Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Stephen A. Schwarzman Library?

When I go to New York, I like to visit the flagship location of the NY public library on Fifth Avenue. To me, this building epitomizes what a library should be while also honoring the public library's history.

Unfortunately, even this venerable building is not immune to our "everything is for sale" sensibility. Thanks to a $100 million donation, my favorite library building will henceforth be named after the Wall Street financier Stephen A. Schwarzman. For the details, see here. Paul LeClerc, president of the library's board of trustees explains how the new name will be carved into the building:

"We hope to incise the name of the building in stone
in a subtle, discreet way on either side of the
main entrance about three feet off the ground ...
in keeping with the dignity of the building."

I applaud Mr. Schwarzman's generosity and support of the NY public library system, but why must he insist on naming one of the most famous library buildings in the world after himself?

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