Could racism be the reason why one library in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn has remained closed since October 2002 due to renovations? One concerned citizen of the neighborhood, C. Wayne Surber, is steaming about why this community is out of one of the hottest resources for the summer. "If you refer to the U.S. census demographic data of 2000 again, you'll find that over 80.3% of the community members are "Black Nonhispanic" and 52.4% are over 45. If it isn't direct racism, it does seem it's at a minimum, indirect racism and ageism." (More delays in the Bedstuy Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library)
Older residents of Bedstuy have begun protesting and letter writing to voice their concerns and to put a spotlight on the prolonged delay. So far, they've gotten some publicity and reactions from Mary Graham, Director of Neighborhood Services Brooklyn Public Library. She writes, "I can assure you that our greatest desire is to reopen this building. It definitely has been closed too long. We have made ADA compliant improvements, a new heating and ventilation system, new furniture and lighting, a new children's reading room which will have a separate space for babies, and new computers."
If this story shows nothing else, it shows how much people depend on libraries and miss them when they're gone, especially in communities like Bed Stuy. Do you know of any other minority neighborhoods that are under-served, either temporarily or long-term? I'd really like to know.
Atrocities – Rising Anger Over a Library Long Locked by Jack Mooney