On the New York Times website early Wednesday afternoon, Robin Pogrebin reported that the administrators of the New York Public Library have decided to abandon the Central Library Plan, a scheme that would have dismantled the century-old bookshelves in the landmark building on 42nd Street and replaced them with a new circulating library. An hour or so later, Jason Farago reported on the news for The Guardian, and a little after that, Jennifer Maloney confirmed the story in the Wall Street Journal. Scott Sherman, who to my knowledge is the first journalist ever to report on the plan, summed up the turn of events in a post for The Nation at the end of the day.
I’m very happy the library’s leaders have changed their minds. It takes courage to do so in public, and it’s a sign of health that the organization has been able to respond to new information and to criticism. In 2012 I wrote many posts on this blog decrying the plan as a setback for scholars, but after about six months I had to excuse myself in order to regroup my energies, and I’m grateful to the reader-citizens who went on to create such coalitions as the Committee to Save the New York Public Library, Citizens Defending Libraries, and the Library Lovers League and continued to press the library to do the right thing.