The New York Public Library: Racism, Gay Rights, Muslims, No Books

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The New York Public Library is drastically purging its book collections, eliminating a great number of older books in circulation and making books that in remain in its collection much less accessible.

With the famous 42nd street library, it means the outright vandalism of one of the most famous libraries in the country whose books will be banished to New Jersey. At local branches, it means fewer books, more computers and more gimmicks.

It’s striking then to look at the front page of the New York Public Library, to note its absence of books and the proliferation of pop culture and politically correct events. The Beatles get extensive coverage. There are a dozen black history events including racism in the criminal justice system.

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Then you’ve got AIDS activism complete with a gay kiss and a Muslim librarian.

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Finally movie rentals and shopping for diamonds.

Books? The New York Public Library doesn’t seem to do those much anymore. But if you want a computer, a diamond or political correctness, you’ve come to the right place.

This is what the New York Public Library is becoming

“Although they are often thought of as cultural institutions,” argued a 2013 report by the Center for an Urban Future, a left-leaning New York think tank, “the reality is that the public libraries are a key component of the city’s human capital system.” In this view, New York’s public libraries—and the branches in particular—exist to provide underprivileged groups with vital services, such as computer-literacy classes, job-search assistance, and “safe havens” for at-risk youths.

A homeless shelter, an immigrant literacy center and a place for teenagers to hang out. No books wanted.

The budget cutbacks of the past five years have had disastrous effects for the NYPL’S research libraries, and especially 42nd Street:

*the skilled staff vital to supporting our research activities-curators, archivists, bibliographers and librarians-have been drastically reduced in number;

*the Slavic and Baltic division and the Asian and Middle Eastern division have been entirely eliminated; and there is no full-time curator for the Slavic collection.

*The Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center  is no longer a haven for scholars and critics.  Many of the reference librarians who specialized in dance, music, recorded sound, and theater were eliminated, moved off the reference desks or offered buyouts.

Instead of addressing these issues, the CLP will spend over $300 million on a restructuring of the 42nd Street building which includes a huge expansion of public space, the removal of stacks (and and the 3 million books in them), and the creation of a circulating library in the building.

NYPL will lose its standing as a premier research institution (second only to the Library of Congress in the US),–a destination for international as well as American scholars– and become a busy social center where focused research is no longer the primary goal.

One of the claims made about the CLP is  that it will “democratize” the NYPL,  but that seems to be a misunderstanding of what that word means.  The NYPL is already among the most democratic institutions of its kind.  Anyone can use it; no credentials are needed to gain entry.

Meanwhile you can walk into any branch and borrow a laptop because apparently that is what the library is supposed to do now.

  • rxpc

    And so, like the great library of Alexandria, the NYPL burns and the knowledge born of centuries disappears from that institution forever.

  • nopeacenow

    We don’t need no more libraries. Our schools will teach you everything you need to know and what you don’t need to know, you don’t need.

  • tickletik

    I feel like vomiting. I think I’ve moved past hatred to detestation and now to pity.

    That’s right, I now look at them with a benign compassionate pity that one reserves for a sort of tormented mental defective. Something along the lines of a retarded monkey.

    • MarilynA

      What did you expect when we have allowed corrupt, race baiting politicians to affirmative action the less than most qualified into leadership positions in industry and government. Our government now has more executive level positions than there is a percentage of any population with enough intelligence to fill them. Even out President is nothing more than a jive talking con man who is a product of our self esteem enhanced, social promoting, education system. He claims to be a constitutional scholar, yet he thinks there are 57 states, and obviously hasn’t even read the Constitution, or if he did, he couldn’t comprehend what he was reading. Our country is indeed in a state of decline.

  • Habbgun

    I don’t see all this as liberalism. New York is in decline and this type of thing will follow. When it doesn’t have the garments of the greatest city of the world NYC will finally realize what a pile of nothing it is becoming and already is.

  • Race_Dissident

    What’s happening to the NY Public Library is happening to libraries across the US. The library of the large public university in my city is en route to becoming nothing but a glorified study hall/social space. Books are being shipped to remote storage, and stacks are being replaced with digital technology and study areas. Print collection development is down; eBook acquisition is up. Like seemingly everything else in the Western world, the library is being redefined out of existence.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Libraries are becoming community centers

  • Lightbringer

    The truly horrible thing about this is that, while ink on paper media do not last forever, magnetic media are the most ephemeral manner of storing information. There are some new technologies being developed, but what is currently commercially available will degrade in five to ten years, even assuming that the systems they were formatted for still exist by then. Bottom line: The books that are currently being digitized and then the hardcopies destroyed will be lost forever. But maybe that’s what the barbarians inside the gates (pace, Thomas Sowell) want.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      And even if they aren’t, it’s easier to bury books in a mass of information that no one will even sort through. Just drown the signal in the noise.

  • Bob

    This is happening in Toronto as well. A librarian lives in my building, and when she saw a bunch of books in the laundry room (where they’re available to share) she immediately blurted ‘those books need to be destroyed.’ Her reason was they were bad for the environment because they are printed using acidic paper or ink or something. This is when I discovered the city library system has been destroying almost all books older than about ten years or relegating them to an area of the central library when they cannot be easily accessed. My first thought was an is that this dopey eco-justification is awfully convenient for those wanting to rewrite or suppress history.