Heard this news story on NPR this morning:
Loud Debate Rages Over NY Library's Quiet Stacks
In a nutshell, they're planning a huge renovation to the NY Public Library on 42nd street (you know, the one with those infamous lions). It includes:
* Getting rid of 7 floors of (publicly inaccessible) stacks and moving the collection off-site (some nearby, some in New Jersey, all accessible within 24 hours they say).
* Sell two buildings (Mid-Manhattan and Science, Industry and Business Libraries) and consolidate all 3 collections.
* The goal is an influx of about $350 million for the renovations, new librarians and curators, and to be able to stay open later.
Of course, there are those who are up in arms. Their concerns include:
* They should focus on the library's branches first.
* Researchers may be inconvenienced.
* Actually being able to get the books in 24 hours.
* Don't make any big changes until we see where e-books go.
Good points, and worthy of discussion, I think. It sounds like the folks at NYPL are learning a lesson in both how to approach transparency and how to handle their PR. I personally hope they're successful in their efforts.
However, this line got me irked:
"The 42nd Street library is one of the world's great research libraries," Sherman told WNYC's Leonard Lopate in March. "And the Central Library Plan is basically a plan to turn it into a giant Internet cafe."
Oh, yes, that's EXACTLY the plan. Obviously.
Charles Peterson, editor of the literary magazine N+1, says a transitional era — when relatively new devices like the iPad and Kindle are reshaping how people read and use books — calls for a more transitional plan.
When HASN'T technology been changing? If we waited 10-20 years to "see where things go" don't you think there won't be an entirely *new* technology being developed by then? And then what - we wait another 10-20 years to see where *that* goes?