Committe to Save the New York Public Library- Rally

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Press contact: Charles Warren 212 689-0907

What: Rally to save the 42nd Street Library and Mid-Manhattan Library at NYPL
Trustees Meeting
Where: 5th Avenue entrance to the 42nd Street Library (5th Ave and 41st St.)
When: Wednesday, March 12, 5:00 – 6:00 PM Rain or Shine
Press contact: Charles Warren 212 689-0907


National Book Award-winner Jonathan Lethem: “The humans of New York seem to be rousing themselves to a collective understanding: that the great public institutions they boast of and rely upon can’t be entrusted to the stewardship of real-estate developers, corporate synergists, media barons, and other ostensibly well-intentioned, deal-drunk one-percenters. Instead we need to tend our own commons, large and small — individual libraries, and the city itself. The election of De Blasio and the current outcry against the disastrous NYPL ‘renovation’ (scare quotes essential) represent two expressions of the same urgencies. Now it waits for De Blasio himself to close the circuit.”

Last July, Bill de Blasio stood on the steps of the 42nd Street Library and called for a halt to the Central Library Plan. The plan would cost $350 million ($150 million of which would come from New York City taxpayers) and irreparably damage the 42nd Street Library – one of the world’s great research libraries and a historic landmark. The plan also calls for the sale of the Mid-Manhattan Library at 40th and Fifth Avenue, the most heavily used library in the city.

“With this rally, we’re returning to the library steps and asking Mayor de Blasio to follow through on his commitment,” said translator and Committee to Save the New York Public Library member Susan Bernofsky. “Instead of spending $150 million of taxpayer funds on this wasteful and destructive project, he should reallocate that money to support branch libraries across the city!”

“They’ve already emptied out the 42nd Street book stacks. On Saturday, every book in the catalog that I wanted to see was off-site. From a research perspective, it was an utter disaster; not a single one was available. Our new mayor could block the city funding of this debacle – I really hope he follows through on his commitment,” said Theodore Grunewald , also a member of CSNYPL.

The New York Public Library administration plans to demolish the 42nd Street Library’s historic seven-story book stacks, install a circulating library in their place, and send 1.5 million books to storage in central New Jersey. The new circulating library would replace the Mid-Manhattan Library and the Science, Industry and Business Library (at 34th and Madison), despite being less than one-third the size of the two existing libraries.

This plan was created through a closed process with no public input, and has been
condemned by leading architecture critics such as Ada Louise Huxtable in the Wall Street
Journal and Michael Kimmelman in the New York Times.

An open letter from the Committee to Save the New York Public Library to NYPL president Tony Marx opposing the plan was signed by Mario Vargas Llosa, E.L. Doctorow, Salman Rushdie, Tom Stoppard, Lorin Stein, Jonathan Galassi, Jonathan Lethem, Art Spiegelman and many other eminent cultural figures. More than 4500 people so far have sent messages to Mayor De Blasio as part of an on-going email campaign opposing the plan and citywide sales and shrinkage of libraries:

Photos from the action will be tagged “saveNYPL” and posted at
For more information, see “The Truth About the Central Library Plan”:
This event is cosponsored by Citizens Defending Libraries and Library Lovers League.

Posted Under: The Politics of Preservation

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