Patience and Fortitude

Patience and Fortitude

Power, Real Estate, and the Fight to Save A Public Library

Book - 2015
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"A riveting investigation of a beloved library caught in the crosshairs of real estate, power, and the people's interests--by the reporter who broke the story. In a series of cover stories for The Nation magazine, journalist Scott Sherman uncovered the ways in which Wall Street logic almost took down one of New York City's most beloved and iconic institutions: the New York Public Library. In the years preceding the 2008 financial crisis, the library's leaders forged an audacious plan to sell off multiple branch libraries, mutilate a historic building, and send millions of books to a storage facility in New Jersey. Scholars, researchers, and readers would be out of luck, but real estate developers and New York's Mayor Bloomberg would get what they wanted. But when the story broke, the people fought back, as famous writers, professors, and citizens' groups came together to defend a national treasure. Rich with revealing interviews with key figures, Patience and Fortitude is at once a hugely readable history of the library's secret plans, and a stirring account of a rare triumph against the forces of money and power"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Brooklyn, NY : Melville House, 2015
ISBN: 9781612194295
Branch Call Number: 027.4747 SHERM
Characteristics: pages ; cm


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Jul 10, 2018

Sherman explores the New York Public Library's chronic lack of funding which came to a crisis in 2008 with the Central Library Plan being promoted and pushed by its Board of Trustees. While the system's research libraries are a private, non-profit organization, it's branches are city-funded. The research libraries have long been regarded as the only truly public research site in the United States and often thought of as a complement to the Library of Congress. The library has always shored up its finances by selling its cultural assets. After it ran out of famous paintings to sell, it began selling the land it owned to various developers. The trustees then created a secret plan that would sell off multiple library branches, gut the iconic Fifth Avenue library to create community engagement space and coffee shops, and move most of the collection to a warehouse in New Jersey. The public become aware of the plan only after the 2008 recession hobbled the financial plans. After articles in the New York Times and Nation appeared, an illustrious lineup of cultural celebrities started fighting back. This is a David and Goliath story set in a library world.

Mar 08, 2016

I enjoyed reading about the decisions made about the many libraries in New York City. I can't imagine how their Library Trust keeps a budget in the black with aging buildings, the higher costs of personnel and books, journals, etc. The property value of the branches is high and it was tempting to sell some in order to have more money in the budget. And it is difficult to justify so many really old books taking up space in downtown 42nd Street with only a few people wanting to read them. But the goal of research libraries is to keep old books handy. I suppose Tulsa Libraries have the same problems, the Trust has the same decisions, the leaders think of unique solutions; but we are not New York City -- yet! We are lucky to have the very expensive paintings sold from NYPL to our friend Alice Walton. We can hop over to Bentonville and see them, or purchase a poster/replica from Walmart for under $10. I recommend this book to people who love books and libraries.

Oct 12, 2015

Anyone interested in just what a public library should do or not do, what it means to be a public library, what a research library is all about should read this tale of advocacy. I liked the perspective that our libraries (if not cared for) may become extensions of Starbuck's and Barnes and Noble (Chapters for Canada).

LMcShaneCLE Sep 08, 2015

A must-read - sad to see an institution like NYPL pillaged by greedy developers and lackluster administrators who don't understand the mission of libraries to archive and preserve the present and the past.


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Jul 10, 2018

"Schwarzman, a man famously enamored of micromanagement, looked down at his shoes and murmured: 'I'm not sure how the Library is spending my money.'"


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