Remember the Pacific branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, next to the Atlantic Yards site and destined to close as part of the library's plan to reap revenues from its real estate to bolster the system?
I'll have a longer report elsewhere reasonably soon on that complicated controversy, but below, photos from yesterday's rally at City Hall. (Here's brief Times coverage.)
In the rally, Citizens Defending Libraries, the group that organized around the planned closings of the Pacific and Brooklyn Heights branches (the library's take), joined with activists in Manhattan (and beyond) opposing the separate New York Public Library's plan to move books from storage under its flagship research library to accommodate new public service spaces for the functions of the to-be-sold SIBL and Mid-Manhattan branches.
There are several activists involved also seen in the Atlantic Yards fight, but the most interesting parallel and contrast is the role of elected and would-be elected officials. City Comptroller John Liu, probably the most populist of the mayoral candidates, has joined the crusade, as has longshot candidate Sal Albanese. (Liu probably ought to get up to speed on the distinction between "the city"--which he said is trying to sell the buildings--and the three library systems, which are city-controlled nonprofit organizations.)
Several other electeds attended, as well, including state Senator Velmanette Montgomery and--at previous events this week--city Council Member Letitia James, as the plan is to shift the Pacific library into her 35th Council District at what's known as the BAM South site. Then again, 33rd District Council Member Steve Levin, who currently represents both Brooklyn branches and has expressed opposition and concern regarding the library's plan, seems to have kept some distance from the activists.
In public fights, having sympathetic "victims" is always a good strategic move, and one aspect of the Atlantic Yards fight--as some have suggested to me--is that project proponents managed to suggest that Brooklyn's neediest would be the "victims" if the project didn't proceed. (That hasn't quite worked out as planned.) Yesterday, there was a very sympathetic set of "victims": a Girl Scout troop that uses the current Pacific Branch.
|Comptroller John Liu|
|Assemblyman Micah Kellner|
|Sal Albanese at right.|
|Carolyn McIntyre of CDL|