March 27, 2015
The New York Public Library holds a public forum to discuss the Mid-Manhattan and 42nd Street Library renovation projects
by Claire Kelley
The New York Public Library held a public forum last night to discuss the renovation plans for the Mid-Manhattan and 42nd Street Libraries. As the controversial Central Library Plan was debated last year, citizen groups called for more transparency and public input in the decision making process. Last night’s event in the Edna Barnes Salomon Room of the New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street appeared to be an attempt to do just that.
In an email confirmation to attendees who registered in advance, the library described the aims of this public forum:
The goal of this session is to solicit feedback and ideas about services and programs that could be offered at the Library’s planned Midtown Campus, a centralized educational hub that will be comprised of an internationally renowned research library, a central circulating library, and a world-class business library.
Participants will hear a short presentation and then break into groups to discuss library services related to five specific areas: research, PK-12 education, adult education, small business and entrepreneurship, and core services.
New York Public Library President Tony Marx welcomed the crowd and spoke about the new initiative launched last week called “Invest in Libraries,” a new grassroots initiative to advocate for library funding. Then the crowd was split into discussion groups that wrote their ideas on large memo note pads.
Members of the three citizen groups—the Committee to Save the New York Public Library, Citizens Defending Libraries, and the Library Lovers League—who were largely responsible for the demise of the Central Library plan were present in force and wore circular bright yellow stickers that said “Bring Books Back to the Stacks.” Meanwhile, NYPL administrators wore square orange pins with the “Invest in Libraries” logo.
Claire Kelley is the Director of Library and Academic Marketing at Melville House.