I will NOT be signing this petition, and I hope you'll read these few paragraphs to understand why.
The NYPL has a hotly contested plan for renovation called the Central Library Plan. Part of the plan is destruction of the historic research stacks at 42nd St.- it's been pretty unpopular and some scholars have taken up a court case to stop it. In December, a judge stopped the wrecking ball. I'm not being dramatic - the case is still open.
Yesterday's letter from the NYPL is a PR scheme orchestrated by a pricey PR firm the library hired in October. It's slick, and misleading. Michael Kimmelman, head architecture critic at the NYTimes tweeted today, in response: "NYPL petition unbecoming: dodgy in asking support for Central Branch, where $$ reno will destroy historic core"
The email wording is so innocuous. OF COURSE we all love and support libraries, right? The email promises "A renovated central branch library that provides longer hours, additional public space, and more resources for children, teens, teachers, and job seekers". You really need a decoder ring to understand this letter is them wanting you to tell de Blasio it's ok to wreck the research library with $150M from the city, a big part of the $350M budget for the Central Plan. It's a shameful day when you can't trust the library, but there you have it.
The real story is, this renovation will do NOTHING for branch libraries (except selling 2 more of them) and will make it much more difficult to do any serious research at 42nd St. by gutting a world-class public research facility. Save our stacks! Please, DON'T SIGN THIS PETITION, and reach out to the library, the new mayor, the city council and anyone else you can think of to stop this plan.
Keep up on this issue via @LibraryLoversNY and @saveNYPL on Twitter and Facebook.
Here's some links if you'd like to read more:
about the PR firm: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/24/new-york-public-library-hires-firm-to-promote-renovation-plan/
(the comments on this NYT story are super illuminating)http://www.savenypl.org/nypl-sends-out-misleading-appeal-in-support-of-central-library-plan/https://www.facebook.com/AssemblymanMicahKellner
Statement of Assembly Member Micah Kellner on the
New York Public Library’s Deceptive Appeal for its Controversial 42nd Street Library Plan:
“I am profoundly disturbed that the leadership of the New York Public Library (NYPL) is using misleading and deceptive language in an attempt to trick New Yorkers into supporting its controversial Central Library Plan for the main 42nd Street Branch.
“While purporting to expand public access to the 42nd Street Library, the Central Library Plan is instead a half-baked real estate deal that will result in the selling off of the largest and most used lending library in New York City, the Mid-Manhattan branch at East 40th Street, and the gutting of the fabled stacks at the NYPL’s Main Branch, which house the world-class collections of books and research materials that make the world's leading free research library truly unique. Millions of volumes currently available on-site in the stacks will be warehoused in New Jersey, lessening public access to a public resource unparalleled anywhere in the Western Hemisphere.