These last few years have been challenging ones for both the New York and Brooklyn public libraries. Anemic funding and dwindling resources have collided not only with the need to repair many aging structures, but also to retrofit them to meet changing technology requirements. The combination of lean budgets and growing needs have, without a doubt, created a mounting financial crisis.
The question is how to fix it. For the libraries, one of the more popular strategies of late has been selling buildings and land to developers in exchange for some cash and a space in the condo tower that will be built on the parcel. Recently, plans to sell two libraries in Brooklyn have stirred up controversy, with local residents protesting that the sales are a bad deal for both taxpayers and library patrons.
The endangered and extinct species of Manhattan are myriad: affordable apartments, mom and pops, the middle class. But perhaps none are so endangered as pay phone booths: not only do they take up precious real estate in a packed city, but the pay phone itself is considered Jurassic technology by the smart phone-wielding set.
So why not match them up with another endangered species—the book? Enter John H. Locke, an architectural designer profiled in The New York Times. Mr. Locke spends his Sunday mornings transforming pay phones into mini lending libraries (the phones remain functional), creating what you might call delightful book nooks that would fit right into a Wes Anderson set. Obsolete technologies unite!
An article in The Nation today exposes growing rifts over the future of the New York Public Library. The main concern involves its so-called Central Library Plan, an upcoming renovation that will remove the stacks from the central Stephen A. Schwarzman building at Bryant Park and store print books and other physical materials off-site. Patrons will also be allowed to borrow books from the central library and the newly opened rooms currently holding the stacks will be filled with computers and other media.
The New York Times reports that the Kennedy family is debating Robert F. Kennedy’s presence at the John F. Kennedy Library, which may not in perpetuity possess the former Attorney General’s papers without some careful maneuvering. Robert Kennedy’s son, Joseph Kennedy II, gets some juicy lines in–he’s quoted deriding family members’ Read More
Like King Midas, Karl Lagerfeld can bestow a princely glow to whatever surrounding he graces with his presence. He’s Karl Lagerfeld, ruler of Chanel, reigning titan of fashion.
Naturally, the man has a stunning library. The Cut
Paging Blake Lively, the new face of Chanel: you better get reading.
nfreeman at Read More
Arts Editorial, Op-Ed
The city of New York is about to make a $37 million mistake. That’s the size of a proposed cut to the budget of the New York Public Library system. This is more than a matter of trimming a little fat-it threatens the next generation of New Yorkers with intellectual malnutrition.
I moved Read More