When the American Library Association convenes its annual conference later this month in San Francisco, book authors are the honored guests – and not only famous names like Ms. Magazine founder Gloria Steinem and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Robbie Robertson of The Band. One particularly appropriate speaker will be Scott Sherman, author of Patience and Fortitude: Power, Real Estate, and the Fight to Save a Public Library.
In an provocative series for The Nation magazine, Sherman documented how the mindset of real estate development nearly dismantled the New York Public Library with plans to sell off multiple branch libraries; re-cast an historic building; and send millions of books to storage. But as Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer, recalls, librarians, authors and many others fought back to save a library and much more.
“Utilizing the open meetings law in New York, Sherman got access to the minutes of NYPL Trustee meetings going back 10 years. He says they reveal a castle-in-the-sky plan that could have ended not only with the loss of library assets, but also in a bankrupt system,” he tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.
“I think his strongest point is about the way we run our elite cultural institutions. No one should be surprised with the NYPL plan to sell off some prized real estate, Sherman says, because look who is on the NYPL board—real estate developers and Wall St. titans. Events at the NYPL extend beyond a story about a library to one about how we manage our culture.”
Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.