The Chronicle of Higher Education
June 24th, 2015
Scholars who use the New York Public
Library are boiling with frustration. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
In 2014 the library, under pressure from a coalition that included four
senior scholars, abandoned its controversial Central Library Plan,
which entailed gutting the stacks at the 42nd Street Library and selling
the popular Mid-Manhattan Library across the street. But the situation
hasn’t turned out how many critics had hoped.
Paula Glatzer, an independent Shakespeare scholar, has been engaged
in research at the library since 1963 and has recently used the
collections for her contribution to the new Variorum Shakespeare
editions, published by the Modern Language Association. On January 15 she sent a letter
to Anthony W. Marx, the library’s president: "Sadly, I have had to tell
my Variorum colleagues that the NYPL is over … for now." Many books are
stored off-site, some mislabeled as on-site; others have been lost or
discarded, she wrote. "I requested a series. It couldn’t be found. I
said it was hard to lose 21 volumes. A librarian overheard me and
offered to look. He later emailed. All 21 volumes were indeed missing."