THAT Michael White is Michael P. White, the illustrator of “Return of the Library Dragon,” a children’s book that with humorous eloquence makes the case for keeping our books in our libraries.
National Notice, but also a co-founder of Citizens Defending Libraries, a group that is working hard to keep the books in our libraries, fighting to make sure our New York City libraries are not sold off and shrunk, our books and libraries discarded using the fictional arrival of an all digital future as a pretext for real estate boondoggles detrimental to the public.
I have previously noted that there are many, many Michael Whites in the world, declaring myself NOT to be certain others of them. See: Wednesday, August 13, 2008, Not THAT Michael White, and Friday, October 14, 2011, Not THAT Michael White: Visiting Occupy Wall Street and How I Know The Economy Is Bad (For the 99%).
Given how ubiquitous the Michael Whites of the world are it is hardly surprising that there would be at least two Michael Whites involved in the library fight. Good thing we are both on the same side of it and nice that we seem to share book-loads of the same sentiments.
The “Return of the Library Dragon” is very much like the book I myself might have written to defend our libraries, books and librarians from incineration on the alter of a nonsensical dystopian future where digital brashly banishes all that is physical. The removal of books occurs suddenly, secretively, behind closed doors hastily festooned with a “Progress in Progress” banner at the hands of a Mr. Mike Krochip with the goofy notion that in short order he’ll have everyone forgetting what a book even looks like.
Michael P. White illustrates, within his books' pages, library bookshelves that are suddenly as sadly empty as the real empty shelves of New York City libraries I have photographed and included in Noticing New York articles: Saturday, September 14, 2013, Empty Bookshelves As Library Officials Formulate A New Vision of Libraries: A Vision Where The Real Estate Will Be Sold Off.
|Brooklyn Heights Children's Library|
|The inside cover pages are filled with a zillion quotes about books|
|One of the four young actresses playing Matilda in the musical on Broadway. Matlida loves her library books!|
Libraries are knowledgeMr. Rights across the Sea Saving Libraries.” Part of the book is feedback from other parts of the world where they are astounded New York would be wrecking its libraries. The book also includes an adventure fable where Mr. Rights, a character who has appeared in other books produced by Ms. Rosen, joins forces with the Girl Scouts of the Pacific Branch Library and Andrew Carnegie’s ghost to confront the small group of privileged elite who would deprive the public by selling libraries and getting rid of books and librarians. Remember that many of our libraries were donated to the public with the proviso that they be taken care of once we got them.
You can use them for college
Books are cool as ice
They make you think twice
|Mr. Rights meets Carnegie|
|David Nasaw speaking about Carnegie at the BPL on March 2nd|
I should mention that in real life Nasaw has a lot in common with Mr. Rights. Although he was being hosted by the Brooklyn Public Library to give his Carnegie talk he is a co-plaintiff with Citizens Defending Libraries in a lawsuit seeking to stop the same NYPL “Central Library Plan” selling and shrinking libraries and getting rid of books and librarians that Mr. Rights opposes in the story.
Isn’t it wonderful when fables take on the muscle and sinew of actuality?
I have previously written about how, if you go to the library to find Mr. Nasaw's acclaimed books, you might not find them there.
In the Mr. Rights story, Mr. Rights feels himself weakened by the changes going on at the library but doesn’t understand exactly what is happening until a librarian is able to inform him of the facts even though the librarian fears the consequences for herself of giving out information.
Again the librarian as protector of the books!
rally held in a downpour outside the NYPL’s trustees meeting. The book, by Simon Verity, filled with his sensitively witty drawings, is “The Library of Libraries.” Expect it to be at bookstores around the city.
|Mr. Verity, on left, at the March 12th rally in his bookselling hat and with his bookselling tray|
|Many more great picture of the event and its publication by "The Illuimnator" are available|
|A real estate advertisement for the luxury apartments that will replace the Donnell Library sold for a pittance. Looks like those buying them are expected to have many books, more than. . .|
Verily, Simon’s book was written before we found out, based on the advertisements for luxury apartments in the New York Times, that the luxury apartments replacing the Donnell library, sold off for a pittance, will have more books than the NYPL’s libraries. (We we made this part of Citizens Defending Libraries testimony at last week’s City Council hearing on library funding.)
|Mr. verity writes of shushed librarians|
Is Mr. Verity’s tale suitable for children? Maybe the more mature among them. Sometimes children can especially love stories with sad endings. I remember, as a child, going back again and again to the tale of “Old Yeller,” in the end, about a fearfully depressing loss. Yes, Verity’s story has an unhappy ending (you can't always presume there will be a happy one), but let us hope that the cautionary downer and as yet fictional note on which it concludes will be impetus for real victories that prevent the destruction of our libraries. . . .
. . . . Better this than that the hopeful, happy endings of “Return of the Library Dragon,” “Mr. Rights . . Saving Libraries” and “Matilda” are contradicted in real life by much more bleak results. . .
. . . But then would people know of such contradictions to the endings of these books if the world "Mr. Krochip" envisions materializes with everyone forgetting what these or any other books even looked like.