Saturday, August 31, 2013

NYPL and Booz Allen Hamilton

The Hidden History of New York City's Central Library Plan | The Nation
An interesting read.  This mayoral election can't happen soon enough.  The Bloomberg culture is toxic. 
In January 2007, Booz Allen Hamilton was hired to assist the trustees with "the strategy." On February 7, the trustees went into executive session (the substance of which is never covered in the minutes) to discuss "certain real estate…matters." Booz Allen appears to have finished its work by May, because the board held two "special meetings" the following month (June 6 and June 28), at which the strategy was unveiled and discussed. (At this time, First Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris was told of it, and she and her colleagues expressed "initial enthusiasm." NYPL officials also met with Mayor Bloomberg in 2007.) At the first special meeting, Paul LeClerc, the NYPL's president from 1993 to July 2011, presented the "pillars" of the strategy. A crucial pillar entailed "transforming the Library's physical footprint"—bureaucratic language for the sale of NYPL real estate and the remaking of the 42nd Street library. But why would the NYPL want to sell its own real estate? Its leaders have insisted for two years that consolidation and efficiency were always the central ideas behind the CLP; the trustee minutes state in passing, and without elaboration, that the strategy was developed to address the library's "structural deficits." And so the NYPL decided, in the words of David Offensend, its powerful chief operating officer, on a plan of action that entailed the "monetizing of non-core assets." (The other pillars of the strategy included the strengthening of the NYPL's digital presence, "encouraging innovation" and "securing the Library's financial future.")
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