Monday, March 24, 2008

Et tu, New York Public Library?!

Now this really blows, folks.
The New York Public Library’s venerable lion-guarded building on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street is to be renamed for the Wall Street financier Stephen A. Schwarzman, who has agreed to jump-start a $1 billion expansion of the library system with a guaranteed $100 million of his own.

And now read David Morris' Alternet piece to understand just how badly this blows.
The 42nd Street library is a poster child for the public, for the we, for generosity and openness and sharing.
Stephen A. Schwarzman, on the other hand, is a poster child for the private, for the me, for greed and secrecy and accumulation.

I love libraries, I love their public-ness, especially in urban areas. I was in the Boston Public Library last week, finding myself once again entranced, in a way, with this diverse desire for knowledge. I even made a point to do my work in the main part of the library rather than the gorgeous, majestic reading room, just to be with the other folks who were working on their English, writing college papers, taking a break from teh cole in lieu of a home, and more.

Yuck. This news is just tragic.

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