The Central Library Plan (CLP), at enormous cost to New York City and its taxpayers, would irreparably damage the 42nd Street Research Library – one of the world’s great reference libraries and a historic landmark. The CLP would demolish the library’s historic book stacks, install a circulating library in their stead, and displace 1.5 million books to central New Jersey. The new circulating library would replace the Mid-Manhattan Library (at 40th and 5th Avenue) and SIBL (Science, Industry and Business Library, at 34th and Madison), which would both be sold off.
• It will be hugely expensive, costing a minimum of $300 million (probably much more), of which $150 million will come from New York City taxpayers. There is great concern that the Library’s focus on a highly-complex construction project will absorb desperately-needed funds which might otherwise pay for renovations of branch libraries, and replenish slashed curatorial and acquisitions budgets.
• It will radically reduce the space available for the Mid-Manhattan and SIBL.
• It will threaten the 42nd Street Library’s status as one of the world’s great research libraries.
• It will threaten the architectural integrity of the landmarked 42nd Street building.
• It does not take into consideration more efficient and less destructive alternatives, such as combining SIBL and the Mid-Manhattan into a rehabilitated and expanded building on the Mid-Manhattan site.
Underlying the widespread concern is the closed process through which the Library administration has made its decisions. Despite the fact that the 42nd Street building is owned by the city and is one of our most iconic structures, the plan was formulated with minimal public notification and no public input. The $150 million that the city has earmarked for the project was awarded without oversight by the City Council and with no public hearings. If alternatives have been considered they have never been disclosed, and no cost-benefit analysis or detailed budget has ever been presented.
Sign the petition at http://signon.org/sign/save-new-york-city-libraries?source=c.em.mt&r_by=6817161