Imagine the mutual thrill: I bumped into a woman at the church potluck who turned out to be a retired career librarian from the Mid-Manhattan NYPL branch, a veteran of one of the world's great libraries and an enthusiastic patron of that library. She was happy to talk and I was happy to listen; she had lots to lament and I had lots to ask.
Bitter at her forced retirement, one of this librarian's vindications was that The Nation published a critique last month of the NYPL's modernization strategy.
The trend at our library here, as elsewhere, is toward's "efficiency", a term which seems to mean hiring expensive conusultants who recommend firing the best staff members and comoebsating the CEO to the tune of $800,000 a year, plus perks, such as a Park Avenue apartment and scholarships for his children. There is a push at the NYPL to dissolve the rare and unique parts and turn it into a series of small, ordinary neighborhood lending libraries. The main building, the landmark structure built in the era of Carnegie philanthropy, is to be maintained as a visual tourist attraction but cleansed of its collections.
The Nation article is a little long. I plan to read it on the train home from the Riverside NYPL branch now.