This morning Ann Thornton, the director of the New York Public Library, telephoned to ask me not to attend next Thursday's meeting of the scholars' and writers' advisory panel. She said that the library's administrators felt that I had chosen to act as a journalist, that at the next meeting the panel would decide whether to permit journalistic coverage of its proceedings, and that the administrators intended to disclose circulation numbers to the panel next week and wanted them to feel they could speak freely. If the panel decided to admit journalists, then I might be invited back.

I thanked her for letting me know.

6 thoughts on “Uninvited”

  1. Secret "circulation figures" at the New York PUBLIC Library?!?! Ridiculous.

  2. I would think that, in all fairness to the Library and to preserve some sense of "journalstic" integrity, you'd have uninvited yourself.

  3. Harm: The email from the library inviting me to join the advisory panel was sent literally while Scott Sherman and I were being interviewed by Leonard Lopate on WNYC about our criticisms of the Central Library Plan. When I replied to the invitation, later that afternoon, I disclosed that I was a critic of the plan, had just been on the radio criticizing it, and intended to write about the plan in the future, either on my blog or elsewhere. The library replied that the invitation stood. Under the circumstances, I felt that the challenge being presented to me was to accept the invitation and continue to voice my criticisms and to ask questions, taking advantage of the opportunity that was being offered.

    I've admitted, below, that I erred in not asking at the beginning of the panel's meeting whether it was on the record. But I don't think I've been unfair to the library's administrators.

  4. It seems to the reader that when the panel could not change your mind as a critic of the plan, you were disinvited from further participation. An open process should be encouraged, not secretive, which is what this plans seems to be all about.

    I also oppose this plan, having benefited greatly as a researcher. Moving the libraries holdings to another place would be the death-knell for researchers. My sense is that the board has the wild assumption that everything is on- or going to be online- and this is clearly not the case. And even if it were, there is no substitute for seeing the real thing before your eyes with annotations etc.

  5. Isn't transparency required of a public institution? How can NYPL keep their circ stats secret, especially when those statistics are being treated as data significant enough to base major decisions on?

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