 42nd Street Central Reference Library because trustees with connections to the real estate industry are pushing to demolish them. Already a book you could have had almost immediately might now take at least a week to get. Our founding fathers created the gift of a free country so we could continue to evolve and better ourselves and be a beacon of light through the use of free and open to all libraries. They did not create the gift of public libraries so for us to squander, pillage, and devalue later on.
Thank you for all you do to protect our libraries. Carolyn McIntyre
Posted by Suzannah B. Troy artist at 4/26/2013 06:48:00 PM