According to the press release issued by the law firm Weiss & Hiller, this lawsuit differs in strategy from the one filed last week, though both have similar goals. This new suit, which among other things seeks an immediate temporary restraining order against the NYPL to stop the demolition of the stacks, bases its arguments on the historical agreements surrounding the library and research collection. To quote the press release:
The first claim in the Coalition’s lawsuit to be filed tomorrow is that a 1978 Agreement between the Library, City and State of New York bars any structural alteration of the Central Branch of the Library absent prior consent from the State. Under another provision of the 1978 Agreement, the NYPL and the City also each separately promised “to protect and preserve the historical integrity of features, materials, appearance, workmanship and environment” of the Central Library -- a promise that “they would break if the stacks were to be removed,” according to Michael Hiller of Weiss & Hiller, the firm representing the Coalition.According to the New York Times, the city and Mayor Bloomberg are named as defendants in the suit along with library executives.
The Coalition’s suit also includes claims seeking injunctive relief to direct that the books already removed from the Library as part of the Central Library Plan be immediately restored. A series of trusts, indentures, agreements and the NYPL Charter explicitly prohibit removal of the books from the Library.
Meanwhile library officials seem less than concerned about all the public outcry surrounding their demolition and renovation plan. A statement given to the New York Times yesterday insists that the Central Library Plan will "improve service for scholars, preserve the library’s collections for future generations and provide a state-of-the art circulating and business library.” As has been pointed out repeatedly over the last two weeks, it's hard to imagine how service for scholars can be improved by shipping the research materials they depend on for their work across state lines.