The profile of Anthony Marx *86 *90 (cover story, Jan. 18) twice quotes him referring to the importance of an informed citizenry in a democratic society. As the profile briefly mentions, under his leadership the New York Public Library is planning a controversial redesign of the 42nd Street library that will gut the stacks, move a significant proportion of its holdings offsite, and repurpose the building to function primarily as a circulating, rather than a research, library.
This redesign will fundamentally change the character and mission of one of the most important cultural institutions in the country. Yet many details remain secret, and the project has been undertaken with little public notice and no public input.
Furthermore, there are real questions regarding whether the hundreds of millions of dollars that the redesign will cost might be better spent replenishing the library’s depleted acquisitions budget and supporting the chronically underfunded branch libraries. If Marx truly believes in the importance of an informed public, he should act immediately to ensure that there is full transparency in the NYPL’s planning and an opportunity for meaningful public discussion of the 42nd Street library’s future.