You can make your own mind up about the attributes or lack thereof in the latest plan to demolish libraries in New York City (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/18/nyregion/public-agencies-needing-money-give-up-land-and-buildings.html). ?Personally I do not have the expertise to line up the values numerically on both sides of this argument. ?What I would say, and I have to friends, is that any deal that depends on the goodwill and reliability of most developers in this city is one I would not trust. ?That is not because I don’t believe in development and change because I do. ?But I have also seen developers renege on promises, e.g. Atlantic Yards among others. ?Given a minute or two to reflect on this situation most New Yorkers would recognize that libraries like their city are struggling with issues of change. ? What people want from library services and how they use them have transformed how libraries function in our communities. ?Books are still essential but so are computers, DVDs, and public programs for young children, teenagers, and seniors. ?As libraries change they need spaces that accommodate new and different constituencies and their needs and then a way to sustain them. ?It is always surprising to watch the ease with which monumental decisions that affect communities so directly and seriously are made in New York City without a vote. ?If residents wanted a rigorous analysis to back up their concerns, they should contact CCI. ?Speaking on behalf of the people for the betterment of the city as a whole is what we do. ?As Martha Rowen says in her Letter to the Editor,
To the Editor:
Any plans to sell our public resources to private developers should be voted on by residents of New York City ? stakeholders at least as important as developers.
I believe that with full disclosure of the facts and figures, including statistics on rising library use and the modest cost of consistent guaranteed funding, ordinary New Yorkers are quite capable of making intelligent decisions on issues that will profoundly affect them for generations to come.
Brooklyn, March 18, 2013