I know of no safe repository of the ultimate power of society but the people. And if we think them not enlightened enough, the remedy is not to take power from them, but to inform them by education. — Thomas Jefferson
The controversy surrounding the New York Public Library‘s Central Library Plan recently gained steam when the wonderful Humans of New York caught Matthew Zadrozny, an eloquent CLP critic, outside the library eating chicken. Like many other people, this was my first exposure to the issue. I lean towards the position of Zadrozny, the Committee to Save the New York Public Library, Citizens Defending Libraries, and others in opposing the CLP. But the CLP does have some merits. Regardless, what is most important is that the plan receives the educated public debate it deserves — debate that has scarcely yet occurred.
Public libraries should be a focal point for educated public debate. Indeed, public libraries are a uniquely important institution for democracy. They give every citizen the opportunity to educate themselves, regardless of their age, wealth or educational background. With this education, citizens can advance their own lives and become informed participants in public debates. NYPL is one of the largest and most successful public library systems in the world. It is deeply unfortunate that NYPL has pursued a major reconfiguration with a minimum of public debate. Fortunately, there is still time for the debate this plan deserves, and opportunity for city government to insist on it. Read more…
- This Human of New York Takes His Libraries Seriously (theatlantic.com)
- Meet New York’s Newly Famous Public Library Crusader (theatlanticcities.com)