One week after attending NY Public Library gala, Bloomberg destroys #OWS library containing honorees' books (and his own)

Bloomberg with books destroyed by NYPD raid.

From those radical libroterrorists at the Occupy Wall Street Library working group:

On Monday, November 7, 2011 Mayor Michael Bloomberg was in attendance at one of New York City’s top cultural and social events: The New York Public Library’s Library Lions gala. The individuals honored as Library Lions are, according to, “distinguished individuals who have made significant cultural and educational achievements to increase our understanding of the world around us.” The 2011 honorees included such literary luminaries as Tony Kushner, Isabel Wilkerson, Jonathan Franzen, Stacy Schiff, Ian McEwan, and the songwriter Natalie Merchant.

On Monday, November 15, 2011 the books of many of those Library Lions mingled with broken shelves, ripped tents, and smashed computers in the aftermath of the raid on Zuccotti Park. The raid, authorized by Mayor Bloomberg, saw, among other things, the OWS People’s Library thrown in the trash. Perhaps, as Mayor Bloomberg enjoyed the library festivities on the 7th he was already planning the action that would destroy a different library on the 15th, or perhaps he was just enjoying the photo opportunity as he exchanged pleasantries with the authors who he held in high enough esteem as to have their works tossed into garbage trucks.

If it was Mayor Bloomberg’s desire to check out a copy of his book Bloomberg by Bloomberg, from the People’s Library, then it was his right to do so, and if he wanted to read Jonathan Franzen’s novel Freedom he could have borrowed a copy of that as well. Yet, checking out thousands of books at once was highly inconsiderate, and his treatment of these materials is unacceptable. The librarians specifically ask patrons not to check out reference materials so that they may be used by others, not to damage archival material, and not to destroy a place where one and all can come and find books on a range of subjects from classics to economics to children’s books.

Read: "Irony of What Bloomberg’s Done, Threw out Fahrenheit 451" (


    1. Of course he’s wasn’t aware of all the details on the street.  But the irony of attending such an event–in a library—about honoring the expression of ideas….and  then only a few days later give orders that resulted in destroying books and stifling expression can’t be denied.

      Oh did I say irony.  I think I meant hypocrisy.

      1. I just feel like it’s a bit petty. I don’t believe that anyone would have been any happier if he came down personally, laid on the ground before the OWS library as the police approached, and screamed at the top of his lungs “No!!! Not the books!!! Go ahead and beat the everliving shit out of those guys playing hackeysack though.”

        Basically, to expect anything other than “Just tear shit up” from City Hall is a little naïve.

        Edit: What I’m TRYING to say is that focusing on this one (albeit important) piece of OWS being gone doesn’t reveal anything about Bloomberg. Obviously a Mayor is obligated to go to these library galas, I don’t think anybody ever thinks to themselves “Wow, he must really care about literature” and then feel betrayed when a shitty decision of his destroys some books in the spillover.

        1. I see where you’re coming from, but I think you’re wrong about it not being revealing.  Maybe it’s no surprise, but it neatly illustrates that Bloomberg doesn’t practice or protect the ideals he professes to honor.  

          And anyway…there’s a visceral element to seeing books destroyed.  Police can always claim the hackeysack guys threw something, resisted, whatever.  But books?  Books are defenseless.  And inviolable to most people.  So it’s important to focus on what they did to the library. 

          The side that’s burning the books is ALWAYS the wrong side.

  1. Why is this OWS library such a big deal? New York has libraries, doesn’t it? I know it has at least one, I saw it in Ghostbusters. Why go to the effort of creating this OWS library which was inevitably going to get trashed at some point?

    1. Part of the big deal is that they said that they did not destroy the books, that all the property was returned. But in addition to that, if you’re arrested, it’s not OK for the police to just take things and not give them back. How does that make sense? 

      And then consider that this was 5000 books. Even if each of those books only cost two dollars, which they don’t, it’s a huge waste.

    1. “This is just the beginning. Wherever books are burnt, people are burnt too.”

      It’s not a “book burning.” Book burning is about censorship of undesirable ideas. I can assure you nobody is censoring Jonathan Franzen. (Well, Bloomberg isn’t, anyway.) The reason book burning is wrong has nothing to do with the mistreatment of the actual physical objects made of paper. They’re not sacred relics.

      So yes, I think you’re being overly dramatic, and rather widely missing the point of that quote, frankly. When the public library disposes of worn out copies of books, it’s not a sign that they’re about to start “burning people.”

      1. When the public library disposes of worn out copies of books, they’re not ripping them from their owner’s tents and tossing them into dumpsters (while arresting and/or assaulting said owner’s).

        And if you don’t think what the police are doing is “about censorship of undesirable ideas” you haven’t been paying attention.

        1. “And if you don’t think what the police are doing is “about censorship of undesirable ideas” you haven’t been paying attention.”

          So is your assertion that Bloomberg is trying to suppress the works of Franzen, Bradbury, and himself? If so, please support that assertion. If not, what’s your point?

  2. Can somebody describe to me why people love Bloomberg?  I’ve only started being aware of his actions in the past two years, he seems like an absolute authoritarian in every way.  And being that he is somewhere in the 0.1-0.5% range, he has lots of weight to throw around. I understand that crime has gone down a lot under his mayorship, but New York City is also a police state (er, city) where all civil rights are trumped by whatever perceived threat there is to government or society. Which, by the way, totally defeats the point of civil rights. Civil Rights do not go away when they become inconvenient for our governments or for other people.

    I’m honestly trying to understand.  I mean, you realize that all the coordinated efforts of the NYPD over the past two months have (at the very least) been given his stamp of approval, right?  I suspect he initiated some of the actions.

  3. Surely there’s one OWS person who can occupy a locally elected government position? I’d like to see people running to Occupy Gracie Mansion, Occupy Albany, and Occupy Congress.

  4. WTF?  Why do people take this OWS library shit so seriously?  These books were just the detritus of the scenesters at the hipster end of Zuccotti park.  The books weren’t targeted and are peripheral to the OWS movement.  Actually, this “library” kinda makes some occupyers look like they had too much time on their hands!   Can’t we get back to articulating some more concrete goals and kicking the 1%’s ass!

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