Citizens Defending Libraries, the Brooklyn Heights based group lead by Montague Street’s Michael DD White, attended Daniel Squadron’s Public Advocate rally at Borough Hall on Sunday (9/15).
NYS Assemblymember Joan Millman was on hand and brought up her belief that Brooklyn’s libraries, including the Brooklyn Heights branch must be saved from developers.
White asked Squadron if he intended to write the Brooklyn Public Library to ask that the not shrink or sell the Brooklyn Heights branch or send the business and career library away. Squadron refused to parrot that statement from White and his group on camera, saying “I don’t do things on command in that way.”
The video ends with Squadron promising to work with Millman and NYC Councilmember Steve Levin on the library issue.
Here’s a cleaner video of the full presser – Millman speaks at around 12 minutes in:
As for Squadron’s position on libraries his here’s a statement posted on his campaign website:
“I am opposed to the proposed plans by the city’s library systems in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
As always, I believe that meaningful community input is absolutely necessary; when it comes to these proposed plans, transparency and responsiveness have been insufficient.
I also believe that it is simply unacceptable to sell or shrink libraries for profit.
And I am deeply opposed to cuts to library funding, which put our libraries in crisis.
I’ve been proud to work on these issues in the State Senate, receiving an ‘A’ from New Yorkers for Better Libraries on my voting record last year.
I continue to be focused on protecting funding and finding solutions that ensure strong, healthy libraries across the five boroughs.”
And now we digress — this is a blog and this is our POV:
What’s missing from this dialog about libraries? No one on the preservation side is talking about what the function and mission of a library is in the 21st century. Nor have we heard (please feel free to fill us in if we’re shooting too much from the hip) about how this is a chance to INNOVATE and to DISRUPT the status quo.
Forbes recently published a piece called “Reinventing Libraries for the Future” which included this passage:
“In 2020, the public library will be a concept more than a place,” wrote Bill Ptacek, director of the King County Library system in Issaquah, Wash., in Library Journal. “The library will be more about what it does for people rather than what it has for people. As society evolves and more content becomes digital, people will access information in different ways.”
“You have no idea how eager I am to ensure that the notion of library does not disappear – it’s too important. But the thing is, it’s going to have to curate an extremely broad range of materials, and increasingly digital content,” says Cerf.
So, is it so strange for us to be more focused on that sort of forward thinking than to fight for a building with broken air conditioning, nannies on cell phones, homeless men fighting and creeps surfing for porn?
So if that makes us the jolly swagman handmaiden of the BHA’s war on whatever, then so be it.
This post was updated on 9/17/13 at 7AM with additional information regarding the rally and Squadron’s position statement.