Once again, the New York Public Library System–and the Brooklyn and Queens Library Systems–are asking for big money. I had mentioned here how bad the infrastructure is in these libraries. 217 libraries in bad need of repair and upgrading. The cost? 1.4 billion.
You can read about the latest here. Many of these libraries are in poor areas of the city where people actually depend on their local library for materials and services to help them change their lives.
I the case of NYPL, the attempt to redesign the Humanities and Social Sciences Library, the main library of NYPL, which was defeated in a populist uprising, looks even dumber than it did when it first was announced. As popular voices pointed out, it would be wasted money. Wasted money indeed.
One major cause of these problems is the boards of directors and trustees that do not direct in what is best when they are trusted to do so. I also blame this on sheer neglect over the last few decades, coupled with the obsessive drive to cut taxes to absurd levels, as well as the continual need to update technology every three years. It’s a “troika” of troubles, and we can’t just wish them away.
It always comes down to money: where it should be spent, how it should be spent and, perhaps more importantly, where do we get the money, since taxes are evil, at least in the eyes of the clueless and greedy.
Hopefully, the city will realize how valuable these libraries are and start undoing the mismanagement of decades.