Thursday, December 5, 2013

Library Lovers to Stage Flash Mob at New York Public Library


Contacts:    Benjamin Shepard / 
benshepard (at)
 / 917-586-7952

WHAT:      Library Lovers to Stage Flash Mob at New York Public Library
Displaced Books to Clash with Billionaire Developers in
Street Theater Protest at the 42nd Street Research Library

WHEN:       Books Not Billionaires Flash Mob to Save NYPL
Monday, December 16 at 12:00-1:00 pm

WHAT:           Fearing real books will be evicted from the New York Public Library, theatrical books -- props and costumes made of cardboard -- will converge at the library, along with performers dressed as real-estate billionaires, for a street theater flash mob to protest the library's controversial renovation plan. A new group, the Library Lovers League, is organizing the event.

The renovation plan would exile much of the New York Public Library’s research collection to storage in New Jersey, and would sell off the hugely popular Mid-Manhattan branch across the street. It has been strongly criticized by prominent researchers and scholars, as well as by Mayor-elect Bill De Blasio.

Library lovers from around the city, including many children, have been making giant book props and costumes for the event (images attached). During the flash mob, mock billionaires will attempt to displace these books to make room for real-estate deals, while the books will alternately lament their fate and seek to stand their ground.

“Real estate should not be driving decisions about the New York Public Library,” notes Benjamin Shepard, a professor of human services at City University and one of the organizers of the event. “This plan would take the busiest branch in New York City and replace it with a shadow of itself. Libraries have tight budgets everywhere.  They cannot start seeing their real estate as capital to sell.”

Background on the NYPL’s renovation plan:

Sponsored by the Library Lovers League
On Twitter @LibraryLoversNY

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