Jefferson Market Courthouse in New York

A Love Affair with a Landmark in Manhattan: An Arresting Drama in Greenwich Village. [Opinions expressed are the views of OLD JEFF unless attributed to other - - potentially less-reliable - - sources, i.e., newcomers who have not been around since 1832 on Sixth Avenue.]

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

NYPL: Teflon Takes a Holiday?

Here in Cynical City, the heart of the worm-loving apple, the checkbooks are checking out the who's-been-naughty and who's-been-nice list. Guess who's NOT donating $ to the N.Y.P.L. this year? We have a hunch, based on what little birdies have said.

* * It took "five years to complete the renovation of the Countee Cullen Branch," Lloyd Yearwood of Harlem told readers of The N.Y. Times [The City, "Letters" 30 October 2005]. Since Yearwood is Chairman, Countee Cullen Branch Library Support Group, he knows what he's talking about: "In 1980, ... this neighborhood overcame these problems by forming the Countee Cullen Branch Library Support Group. Under the leadership of Mary Redd, we went directly to the source of the problem, which lay at the doorstep of the local legislatures. We found out that the progress of such capital city improvement is buried under tons of unnecessary red tape. ..."

* * Likewise the extended shutdown of the 115th Street branch of the New York Public Library - - eloquently described by Harlem resident Walter Dean Myers ["Hope Is an Open Book," by Walter Dean Myers, Op-Ed, 16 October 2005] - - is another hint that this library user and his friends will probably donate elsewhere.

* * Elizabeth Simmonds of Harlem emphasized her agreement with Walter Dean Myers. Her description of this deplorable situation offered N.Y. Times readers an insider's view on years of dissatisfaction: "We in the 115th Branch Library Support Group have had meetings with, and written letters, and made telephone calls to, library officials to address the issues that Mr. Myers mentioned. Those issues include: the library being closed for more than three years, with very little renovation work completed up to this time (based on a walk-through of the site); a storefront temporary library that holds no more than 24 people and sometimes has no heat in winter, nor air-conditioning during 95-degree days -- and has occasionally had to close as a result. ... Our library services 13 schools whose students currently do not have immediate access to its collection!" [The City, "Letters" 30 October 2005]. Will Elizabeth Simmonds and her neighbors be sending checks to the N.Y.P.L. after this ordeal?

* * Horrified by these and similar tales about how N.Y.P.L. President Paul LeClerc has taken several NYC libraries hostage, walling off the imprisoned books and computers from the residents that each facility is supposed to serve, Greenwich Village residents have begun writing to him about Susan Kent and the shady dealings at the Jefferson Market branch [425 Sixth Avenue, NYC 10011] - - housed in a landmark that the N.Y.P.L. has allowed to deteriorate. And guess what action has been taken? LeClerc forwards each complaint about Susan Kent TO HER. In turn, Kent sends an identical non-answer to each letter-writer.

There are, however, other names to complain to -- and here they are.
Please contact them. Encourage library-lovers to do the same.

The New York Public Library, Office of Development (Room 73), Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, New York, New York, 10018
* * Fax number: 212-930-0983

Catherine Carver Dunn, Senior V.P. for External Affairs * T.:212-930-0611

Frances Q. Tschinkel, Director for Public Affairs and Memberships * T.:212-930-0778

Heather Lubov, V.P. for Development * T.:212-930-0692

Corporate Relations
Melissa Grundman, Director of Corporate Relations * T.:212-930-0765

Major Gifts and Planned Giving
Shelley Jane Grossberg, Director, Individual Giving * T.:212-930-0630

Carey Bartram Meltzer, Associate Manager, Major Gifts Coordinator, The President's Council - - * T.:212-930-0886

John Bacon, Director, Planned Giving * T.:212-930-0568
- do not let your library be highjacked * please help spread the word -


Jefferson Market.