Poetry News

Over 700 Writers Criticize NYPL Plans to Improve an Already Democratic Institution

By Harriet Staff

You've heard about the "vibrant, new vision of libraries, and of public space itself" that is the $300m New York Public Library overhaul, we'd imagine. Not everyone likes it! Goodbye, Mid-Manhattan Library (sob). Yesterday, over 700 writers, academics, artists, publishers, and others sent the NYPL a letter critical of the plans to revamp, saying it's "a misplaced use of funds in a time of great scarcity," reports The Guardian. "The proposal includes moving the collections from two other branches to Fifth Avenue, adding more computers, more space and potentially a cafe. Up to three million books could also be removed from the library to a storage facility." The New York Times Arts Beat reports that "heavyweights" Salman Rushdie and Jonathan Letham were among the signatories. More:

In particular the critics take issue with the notion that the renovation, known as the Central Library Plan, will make the library more democratic. “More space, more computers, a café, and a lending library will not improve an already democratic institution,” the letter said.

The letter, which was addressed to the library’s president, Anthony W. Marx, also called on the library to restore staff positions that were reduced by budget cuts. Mr. Marx was not immediately available for comment.

Originally Published: May 10th, 2012