Letters to the Editor; Responses To Potential Changes to the NYPL

Submitted by birdie on Mon, 04/23/2012 - 10:57

New York Times: A Reimagined Library, Are the Changes Good? in response to previous NYTimes articles.

To the Editor:

Like innumerable writers and researchers over the years, I have experienced the joy (many times) of entering the New York Public Library with a near-hopeless citation in hand only to find the very material I was looking for in just minutes. It is a euphoric moment to which many writers can attest, and it has enriched the quality and content of books beyond counting.

That which gets put off to tomorrow rarely gets done, yet the library administration, under its new plan, would move a huge chunk of its research collection off site, ostensibly available some other day, when a researcher makes a request. The splendor of the library is not only the vastness of its collection but also the immediacy of it.

If there remain any wonders of the world, the New York Public Library is one of them. Please don’t change it.

New York, April 16, 2012

The writer is vice president and editor in chief at Tarcher/Penguin.

To the Editor:

There’s a comfort level in keeping the status quo, yet the 21st century offers us so many new ways of doing research. Without looking at possibilities for the future, we deny ourselves those opportunities.

As an information specialist-librarian, I became interested in computers in the 1970s, and it allowed my knowledge and career to grow into areas far beyond the basics that I had previously used.

Kudos to the New York Public Library board for recognizing that the 42nd Street library is more than a repository for research. Making it into an active knowledge workplace makes sense. Think of the potential of future scholars finding inspiration there.

(I hope the plan for the cafe is downstairs away from the functioning library.)

Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y. April 16, 2012

To the Editor:

Reading about the New York Public Library’s $300 million proposed renovation to the historic 42nd Street building, I must agree with Anthony W. Marx, the library’s president, and not with his detractors. Why not a circulating collection, and why not a cafe (museums have them)? And bravo to more Internet access for the public. Serious scholars certainly have other work to fill their time while they wait 24 hours for a requested book from off-site storage.

A “glorified Starbucks”? So be it: before libraries can accomplish their vaunted educational and cultural mission, they must lure their patrons in.

New York, April 18, 2012

The writer is a former high school librarian.