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Stephen A. Schwarzman Loathes Public Libraries; I Love Them

July 13, 2016

The above photo, which was featured in The New York Times, shows Stephen A. Schwarzman’s utter contempt for the public library. This is from the new 53rd Street library they was opened in the basement of the luxury hotel that was built when Michael Bloomberg sold the Donnell Library Center, the main circulating branch of the New York Public Library that was formerly on the spot. The picture reveals that much of the collection, 70% smaller than that of Donnell, was put there strictly for show, since nobody can actually reach them. Even with me being nearly 6’4″, that step stool is no help.

It is an insult that Schwarzman’s name is on the iconic main research library (formerly known as the Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Library) on 5th Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets with William Cullen Bryant Park as its backyard. As many of you know, much of my blog writing and job search occurs at branches of New York City’s three public libraries: The New York Public Library, which covers Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island; Queens Library, and Brooklyn Public Library. The latter two were formed before Queens and Kings Counties were annexed by New York City, and although there is a cooperation between them so that people with cards from the other libraries can also use the New York Public Library, all returns, holds, etc., must be done with the correct library system, because they decided not to merge, which was probably a good idea even though it makes things a little less convenient when you are in different parts of the city, especially since relatively few New York Public Library branches have after hours drops as a result of arson, although they’ve begun adding them since I made my complaint about that around 2004 and was told that arson was the reason.

Here you can listen to all the horrible details about Schwarzman’s plans to eviscerate the public library to make a profit. The library that bears his name is even set to contain luxury condos in the future, its main reading room already closed to the public.

I am a major user of the public library system, and the shrinkage of any of its branches is a slap in the face to all New Yorkers. In spite of what Mitt Romney says, we all pay taxes, some of which go to the public library.

Here is a list of libraries I myself have personally used at least once (asterisks next to libraries I have used extensively [last updated July 11, 2022]):

New York Public Library

  • 96th Street Library
  • 125th Street Library
  • 58th Street Library
  • Allerton Library
  • Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library
  • Battery Park City Library*
  • Baychester Library
  • Belmont Library and Enrico Fermi Cultural Center*
  • Bloomingdale Library
  • Bronx Library Center*
  • Castle Hill Library
  • Chatham Square Library
  • City Island Library
  • Columbus Library*
  • Dongan Hills Library
  • Donnell Library Center (demolished)*
  • Epiphany Library*
  • Grand Central Library*
  • Grand Concourse Library*
  • Great Kills Library
  • Hamilton Fish Park Library*
  • Harlem Library
  • Harry Belafonte 115th Street Library
  • Hudson Park Library*
  • Jefferson Market Library*
  • Kingsbridge Library (old location)
  • Kingsbridge Library (2013 building)
  • Kips Bay Library*
  • Melrose Library*
  • Mid-Manhattan Library/Stavros Niarchos Library Foundation*
  • Mid-Manhattan Library Interim Library at 42nd St*
  • Morningside Heights
  • Morris Park Library
  • Morrisania Library
  • Muhlenberg Library*
  • Mulberry Street Library*
  • New Amsterdam Library*
  • New Dorp Library*
  • New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center*
  • Ottendorfer Library
  • Parkchester Library
  • Pelham Bay Library
  • Port Richmond Library
  • Richmondtown Library*
  • Riverside Library
  • Roosevelt Island Library
  • Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
  • Science, Industry and Business Library (SIBL)*
  • Sedgwick Library*
  • South Beach Library*
  • St. Agnes Library
  • St. George Library Center
  • Stapleton Library
  • Stephen A. Schwarzman Building*
  • Terence Cardinal Cooke-Cathedral Library
  • Throg’s Neck Library
  • Todt Hill-Westerleigh Library*
  • Tompkins Square Library
  • Webster Library
  • West New Brighton Library
  • Woodstock Library
  • Yorkville Library*

Queens Library

  • Broad Channel
  • Broadway*
  • Central Library (Jamaica)
  • Court Square*
  • Elmhurst (trailer)
  • Far Rockaway
  • Flushing
  • Forest Hills
  • Jackson Heights
  • Langston Hughes
  • Lefrak City
  • Long Island City*
  • Queensboro Hill
  • Ridgewood*
  • Seaside
  • Steinway
  • Sunnyside*

Brooklyn Public Library

  • Arlington Library
  • Bay Ridge Library*
  • Brooklyn Heights Library* (torn down)
  • Brownsville Library
  • Central Library*
  • Clarendon Library*
  • Clinton Hill Library
  • Cortelyou Library*
  • Crown Heights Library
  • Cypress Hills Library
  • Dekalb Library*
  • Eastern Parkway Library
  • Greenpoint Library (torn down)
  • (Washington) Irving Library*
  • Kings Highway Library
  • Leonard Library*
  • Macon Library*
  • Midwood Library
  • Pacific Library*
  • Park Slope Library
  • Saratoga Library*
  • Sunset Park Library*
  • Walt Whitman Library*
  • Williamsburgh Library*
  • Windsor Terrace Library

And that’s as someone who has lived in this city only twelve years and ten months.

We cannot allow Stephen A. Schwarzman to buy libraries that belong to the public so that he can make a profit. He has expressed a desire to close SIBL, Brooklyn Heights, and Sunset Park, among others. As you can hear in the live discussion linked above, the air conditioning mysteriously conks out in all the libraries they want to close (nd the air conditioning doesn’t work that well at Mid-Manhattan, which became the main circulating branch when Donnell closed–they have to put giant fans everywhere).

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