POPS Art Project: NYPL Protest

Call for participation from the POPS Art Project blog:

NYPL Protest

Call for Participation
When: Saturday, June 9, 2012, 12pm
Where: The NYPL Schwarzman Building steps, on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street

We invite bookmakers, visual artists, performance artists, musicians, and writers to join us in creating temporary and removable protest art in response to planned changes to the operation of the New York Public Library.

The proposed Central Library Plan (CLP) focuses on a total renovation of the Humanities & Social Sciences Research Library (the Schwarzman Building) while completely neglecting branch libraries desperately in need of financial support.

The $350 million renovation project moves the Mid-Manhattan (circulating) Library and the Science and Business Library (SIBL) into the Schwarzman building, requiring all three libraries to share a space now dedicated only to public research.

Additionally, the CLP also dramatically limits the ability of the Humanities & Social Sciences Research Library to serve the public. The plan moves at least 2 million books to New Jersey. The books will only be available if requested in advance, with at least a one-day wait.

And finally, the CLP wreaks havoc on landmarked architecture, destroying seven levels of steel and cast iron stacks to make room for computer terminals and circulation desks. The building was designed by Carrère and Hastings, opened in 1911, and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965.

The Central Library Plan pits library users against library users by neglecting branch libraries in an effort to establish broad civic visibility. The Central Library Plan is more concerned with being seen than fixing problems.

We particularly welcome projects that engage resources within the Schwarzman Building itself to underscore the importance of maintaining ready and open access to library collections. Artists and library users must let New York Public Library’s Board of Trustees know that we are committed to seeing that the public library continues to serve the public.

For more detailed background on the Central Library Plan, please read this November 2011 article from The Nation. For more recent reporting on the Central Library Plan, please see Caleb Crain’s tagged posts on his blog “Steamboats Are Ruining Everything.”

If you would like to join us on June 9 please send an email to popsartproject [at] gmail.com. We welcome all levels of engagement and participation.