Citizens Defending Libraries Has One Hiss-terical Week

Citizens Defending Libraries, the group headed by long time Brooklyn Heights resident Michael D.D. White was quite vocal at Thursday’s annual Brooklyn Heights Association meeting. When BHA president Alexandra Bowie talked about the group’s stance on the Brooklyn Heights library, White and company hissed their disagreement (no, White didn’t go to Harvard). Oh, and they waved handmade signs in anger after feeling slighted when each and every (?) of their written queries were not addressed during question time.

Brooklyn Paper: “If the BHA stood up against this plan it would be dead,” said Michael White, a 25-year Heights Association member and co-founder of Citizens Defending Libraries.

The outburst came during a question-and-answer session with audience members near the end of the meeting. Attendees had been asked to write their questions on note cards prior to the meeting, and when the bookworms realized their questions were being skipped over, things got heated.

“I would like my question addressed,” shouted Justine Swartz, another member of the group.

Last week was a busy time for Citizens Defending Libraries, on Wednesday the group posted this missive (with video) after reportedly being kicked off the Brooklyn Public Library’s bus to Albany:

Today the Brooklyn Public Library chartered a 54-seat bus to bring library advocates to Albany to convince legislators to fully fund the public library system. But BPL specifically *excluded* individuals who oppose its plans to sell off and/or shrink valuable library properties in developer-driven real-estate boondoggles — a policy that NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has lambasted.

Citizens Defending Libraries co-founders Carolyn McIntyre and Michael D.D. White met the bus across the street from the historic Pacific Library — after discovering at the last minute that the original pickup location in front of the Brooklyn Heights Library had been changed “due to security” reasons.

Fittingly, *both* of these libraries are threatened by the very BPL development plans that library advocates are forbidden to question in Albany today.

In fact, BPL had originally put out a public invitation to *anyone* who wanted to join the lobbying bus, but apparently backtracked when it realized it could not control its message.

Naturally, BPL’s government relations and advocacy manager — who was running the trip today — called NYPD as soon McIntyre and White appeared on the scene — to make sure they stayed off the bus.

It appeared that most (if not all) of the passengers on the charter — filling less than half its taxpayer-funded seats — were actually BPL employees.

McIntyre and White gave them a clear message to bring to legislators: support full funding so that the BPL administration has no excuse to sell off library buildings.

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  • gatornyc

    Don’t hold your breath. I’ve tried to get that answer before. They don’t have one.

  • marshasrimler

    Capital and expense bugets- state and city and a federal grant

  • marshasrimler

    capital and expense budgets city and state and a federal grant

  • sparkiy

    Ok, so you’ve all spent the last year tearing down the libraries, saying they are wasting money, and committing fraud, and lying. And now you want elected officials to magically pony up hundreds of millions of dollars for them to spend on capital improvements? (which you have never actually requested in public testimony) How is that supposed to work?

  • marshasrimler

    I expect more directions etc
    Goodbye to this thread

  • sparkiy

    So this is how you guys work then? You hiss and boo at people at meetings, lie to library employees and tell them they are going to lose their jobs, and then refuse to come up with actual practical solutions to a problem, and walk away from a conversation with anyone who asks for real answers from you? That’s super grown up, good job.

  • marshasrimler

    solutions are being worked on and I cannot tell.. yet